In the early days of the dot-com craze, any business could add the words “dot-com” to their name and it seemed like they would receive a dump truck of money from a Venture Capitalist. There wasn’t a need for a quality business plan to prove how they’d make money. People paid their staff in stock. Those in business who weathered those times are glad they’re over. But there is one trend that I’m glad didn’t disappear. It’s the trend of teams.
While teams have been around, of course, much longer than the dot-com craze, I think that businesses that used teams during the tech boom helped to refine and redefine how business teams can succeed. Here are 4 business teams you can use:
- Work Teams: Rather than having people attend committee meetings where very little gets done, or relegate people to their cubicle where work may or may not get done, assign people to work teams. People can share the workload with each other and competition between work teams will help to encourage productivity. This will allow you to share some of your resources rather than buy one for every desk (like a stapler, for example. Sure, it’s a small expense but it adds up quickly). Because responsibility is spread among team members, work won’t get missed because someone goes away on holidays. Work teams should be semi-permanent arrangements between people.
- Quality Teams: Quality teams are more flexible than work teams in that they are not necessarily a fixed group of people. Create a quality team under one manager and mandate the team to improve quality over-all in a department. This team will need to be made up of people from different sectors who work together.
- Problem Solving Teams: Like quality teams, this team is not fixed either. Quality teams are proactive while problem-solving teams are reactive. They, too, should be made up of people from different departments, as well as a representative from the quality teams.
- Virtual Teams: Virtual teams help to reduce expenses and increase productivity. While meetings are essential, it’s not always necessary for one person to fly to another city or drive to another office to attend the meeting. Virtual teams take care of that by using technology (like Webex or GoToMeeting) to connect teams.
The first 3 types of teams are specific groups of people who get together to do the work they’ve been mandated to do. The 4th team is simply a mindset to improve productivity while reducing travel expenditures.
One final note about teams: one of the team-related trends that the dot-com boom did really well with was in tearing down office cubicles to make way for a more work-conducive environment. In the place of cubicles, a more comfortable environment of tables, chairs, couches, and a cafe were built. To “old school” business owners, this sounds unorthodox and the value (at first) seems questionable.
Cubicles may have fulfilled one purpose during the eighties and nineties of increasing office space that had flexibility without building another office building but a byproduct of that effort was to increase office territoriality and individuality. By tearing down the cubicles and instead creating a work environment that people want to go to, they not only improved their work environment but they also helped increase productivity.