Making the Most of a Small Team

Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” There’s strength in a small team of hardworking individuals, ready to put forth their best effort and deliver results amongst the team; responsibilities are evenly distributed, everyone is well acquainted and held easily accountable for their actions. Large company departments have easy access to resources and sought-after positions, so how does a smaller team with the same goal compete? How do we ensure the efficiency of a team with less manpower?

At Camp Corral, we are small, but also mighty. Currently, our executive team is made up of four individuals, including myself. Before joining Camp Corral, I worked within program development and operations for various camp organizations, applying my experience to my role as COO, then CEO in a corporate environment. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about what helps and hinders a small team’s productivity. Running a nationwide summer camp out of a local office with a small team isn’t easy, but the responsibility and drive of each team member lends itself to Camp Corral’s continued growth. Here are some tips for how you can make the most of your small team:

Align Team Goals

Henry Ford said it best: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” It’s important to find each team member’s “sweet spot” and make the most of their skills and knowledge. Determine what makes each of your team members unique and capitalize on their capabilities through frequent encouragement to reach a resounding goal.

Foster Positive Team Culture

Creating a strong culture means fostering positive interactions and relationships amongst a team to form a culture that establishes unity. It’s the same type of spirit that teams cheer about before they run out onto the field, court or rink; it’s the feeling of standing on stage with the whole cast after a performance for the final bow, with a standing ovation from the audience. A strong team culture gets every member to do whatever it takes to help their organization succeed, together.

Encourage Team Communication

A small team already has the upper-hand in terms of communication, as it’s easier to communicate with fewer people and far less can be “lost in the shuffle.” Fostering this communication is key, even with a small team. Hold regular meetings, but keep them brief, allowing everyone to catch up, define weekly goals and stay on the same page. Short meetings reduce wasted time, discourage breaks in the communication chain and encourage productivity.

Communication between team members should also be frequent and informal. With a small team, it’s easy to form solid relationships with coworkers and spend more time communicating in person. At the Camp Corral office, we believe in a 24/7 open-door policy to allow for easy, verbal communication. If your team isn’t always in the same place at the same time, office communication tools such as Slack, HipChat or Basecamp help create an internal thread of communication, organized by project or task. Share updates quickly with coworkers and keep moving on with your day. Effective communication fosters a healthy work environment and creates long-lasting team motivation.

As the leader, you’re responsible for harnessing team communication to maximize efficiency. Continuously take stock of team performance and communicate accordingly. Transparency from each team member is not only more important on a small team, it’s necessary, and you should lead by example. Give prompt recognition for outstanding work and provide constructive feedback when something isn’t carried out according to plan. Keeping everyone in the loop keeps team spirits high and the gears turning.

Promote Team Happiness

At Camp Corral, our vision is to strengthen military families, one child a t a time, through a unique experience. Having fun is something we value in our company culture, and it’s not just for the kids. Fitting a little fun into every workday is important for all, boosting morale and providing an enjoyable workplace. Have your employees participate in occasional team-building activities but get creative. Bring board games into the office, host monthly pizza lunches or celebrate each person’s birthday. Make sure to show everyone the same consideration and expect them to do so in return.

Support work-life balance for every member of your team. Show them that you care about the wellbeing of their personal life and they will reciprocate in their devotion to the business and the fidelity of their work. Encourage your employees to lead lives outside of work. If they burn out from working too much, it will only put you and the rest of the team at a disadvantage.

Camp Corral strives to teach children the importance of building a strong support system; through team-building activities our campers not only develop friendships but build emotional resilience and learn coping skills in a fun camp setting. Just like summer camp activities, these tips set the foundation for a synchronized team allowing your team members to feel satisfied with their work and perform with a positive attitude. It’s true that there is strength in numbers, but collaboration, communication and motivation add insurmountable power to a team of any size.

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