How you organize your team is almost as important as the work you do.  A well-organized team that reflects both the needs of the organization and the strengths of its members can make a huge difference in how your department and output is received.  Many teams are built around the person or people that start them or build them out.  In larger organizations, there may be instances where the function of the team is established before the individuals assigned to it are identified.  In either case, the key to creating a high-value, high-functioning team is aligning the organizations requirements with the skills of the team members.

What’s the best way to make sure this happens? 

Let me tell you how we do it:

First, understand the people you have and what their skills are.  Seems simple, but if you sit down and talk to your staff you can uncover two critical pieces of information; do they like the role they have on the team, and do they feel they have other skills that could be leveraged?

Second, identify the skill gaps that need to be filled to properly serve your constituents.  Sounds easy, it’s not.  Unfortunately, you uncover these gaps in two ways; either your customer or constituency you serve lets you know that you are not living up to your commitment or your team members let you know that they are not interested in a particular task type through disinterest, poor quality, or never actually delivering.

Lastly, and this is most important, build the team that best serves the end customer.  Most in-house marketing organizations look at the sales team (or whoever their immediate downstream “customer” is) and think “if I can satisfy them, I’ve done my job!”.  Yes, it is important to empower and strengthen the sales teams to find customers and help create engagement paths.  More important than the seller, is the buyer.  Do not lose track of that end user, the final customer.  Make sure your intentions and goals are always focused around their needs, attitudes, and behaviors.

This is particularly true in the political minefield known as the financial services industry.  Consideration of the end user is often redirected in lieu of satisfying the executive team or some other entity that is NOT the end consumer.  Always focus on providing value and information that is targeted at the consumer.  If you stay true to this approach, you can ensure your team is doing meaningful and manageable work.  You can ensure that your internal customer has all the support they need.  Through all this, you must ensure that the end customer is being understood, reflected, and considered.  Without them, you have nothing.