Six Elements to Successful Teams

By Beverly Flaxington, Principal, The Collaborative on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Many financial advisory firms strive hard for their teams to work together efficiently in order to accomplish desired goals. Unfortunately, the reality is often otherwise.  The question is, what key factors constitute strong teamwork? What differentiates successful teams from those that flounder and fizzle? Let’s take at the six key elements that can be undertaken by a financial company leader to make their teams more effective:


Senior financial advisors should clearly define what success means to their advisory firm. Start by identifying the success criteria in conversations with your team. Once defined, write it down and then distribute to everyone. Take the steps to ensure that all team members have a similar vision of success.

Clear Plan

Implement a clear cut plan, which includes deadlines and responsibilities, for all the team members to avoid confusion. This plan should address the who, what, when and how. Moreover, it will help each member see what each team member is responsible for and can serve as a mechanism to track each member’s progress and help ensure accountability.

Ground Rules

Define ground rules for your team. Teams need to operate with rules that encompass factors such as, agendas for meetings, scheduled meeting times and duration, communication method, etc. Remember to determine the ground rules for your team early on.  Similarly, every team is different and has different team rules. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for teams so work together to figure out which ground rules are most important to yours.

Communication Styles

Identify the communication styles of all your team members and assign roles accordingly. Who should be the leader, the facilitator or the minute taker? Assess and openly discuss each member’s communication strengths and assign their roles depending on their natural capabilities. The more aligned people are with what they naturally do, the better they will perform and the better the team can operate together. Complementary styles work but only when a proactive plan is in place to utilize them.


Identify potential obstacles to success. Surface them and organize them according to what the team can control, what they can influence and what is out of their control. The team can then work together as one unit to resolve the ones they can control and can influence with a dedicated focus. Conduct regular meetings with the purpose of identifying and discussing potential problems. Once organized, the team can brainstorm ideas and solutions to address the ones under your control or influence.

The “I” Factor

Be cognizant of the fact that each individual within a team is going to be concerned about their own experiences, viewpoints, values and contributions, despite working efficiently as a unit. Keep this in your mind and your team will prosper. Give people space for them to learn and grow at their own pace within a team, while focusing on the advisory firm’s desired goals. 

Bev is the Co-Founder and Principal of The Collaborative, a firm that is an innovator in business growth through real world experience. The Collaborative has worked with thousands of individuals and businesses and has an impressive roster of client firms including Fortune 5000 firms, the world’s largest banks & investment managers, technology companies, Colleges & Universities, as well as other mid-sized to large businesses.


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