A happy, diverse small business team meets in the office

Main Points:

  • Define vision, goals, and company structure
  • Select diverse team members for cultural fit and skills
  • Foster effective communication and feedback loops
  • Prioritize trust, accountability, collaboration, and creativity
  • Provide support and development opportunities for continuous learning

Building a successful team is the cornerstone of small business success. Assembling a group of individuals who can collaborate effectively, innovate, and adapt to changing circumstances is crucial for achieving organizational goals. The ability to build and develop a high-performing team can make all the difference in propelling your business forward.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key components essential to building a team that not only functions well but thrives. From defining a clear vision to fostering trust and collaboration, we’ll explore actionable strategies tailored for small business settings.

Continue reading to discover how to create a work environment where individuals thrive, ideas flourish, and success becomes inevitable.

Defining the Vision and Goals

You might have noticed by now that nearly every aspect of planning for business success begins with setting goals. Building a cohesive, synergistic team is no different. You can’t hire staff that buys into your vision unless you can define that vision. Use your vision statement to identify the qualities of an ideal employee.

When crafting a grounded vision statement, you should seek to define the following:

  • Your small business’s primary purpose
  • Your core values as an organization
  • A clear, attainable goal for the future of your business

Building an effective team begins with articulating the above, including a narrative about how you plan to get there. Ideally, your vision will be clear enough that your current and future staff will become ambassadors of the vision.

This is also the step when you should clarify and articulate your company’s structure. WebFX founder William Craig advises business owners to be sure you they communicate:

  • The company’s communication plan
  • When and how leadership will discuss goals and progress with the broader team
  • Behaviors and expectations for team members at all levels

Communication is key to keeping your team invested in cultivating your vision. We’ll discuss more about communication later in the blog.

A hiring committee discusses company culture during an initial interview

Selecting the Right Team Members

Naturally, you want to hire team members who believe in your vision and thrive in your cultural atmosphere. With that said, it can be easy to hire the same type of employee again and again.

Your team should not be a monolith. Complimentary skills and diverse perspectives are critical for small business success.

According to recent research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a lack of workplace diversity leads to bias. You can’t solve problems if your entire team approaches them from an identical point of view. Consensual validation leads to conformity, which stops innovation in its tracks. Reuters also suggests that in-group bias can lead team members to shift their morals to support others similar to them.

Building effective teams demands diversity and inclusion, but you must also consider cultural fit. Articulate and communicate a workplace culture that reflects your company’s vision. That way, you’ll hire employees who add to your team. Likewise, and your new team members will thrive in an environment that meets their psychological needs.

To hire for cultural fit, ensure you do the following during the hiring process:

  • Convey your vision and culture in all candidate-facing hiring materials
  • Emphasize qualitative expectations in job listings rather than just experience level
  • Provide professional development to anyone involved in the hiring process
  • Ensure hiring managers can communicate about workplace culture in a genuine, uncanned way
  • Incorporate a walkthrough or immersive experience into the interview process
  • Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in your hiring practices

Effective Communication

Company culture starts at the top. That means it’s only effective if your frontline team members reflect the qualities you want to see.

It’s crucial to recognize that every team member possesses unique insights into the problems and strengths within your organization. Thus, success depends on the ability to communicate freely, respectfully, and without red tape. It’s the best way to foster collaboration and synergy. Plus, you’ll learn about problems that can make your operation run smoother.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your frontline team members feel comfortable bringing up issues with their superiors?
  • Are there opportunities to provide feedback in all directions?
  • Are team members rewarded or penalized for addressing a frustration or concern?

Seek to make active listening and constructive feedback cornerstones of your business. Employees will feel safer and work harder if they know exactly where they stand, what they’re doing well, and where they can improve. Likewise, they will know that their voice matters when you listen and make changes based on their feedback.

Developing the Team to Improve Operations

The key to further developing an effective team is to prioritize the four qualities below.

1. Trust

Trust has the power to enable collaboration, increase productivity, and even reduce psychological stress in the workplace. Begin by assuming all team members are competent and acting in good faith.

When things go wrong, don’t approach problem solving punitively. Instead, debrief and determine how to ensure it doesn’t happen again, listening to their feedback.

A lack of trust leads to a lack of innovation and risk taking, which leads to stagnation. Team members should never feel like their job is at risk for trying something new, even if they fail.

2. Accountability

Individual success is team success. Each member of your team must feel they can rely on others to fulfill their roles. This further bolsters a sense of trust and helps every team member feel like their role is critical to the larger operation.

Allow every staff member to own both their successes and errors and build individual recognition into your communication plan.

3. Collaboration

The beauty of hiring for diversity is that you’ll have a range of perspectives at your fingertips. Team members should have the freedom and ability to rely on one another when problem solving.

In a culture where trust and accountability are in place and risk taking is rewarded, team members are more likely to try new things. When individuals believe in the virtuosity of their collaborators, they will arrive at truly unique solutions that lead to business growth.

4. Creativity

Small businesses often have to be more creative than businesses with more resources. Remember that experimentation leads to growth. Ensure your team members have opportunities to test their hypotheses and try new things. Fostering a culture of curiosity and play can increase productivity and give your business a competitive edge.

Providing Support and Development Opportunities

Finally, remember that you don’t need to hire the perfect team member immediately every time. If you provide mentorship, training, and resources to enhance skills, you can turn a strong cultural fit into a top performer.

Ultimately, continuous learning is key to maintaining a high-performing team at every level of your business.

Are you ready to develop your business further?

Learn more about running a small business by attending one of our Business Conferences near you.

Table of Contents