Keys to Building and Motivating a Successful Team

Many experts, books and blogs deal with the dynamics of teams and give advice on how to make them successful. In a recent interview with a college student, Dimalanta Design Group Founder and CEO Ernie Dimalanta revealed his take on team building.

Q: In your experience what would you say are the three most important strategies for a building successful team? 

ED: First, I would say that it’s very important to define what you mean by success. There are teams that succeed in meeting sales goals or other achievements, but are willing to do whatever it takes to get there, even if it includes destructive behavior.

I believe successful teams not only achieve their goals, but also set out to accomplish them in a manner that builds one another up and encourages collaboration. Here are the three main team-building strategies I try to follow:

  1. Be Unified

See, know and act together. Encourage and design productive meetings, meaning reports, useful dashboards and other tools that support collaboration. Clear and constant communication is paramount.

  1. Platinum Rule

A step beyond the golden rule, the platinum rule requires that you treat others the way they like to be treated. This requires everyone to be other-focused.

  1. Team Members Pass the “Don’t be a J#&K Test”

Good team members are generally good people: they are likable, hard working, motivated, loyal, trustworthy, teachable, and fun.

Q: In your experiences with teams, what are three critical factors in motivating a team?

ED: Obviously, many ways of motivating team members are individual, but here are three tactics I’ve found to be generally successful.

  1. Communicate your WHY. “Why do we do what we do?”
  2. Continual learning and observing of each team member’s passions, gifts and personal styles. In other words, “know your people.”
  3. Set SMART (specific, meaningful, action-oriented, goals, realistic and timely) goals, clear roles, and make a commitment to training. Don’t send your team out on the battlefield with no direction!

Q: What remedies do you have if a motivation problem is structural?

ED: I find that lack of motivation or initiative is often because of an individual’s lack of foundational knowledge, mastery of their role and/or confidence to push beyond their limits. Therefore, it’s important to place that individual in the right role, provide proper training and tools, establish realistic expectations and initiate regular reviews so they can make the proper adjustments with guidance.

Q: What remedies have you experienced for personal or individual motivation challenges?

ED: One effective remedy for motivational challenges that I have personally experienced is attending conferences or other professional gatherings. I found that was a great way to discover potential, new ideas, resources and training to renew my passion and set me on the right track to approach my role with reinvigorated drive. I like to provide my team members with the opportunity for ongoing learning and professional development as a way to sustain and refresh their personal motivation.


-Keep it Perpetual

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