VOLUME 1: AUGUST 18, 2005

Grab yourself some hot coffee, put your feet up on the desk, and enjoy this  FIRST issue of The Creative Edge Newsletter.  It is my goal to bring you great information on a variety of areas that are important to the success of your business.  

I will provide you with articles covering three primary areas of importance to your business...leadership development, organizational development/culture, and business strategy.  Along the way, you will find guest articles, special interviews, and even an invitations to free teleclasses just for subscribers to this newsletter.

The Creative Edge Newsletter  is published on the first and third Thursday of the month and is always Free.  Your personal information is always kept private.  

If you found some success using information in our newsletter, please take a minute and forward it to someone you know.  If you received this newsletter from a friend and you liked what you read, then please sign up and become one of our loyal subscribers.  You can find more information about signing up at http://www.creativeleading.com/newsletter.html.


IN THIS ISSUE

-Talking Points
   
 A Beautiful Moment
-Featured Article
   
The Foundations of Successful Team Building
-Another Perspective
   
Another Book...not this week.
-Additional Resources
   
Coming to you in September.
-Tele-Courses
   
Free teleclasses...how can you NOT look at the section.
-It's Your Turn
   
What do you think about this issue?  What questions do you have?

           


TALKING POINTS

Right now, while you are reading this, I am probably sitting down with a nice cup of coffee watching people pass right by the coffee shop.  I will look around and notice that it is a beautiful August morning, with sunshine and a soft breeze.  I will notice all the people moving around, many trying to make their way to work.  Some are in a hurry whereas others are taking their time to the disappointment of those in a rush.  The birds will be singing their beautiful songs and there will be this perfect rhythm to how everyone carries on.  

It is my hope and wish for you that you also have a beautiful day.

Michael

Michael Bauer
President, Innovative Business Resources, LLC


Feature Article

"The Foundation of Successful Team Building"
by Michael T. Bauer

As a teenager, I spent a number of weekends and summer vacations helping my parents build a new home.  Not the way most teenagers want to spend their time.  And I was no different.  I remember when the basement walls were built and the floor was poured.  I remember helping my father put a protective layer of insulating board on the outside walls, developing a drainage system, and dumping in layers of stones.  I didn't really understand why we had to do all that work, but my father explained very carefully that he wanted to make sure that this new home had a solid, protected foundation.  He didn't want to find cracks or leaks in the foundation because that would impact our home.

Of all of the many challenges that organizations face, it seems that team development is one of the biggest and most critical.  One of the difficulties with teams is often times they do not have a solid foundation to build upon.  I guess my father wasn't there to help plan and build a solid foundation to build upon.  For many organizations, the solution is to provide team building workshops that includes experiential exercises and on building skills.  These workshops provide wonderful ideas, tools, and even inspiration but eventually the information is lost because the foundation had cracks (attitudes, assumptions, opinions, negativity.)

The foundation of any team needs to have at least the following components:

Clearly defined goals and expectations are extremely important.  It is critical that every member on the team understands what direction they are traveling.  It is safe to say that a great deal of motivation and morale is lost when everyone on a team is not aiming for the same outcomes.  It is not uncommon to find teams that achieve small, individual focused goals, but miss out on the opportunity to meet larger expectations.  Accountability is often an issue when it comes to achieving these larger goals.

I have been on many teams, and in most cases there weren't any specific goals and expectations, only generalizations.  Most people want to have some creative choice in how they approach work, but the also understand the importance of establishing some direction.  Often times, unclear goals and expectations start at the very top of the organization.  So, how well does your organization follow its mission, vision, and core values?  Does your organization hold people accountable for their work? 

Open and Clear Communication is another crucial foundation element.  Clear communication encourages team members to share their opinions and points of view with the understanding that it makes the team more effective.  In most of my experiences, teams that were struggling did so because of  poor communication or a complete lack of it.  Team members did not feel that they could speak to the team leader or upper management  so they gradually developed negative attitudes and created divisions within the team.  This is a very difficult skill for a team to master and maintain because our personalities always get in the way.  Do you practice clear and open communication with your team?

Effective and timely decision making is important to a team's overall health and development.  It is important that teams that make decisions also be able to implement them.  Motivation drops significantly when teams decide to implement one thing, but then are informed that they have no say in the final directions.  Timely decision making also includes deciding upon the best method of decision making, such as majority rule, consensus building, and authority rule with discussion.  The real challenge is deciding what type to use and when to use it.  Each decision making model has its positive outcomes, but also negative ones.  Take a look at the teams you are connected with.  How does your team make decisions and are they responsible for implementation of those decisions?

Finally, it is extremely important that there are clearly defined roles.  Some people are better at action related roles.  These roles focus on contributing to getting the work of the team done.  These people are task oriented and push the group to achieve more.  Then there are the motivators, or those roles that are focused on developing, encouraging, and building interpersonal relationships.  Ultimately, all team members are responsible for these roles.

So, take a good look at your team.   Is the foundation solid or do you need some help building it back up?

Copyright 2005 Michael T. Bauer

DO YOU WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE?  You can!  Send me a request through our website at  http://www.creativeleading.com/contact.html and I will send you a short bio to include at the end of the article. 


ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

No book review today...although I am reading two very good books.  In the next newsletter I will share my thoughts about the author and leadership expert Marcus Buckingham.  


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

While one of my goals is to keep this newsletter very concise, I also want to provide as much additional information to you about issues that impact family owned business, professional service firms, non-profits, and small businesses. In the next few weeks you will have an opportunity to receive additional information by email.   Keep your eyes open to this section for new information.  


TELECLASS

This is the one area of the newsletter that you don't want to skip over.  This is where YOU find out how to sign up for the next free teleclass that we are offering.  The teleclass will only be offered to subscribers to this newsletter.  We plan to do two teleclasses a month - one teleclass will focus on leadership development issues and the second one will be an interview with an expert on a variety of issues that can help your business grow.  Our experts work in the area of HR, incentive programs, public relations, marketing, advertising, and copywriting.   And you will have a chance to ask our guest a few questions.  Keep your eyes posted to this spot.  September is the deadline.


IT'S YOUR TURN

What did you think about this issue?  Did you find something in the issue that you could use?  Maybe you have a question you would like to ask.  Your comments are extremely important to the ongoing development of this newsletter.  Click Here


MICHAEL'S ROLODEX

Are you struggling to write a brochure, an article, a book?  Do you need someone who can write effective press releases or letters to the editor?  I want to introduce you to my good friend Anne Bingham.  Anne is an editor and copywriter with many years of experience in the journalism field.  She has the skills to really make your written materials shine.  So, if you are looking to publish anything (could even be a newsletter) and want someone to do the editing (or writing), then let me know.  I would love to personally refer you to her.  Contact me today at http://www.creativeleading.com/contact.html


ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Michael Bauer is the President of Innovative Business Resources, LLC, a management consulting firm that focuses on unlocking the creative potential in individuals and organizations tm. Michael directs his energy toward helping organizations develop their leaders, strengthen their teams, and energize their cultures.  He is also a Principal with The Global Consulting Partnership, a partnership with over 250 consultants throughout the United States.

Innovative Business Resources, LLC provides a wide range of consulting solutions for human resources development and organizational development.  These solutions are individually tailored and apply to all sizes of businesses.  Michael enjoys working with family-owned and privately held organizations, non-profits, service-based firms, and small business owners/entrepreneurs. 

Contact Information:  Michael Bauer, Innovative Business Resources, LLC, N88 W17966 Christman Road Menomonee Falls, WI 53051.  You can find more information about Michael and IBR through our website at http://www.creativeleading.com


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Copyright 2005  Innovative Business Resources, LLC.  All Rights Reserved