How to Succeed as a Team

Amazing products don’t just build themselves

Products are made by an amazing group of people who share the same passion for a problem. Of course, great teams don’t just build themselves over time; they require time and resilience to overcome conflicts that don’t just exist in the startup space, but amongst the team itself.

I thought that business class would be hard in terms of how much work we would be expected to accomplish in a short period of time (starting a business is no joke!), but in reality, it was hard in regards to how well my team was able to work together.

Team Assessment and Product Dartboards

Before class my team and I filled out a team assessment which gave us the opportunity to evaluate how our team was doing in the midpoint of the semester. We also filled out help us assess attributes associated with our success, such as clear roles and our understanding of our unique value proposition.

I can say that most of my marks from the assessment and dartboard indicated that our team was being pretty well, but in reality, the rest of my team did not think as idealistically as I did.

Team Bonding Exercises

The problem with our team was that we thought we have been communicating, but we haven’t really been communicating in a way that helped us get things done together. Last week, one of my teammates complied the whole presentation while the rest of us just provided our findings..We also had not been relying to each other’s messages which proved to be a big issue in getting things done. Even though we communicated a lot in class, we were barely communicating outside of class.

In class, we did a team exercise to better understand each other’s thoughts. Two teammates would sit in chairs, both people facing away from the other but still in side view from one another. One person would say what was on their mind starting with a phrase such as, “I wish I had time to…” while the other person would listen. We then would take turns talking and listening to each other.

By sharing our personal thoughts, we had a better understanding of where each team member’s priorities lied and from there, we could slowly start to establish better trust and dependability of each team member.

Empathy Mapping

Another exercise we did was map our thoughts and feelings on an empathy map, only that it wasn’t on our own map but our teammates. Each member put a sticky note on a different category in which they thought that one team member was thinking or doing. This provided a way of seeing how each teammate perceived each other and created a conversation that encouraged one to improve on their weak points (for me, I need to be more tough and speak my thoughts) and feel motivated about their good points (I try to alleviate any team disagreements and help all of us reach a collective solution by weighing the pros and cons of a situation).

How my teammates perceived me!

By visibly seeing what aspects we needed to keep and change, we can create a team dynamic of clearly listing out our strengths and weaknesses and how we could help each other with different parts of work.

Main Takeaways

Because of school, our team and I are not always going to be on the same page of where we are at with starting a business. By accepting the fact we have different priorities, we can use this as a way to be very clear in how we need to use our different superpowers to get things done and improve on our weak points. We also need to clearly voice out our issues regardless of other obligations. By doing this, we can better align our different goals and agendas that will benefit all of us in the end when we design an amazing product together.

As a start, we clustered our keeps and changes of creating a better team environment.