Building Your Team


Building Your Team

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” —Mattie Stepanek

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


In order for a team to successfully achieve their goals, team members must be willing and able to share knowledge, experience, and skills in the coordination and completion of the work at hand.

        Building Your Team

So you have a project to accomplish. You are given a team with which to work. The question now becomes, how do you build your team so that, as a whole, you are successful? Here are a few areas that can impact the level of success your team achieves.


Working as a team towards shared goals requires collaboration. Collaboration must be built into the very culture of the organization. A culture where individuals are empowered to work together to accomplish more than would be possible when working individually. Collaboration provides a real sense of community. Successful collaboration requires clearly identified objectives and boundaries. Then, engaged employees should be allowed to operate freely within those boundaries. The most effective collaborative environments encourage team members to voice different perspectives, foster a spirit of cooperation, and develop strategic partnerships.


Cohesion provides team unity as a whole. Cohesion requires a sense of community and a shared vision to work towards. Create a team with the right mix of members where everyone serves in the roles that best fit their strengths. Team members should learn to empathize with each other. Members should be willing to share their knowledge and previous experiences to help others. Successful teams communicate and learn from each other.


Show that you admire the abilities and accomplishments of team members. Treat everyone with respect.  Develop mutual trust within the team. Respect your colleague’s ability to do their job. Remember that everyone has something to contribute. Bear in mind that the team succeeds or fails as a whole.


Give assistance and never leave anyone behind. Each team member must roll-up their sleeves and contribute to the work to be done. Make sure the team has the resources they need to achieve their goals. Help team members keep their eyes on what is really important. Develop a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and then support each other in those roles. Act as a mentor or advisor to those members who need additional guidance.


How well we work together as a team determines our success or failure at achieving our desired results. You cannot sit idly by and expect your team to succeed. Make a conscious effort and focus your energies on building your team.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Are You Communicating Effectively?


Are You Communicating Effectively?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Success in every area of life is dependent on our ability to communicate effectively. Communication is a means of connecting with others to convey information, suggest ideas, share thoughts, and express feelings. We often feel that we have communicated our message effectively only to find that the receiver has a completely different understanding.

        Are You Communicating Effectively?

Communication is intended to be a two-way process meant to result in a mutual understanding by all parties involved. A mutual understanding does not require consensus, but it does require that everyone has comprehended the message in the same way. Many factors contribute to the understanding that is derived from communication. Here are a few you may want to consider when you ask yourself if you are communicating effectively.

                Your message

Who is the audience your message is meant to reach is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself. It is important for each individual to feel like you are speaking directly to them. This may require different approaches for different audiences, even if you are sharing the same message. Use relevant, inspirational, and simple stories to illustrate the important points you are trying to make. Explain why your message is important. Verify that everyone has the same understanding of what was discussed, conclusions reached, and what is expected going forward. Be patient, if you want people to internalize your message, they must hear it multiple times.

Employees want to know where the organization is going, what it will look like when they get there, what difference are they making, why is it important to you, and why should they help you. Communicate objectives and expectations clearly. And, always be truthful.

                       Words and actions

Make sure that what you say and what you do are congruent. Others will only follow what you say if they see it is important to you by your actions. Say what you are going to do and then do it. Communicate authentically. Be fair, open, and supportive in your dialogues with others. And, most importantly, make it clear by both words and actions that you are available to discuss any concerns others may have. Remember, communication is a two-way street.

                        Connecting with others

Communication is all about connecting with others. Take a walk around the office and engage in conversations with those you work with. Make sure your message is designed to fit the recipient. Communicate at every level of the organization. Share a view of the bigger picture. Talk about the goals of the organization and ask about personal goals. Engage employees in conversations by asking questions and really listening to what they have to say. Let them be involved in formulating solutions to problems. Make sure that acknowledgement of the vital role that each one plays in the success of the organization is included in your communication.


The first rule of communication is making sure you are listening as much as you are talking. Employees want to be kept in the loop. Share with them where the organization is and where it is going. Connect with employees on a personal level. And, if you want them to believe what you say, ensure that your words match your actions.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure- with co-author Doug Dickerson


Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure

The productivity of a work group seems to depend on how the group members see their own goals in relation to the goals of the organization. – Ken Blanchard

When was the last time you took a hard look at the effectiveness of your organizational structure? While most organizations have one, do the people in your organization know it or understand it? The time may be ripe for you to take a fresh look at yours and consider these six ways to enhance it.

Empower your leaders

Regardless of what your present organizational structure looks like its functionality should empower its leaders. Successful leaders thrive in an organizational structure that fosters creativity, unleashes potential, and doesn’t stifle progress. This happens when less emphasis is placed on hierarchical structure and more emphasis is placed on empowering the right people in the right places. Empowerment elevates the performance of leaders and encourages behavior that earns the respect of followers. This respect allows leaders to build partnerships within the organization that encourage open, two-way communication and foster a sense of loyalty.

Give ownership

Ownership occurs within your organizational structure when there is buy-in from the bottom up and system wide. If ownership is not shared then the structure is self-serving and not empowering. People want ownership and sense of belonging to a great cause. Without ownership that can’t happen. Ownership holds everyone on the team accountable for their decisions and actions. In order for employees to take successful ownership of their work they must clearly understand expectations. They must also have milestones where progress is evaluated. Ensure that employees are serving in the right roles, give ownership, and celebrate their victories.

Expand borders

Organizational structures don’t define you, you define them. As such, your organizational structure should not be a document of containment but a blueprint of open boundaries to grow and succeed. It should not box people in but should free them to do what they do best. As your organization grows so should your structure but in a way that facilities your growth and not in ways that impede it. Provide employees with the opportunity to be more flexible about how, when, where, and with whom the work gets done. Employees want to be involved in designing and managing their work tasks. Offer employees choices and the ability to personalize work. Allow employees to share ideas and be involved in the implementation of these ideas. As you expand your borders, provide opportunities for employee growth and focus your energies on the results that really matter.

Think lateral

Employees need to have a level of control over their work tasks. A top-down organizational structure hinders the ability of decision-making at the lowest level possible. Decision making on the front-lines allows issues to be identified and addressed quickly. In a lateral structure, employees understand where they fit and how they impact the success of the organization. A flat organizational structure allows employees at all levels of the organization to be empowered and given autonomy over their work. This less rigid structure allows for flexibility and promotes a feeling of equality and inclusiveness. When lateral thinking is put into action it allows for swifter response times that can translate into happier customers, gratified clients, and a healthy bottom line. Lateral thinking is empowering, efficient, and very effective.

Build trust

The support needed to successfully achieve organizational goals is gained by developing relationships based on trust and commitment. The organizational structure can enhance or impede factors such as open communication, management follow-through, accountability, consistency, and concern for employee interests all of which foster a sense of trust. Therefore, building trust is a deliberate action, not something left to chance. It happens as relationships are given priority, it grows in an atmosphere of community, and it pays huge dividends when everyone is engaged. Without trust you have nothing. With it your potential is unlimited.

Find common ground

Employees prefer to work with others they see as similar to themselves. When the organizational structure provides an inclusive environment with common goals a sense of community is developed. Finding common ground helps in the successful pursuit of these shared goals. The organization must foster a shared purpose so that employees understand why the organization exists and why they do what they do. Finding common ground is a fundamental condition of your success. You need to define, share it, but most of all; your team needs to own it. Common ground is your path forward.

Does your organizational structure support the goals you trying to reach? The continued success of your organization is dependent on your ability to continually evaluate and enhance your organizational structure. You can enhance your effectiveness by taking these steps to ensure that your organization is ready to succeed in the 21st century.


Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. He is the author of two leadership books. He is the director of Management Moment Leadership Services. To learn more visit

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational structure. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website,




Do Employees Want to Be Motivated or Do They Want to Be Happy?


Do Employees Want to Be Motivated or Do They Want to Be Happy?

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Motivation provides us with our reasons for behaving in a particular way. Each of us is motivated by something different. If you can identify what incentives will motivate individual employees, you can use incentives, almost like a bribe, to get the behaviors you want.

How do we motivate?

If you want to successfully motivate employees you must first determine what excites them, what gives them purpose, and what they role want to play in the organization. Establish clear performance metrics with specific goals that can be measured. Be clear about the benefits and provide support. Communicate clearly, consistently, and often so employees know where the stand in relation to the goals they are pursuing. Provide positive feedback and compelling incentives. Make sure you are rewarding the right behaviors. Offer rewards for attitude as well as skill. Incentives can range from profit sharing, which gives employees a vested interest in the success of the organization to small rewards such as movie or dinner gift certificates. You can take an employee to lunch. Make sure you are celebrating organizational successes. Continually offer challenges to be met.

What does it look like?

Motivated employees work towards meeting organizational goals based on the desire to receive the incentives offered for performance. An organization where incentives are used to motivate employees operates with a defined system for determining what will motivate each employee, setting clear and measurable goals, and tracking progress. Employees successfully reach organizational goals based the rewards they receive for exhibiting desired behaviors.

A Culture of Happy Employees

Happy employees are more productive. Happy employees are also loyal employees. An organization with a culture that focuses on providing an employee friendly work environment will have employees who are inspired to work hard based on a love of their job.

How do we achieve it?

Employees want to be empowered, to be allowed to take ownership of their work, and to tackle challenges on their own. You must provide clear expectations and parameters for performance and then allow employees to have freedom and control over their work tasks. Allow for a degree of flexibility in when and how the work gets done. Employees want jobs that utilize their talents. They want opportunities to continue to develop their skills as they work along a planned career path. Provide a support system that helps with career planning and offers continuous training. An employee friendly environment offers perks such as a great benefit package, paid leave, flexible schedules, telecommuting, and educational opportunities. This type of organization encourages employees to have fun at work with parties, fun contests, and group charity work. These types of activities build camaraderie throughout the organization. And don’t forget to offer praise for a job well done.

What does it look like?

Money will not buy employee engagement or loyalty. When people are in the right roles where they are passionate and committed giving the organization their best efforts they are more likely to be happy and enjoy their work. Expectations are clear. Communication is open. Leaders are visible, supportive, and appreciative. There is a culture of continuous employee development. Employees find great meaning and satisfaction in their work. And, everyone participates in the celebration of organizational success.

What Do Employees Want?

So, the question is, do employees want to be motivated based on incentives or would they prefer an environment where they’re happy to work? To achieve results that are mutually beneficial to the organization and employees, a combination of incentives and positive work environment seems to be most effective. Employees like to have clearly defined goals and it’s always nice to know that there will be a reward designed specifically for you based on your motivation as an individual for achieving those goals. Employees want to feel valued and receive credit for their contributions. They want to work for an organization that is willing to help them continue to develop along a career path that supports their strengths and passions. And, they want control and flexibility in performing their work tasks.


Motivating employees is a valuable tool for achieving organizational goals but, don’t just throw money at them, give employees the opportunity to build a career in a job they enjoy. Organizations with a high degree of employee engagement consistently out-perform those with little or no engagement. Employees are more committed to the success of the organization when they are offered work that is interesting, they are communicated with, they feel engaged, they have control over their work, and their contributions are appreciated. Create a culture that offers incentives for reaching goals and provides support for the personal aspirations of employees.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli