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April 29, 2023

Developing a Winning Team: The Importance of Communication in High-Performing Teams

Agency team talking around a wooden office table with laptops in front of them is one of the strategy for effective communication.

April 29, 2023

As the founder of Unified Web Design, LLC, and with a diverse background in various businesses and careers, I've learned the value of effective communication in driving success. In this article, I want to share my insights on the importance of communication in high-performing teams.

Constant Flow of Communication

In my experience, communication is the backbone of any successful team. Every day, my team members and I are in constant communication with each other, our clients, and partners. We use various tools like Slack, email, project management systems, and video conferencing platforms to ensure a seamless flow of information.

The key is to strike a balance between keeping everyone informed and not overwhelming them with too much information. I always prefer to err on the side of over-communicating, but it's crucial to respect people's time and attention.

Role of Meetings

Meetings are essential for fostering collaboration, but it's important not to have too many. They should serve a clear purpose, and the team should have a shared understanding of the meeting's objectives. Regular meetings, including one-on-ones, are invaluable for keeping everyone aligned and addressing any concerns or questions in real-time.

This is especially important if you have an international team like I do. Since we aren't face to face every day, meetings provide an essential platform for staying connected. I make it a point to meet with various groups or individuals within my team at least once a week. These meetings can range from short stand-ups discussing the week's work to more in-depth, focused sessions related to specific tasks.

In addition, if you're like me and have outside strategic partners or long-term clients, you'll quickly realize the importance of regular meet-ups and meetings to build strong bonds and collaborate effectively. By maintaining open lines of communication and making time for these interactions, you can foster a sense of unity and shared purpose, ultimately contributing to the combined success of your team and your partners' teams.

Documentation Matters

Documentation plays a critical role in effective communication, especially for client projects. My team and I create standard operating procedures (SOPs) and maintain comprehensive records of client and agency information. Using a mix of textual, screenshot, and screen-sharing documentation methods, we ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the requirements, feedback, and training materials.

I know that many other agencies face challenges when working with outside teams or contractors. However, I believe that a significant part of these challenges can be attributed to a lack of focus on communication, especially if you're working with an international team.

As mentioned earlier, I tend to err on the side of over-communicating requirements and feedback. It's not uncommon for me to assign tasks accompanied by screenshots, video, and text – all three! I may even summarize the main points from the video using bullet points.

Taking these extra steps does require more time upfront, but it ultimately saves time and prevents headaches in the long run, as your team members will grasp their tasks more accurately the first time around. By emphasizing clear and thorough communication, we can minimize misunderstandings and maximize productivity across the team.

Embracing Different Communication Styles

Every team member has their preferred communication style, and it's essential to acknowledge and adapt to these differences. By understanding and accommodating different work styles and personalities, you can ensure that everyone feels heard and included, ultimately contributing to a high-performing team.

This is a significant reason why I use screen-share videos more frequently now. One team member, in particular, asked me to incorporate them more often because it made it easier for her to understand the requirements.

While I won't speculate on the reasons, it's crucial to recognize that, especially for those for whom English is their second language, finding the most effective communication methods and being flexible in that regard can greatly enhance their understanding and performance. By catering to individual needs, you can create an environment where everyone can excel.

Leveraging Technology

To maintain a constant flow of communication, it's crucial to choose and utilize the right tools. In our business, we rely on tools like ClickUp for task management and documentation, ensuring that everyone stays updated and informed about their tasks and responsibilities. ClickUp's versatile features allow us to manage tasks, collaborate in real-time, and create detailed documentation, all in one centralized platform. (this is new! At the time I'm writing this article, we are transitioning to ClickUp from the Atlassian suite – Trello, Confluence & Bitbucket)

Additionally, we use Slack as our central communication hub, which has been invaluable for keeping our international team, partners and ‘friends in business' connected. Slack allows for instant messaging, file sharing, and even audio/video meetings, making it easy for everyone to stay in touch and collaborate effectively. We also work with other content management systems as needed to meet the preferences of our clients and partners.

By leveraging these powerful tools, we can ensure that our team stays connected, informed, and engaged. Whether we're discussing ongoing projects, sharing feedback, or addressing questions, having the right tools in place streamlines our communication processes and supports our overall team's success. Remember, investing in the proper tools and technology can make all the difference in creating a high-performing team that consistently delivers exceptional results.

Conclusion

In conclusion, effective communication is the lifeblood of high-performing teams. By fostering open lines of communication, holding purposeful meetings, embracing documentation, and accommodating different communication styles, you can create an environment where everyone feels included and supported. This leads to improved collaboration, higher productivity, and ultimately, better results for your clients and partners.

As leaders and team members, it's essential to recognize the value of over-communicating (within reason!), staying connected, and being adaptable. Investing time and effort in improving communication within your team will not only save you from potential misunderstandings and setbacks but also help build a strong foundation for a successful and thriving business. Embrace the power of communication and watch your team, and your business, reach new heights.

Matt Levenhagen

1 Comment(s)

  1. Pingback A Warm Welcome: Successful Strategies for Onboarding New Team Members - Matt Levenhagen

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