HOW TO BUILD A TEAM

No man is an island. This life is such that we inevitably need other people for one thing or the other. Human beings are social creatures, hence, we are naturally gregarious. From the dawn of time, and in the earliest civilizations, there have been lots of records of human associations based on man’s need to interact and socialize with others.

Due to compartmentalization, certain affinities and preferences, especially due to common goals and interests, people tend to group themselves with other people that are more like them.

Some of these groups can be referred to as teams. A team is defined as a group of people with different skills and different tasks, who work together on a common project, service or goal, with a meshing of functions and mutual support.

Here are four common types of teams- Functional, Cross Functional, Virtual, and Self-directed.

The Functional team is something which is related to a function. For example, you have the design function, advertising function, etc.

On the other side of the spectrum, Cross Functional Team is a team where people from different functions work towards a common goal. This team is used when you’re working on it improvement project which spans over a number of functions.

Virtual Team is a team which don’t have physical/face-to-face interaction. These are people working towards a common goal using the help of technology.

The next type of team is the Self-directed team. The self-directed team comes together on their own. Members are not formally assigned to a particular project. The members of the self-directed team come together on their own with the minimum input from management to solve a particular problem.

In addition to these four team types, there could be many other types of teams; For example, a quality circle is a kind of team where 5-6 people work towards a common goal of improvement.

Team Building/Improvement is an essential part of a team’s activities, no matter the kind of team. In order to build an effective and efficient team, certain traits have to be exhibited by the team. They are-
1. The purpose, the mission and the vision of the team should be known and understood by all team members.
2. Team communication must be open, frank and honest. However, members should show respect when talking to each other and avoid insults, gossips, trolling etc.
3. Leadership of the team must be strong and able to handle member welfare with efficiency.
4. Regular reviews of team performance.
5. The organizational structure of the team must be plain, functional and agreed upon by all members.
6. Adequate resources for the success of the team’s activities must be provided.
7. Teamwork and synergy must be promoted.

Team Building is a step by step process with lots of experience and acquired knowledge along the way. Team members must learn to divide labour well. Positive team spirit has to be promoted at meetings to push members to work better together. This usually takes some time. It won’t all click immediately, there would certainly be some setbacks and challenges that will threaten the stability of the team at different development stages.

The developmental stages of a team include the following-

1. The Forming stage
2. The Storming stage
3. The Norming stage
4. The Performing stage.

The Forming Stage
1. Team members are cautious, timid and guarded. Therefore, there’s little investment into the group.
2. There’s little visible disputes on issues due to lack of identity amongst members.

The Storming Stage
1. Conflicts and disputes occur often at this stage.
2. Cliques are created as members start taking more risks and try to know each other better.
3. Work is not very productive, and there’s a high level of frustration.

The Norming Stage
1. Work becomes enjoyable as progress starts to show.
2. Goals, roles and relationships are being defined and developed.
3. Conflicts are now about issues, not egos or people, as team members are learning to appreciate the peculiarities in people.
4. Communication becomes open and clear, therefore, members begin to feel a sense of belonging to the team.

The Performing Stage
1. Team synergy, morale and productivity is high.
2. Conflict frequently happens, leading to problem solving.
3. Collaborative efforts are spontaneous and free flowing.
4. Differences in personalities are valued.

In order for a team to go through all these stages and be successfully developed (according to its values, goals, mission and vision), there are some team building exercises that must be completed for changes to occur. These exercises can be called Team Development tasks. Without these exercises, team efforts may be wasted. Some of these Team Development tasks include –

1. Defining the team purpose and vision in a clear and concise way.
2. Review team performance using the purpose as a balance.
3. Work ethics, norms and traditions should be discussed regularly to instill fundamental training in members. Define the roles of all the members.
4. Create team plans for new projects. At the same time, assess the current stage of team development and identify roadblocks to improvement.
5. Participate in team skill learning programs to boost knowledge.
6. The team members should engage in challenging and enjoyable experiences occasionally to bolster positive relationships amongst members and team spirit.

In addition to this (leaders take note), there are some things that should never be done because it hinders Team Development. One of them is Over talking, it’s a big no-no in Teamwork. Talking too much, especially with an authoritative tone, drains the spirit of the team and bores members into relaxing on the job. State the facts and get to work! That’s the way to get the job done.

Bragging and power plays should be limited, if not entirely stopped. Team members should be taught that there’s more to the team than the hierarchy of power and authority. Equity is the vocal point here. That’s what being a team player is about. Criticisms should be made in private.

Teams set higher and tougher goals than individuals because of an increase in productivity due to the bringing of more knowledge and skills to the solution of a problem. In order for a team to succeed, communication has to be open, conflicts have to be managed, collective wisdom has to be applied, boundaries have to be set and duly defined, and differences in the personalities and traits of the team members have to be appreciated and valued.

Every team member is valuable, and should be made to feel so. All ideas and opinions should be weighed equally and the team must be open to active negotiation and compromise. Everyone must contribute unless they would be cracks in the wall, and this would eventually lead to the crumbling of the team organizational structure.

In conclusion, successful teams are not built in a day. Maybe not even a year. It’s the people that count. Team members should be selected carefully (All the boxes have to be checked). Bonding and synchronization takes time to effect the changes desired by the team leaders. The parameters of team organization should be flexible, open to change; rigidity may only lead to stagnancy. With constant dedication and persistence, any team can be built to the level where goals and targets can be met with relative ease.

As earlier mentioned, no man is an island. Teams are very essential for the effective and timely completion of projects, goals, and missions. To build the right team, you must build the right people.

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Rainy Weather Blues

Is this rain disturbing you?

Now take some time to imagine what it’s doing to Cold Finger. I need to be Unsingle quick. I won’t be needing all these clothes to keep warm. This weather is doing me bad.

I want/need bae who can cuddle – harder than the cold can bite. I need bae who can prepare a hot lunch for both of us to eat while watching the rain hit the window pane. I need bae who can make me put down the phone and engage in healthy conversation. I need bae who dances to reggae for warmth, while forcing me to join her… I need bae who can sing along to my blues.

I need bae to kill the cold boredom.

It feels like Winterfell in this room, and I’m in my feelings. Where’s my KiKi at? Na me get Ogudu GRA, we can run these streets together and put the rest of the world in the background. Lagos? Na me land the property. The city is my zone, me and bae could touch my fave spots with finesse and lots of PDA.

This could be us.You could be my inspiration. I could share the fire in my soul with you. Something tells me you might not need it though…. I see the light in your eyes.

I need bae. Period. I’ve confessed. If this love is a crime, I’m in my feelings, come and arrest me.
#DragonSoul #SoberThursday #MyImaginaryGirlfriend #RichardHenrywrites.

Me and My Crazy Girl

In retrospect, maybe the gun she held on her profile pic should have warned me. I had guessed it was a fake, or maybe it was not loaded. I mean what was she doing with a real pistol? Must be fake. Right?

Wrong. Turns out her dad’s a retired gangster, and the gun was very much real. Locked and loaded. She looked too beautiful to be crazy; I knew I would still fall even if she was, and fall I did.

Bullets don’t really hurt when you’re shot. The shock gets you rocking, adrenaline covers the pain, and if you’re strong enough, you may not pass out immediately. Depends on where you’re shot though. Crazy bitch shot my foot, twice. One bullet for each leg.

I don’t pass out, neither do I feel the pain at once. I’m in shock. She had retrieved the weapon from her bag with the ease of getting her lipstick. Her aim was perfect.

I lay on the floor a full minute doing nothing. She just sits there, on the bed, looking at me, and…crying?

“Why’d you shoot me?” I manage to ask, only now aware that the wet feeling on my legs must be blood. I dare not look down or try to move my legs.

She doesn’t reply. She keeps on crying.

I’m straight up confused.

In spite of myself, I can’t help thinking how pretty she looks, with her Dragon Soul T-shirt and teary face. She would be an angel if her demons weren’t so firm with their hold on her.

I repeat my question. Adrenaline fading, pain coming fast now. I’m searching her brown eyes for answers, all I see is pain. She looks like the attacked one.

“I don’t want you to leave me,” She said. “I love you too much to let you go.”

“Promise you won’t leave me?”

Crazy girl. I don’t have much of a choice now, do I? At this point, it’s a life or death question. I consider not answering but I realize she’s unstable and I had to keep her talking.

But what to say to defuse the situation? I don’t wanna die.

“You know I love you, Dalyn. But you know in your heart that if I make a promise in this situation, it’s very likely to be not genuine.”

“We have to give our love a chance to grow, and this is not the way. You know this, don’t you?”

The pain is searing now, my breathing is contracted and I feel woozy. She never takes her eyes off mine.

Finally, she sighs and gets off the bed. She walks to the other side of the room out of my line of vision. My head’s pounding now, so I can’t turn to follow her movement, I can barely even hold it up. I wonder if my legs would have to be amputated or something like that.

Forget that. I have to focus on the moment.

Her phone is making dialing noises.

“Hello 911, we’ve been robbed, my boyfriend is hurt. He’s… been shot. Please come quickly, he’s bleeding badly.”

I bravely check my legs for the first time since the shots, and indeed, i am bleeding badly. Two bullets holes above both my ankle joints.

She is still talking. “….Yes. Yeah. Number five, Fred Dunhill street, Gavin Estate. Please hurry. I don’t want to lose him…”

She hangs up. She’s a good actor. Perfect damsel-in-distress scene.

“Help is on the way, Luke. Your wounds aren’t fatal, and they won’t incapacitate your legs. I made sure of that.” She says.

Made sure?

She crosses over back to the bed side where I could see her clearly. She looks me in the eye again.

“When the police get here, you can do what you want with me, I won’t run away. I just want to be with you.”

At this point, I’m too weak to talk. I just nod. When they do get here, I suspect I would corroborate her tale. Call me a sucker for pain, or a fool, or a woman wrapper. Call me anything you want, but pretty girls like her don’t end up in jail. Rehab maybe, but not jail.

And I think I love her.

I must be crazy. Aren’t we all?

She bends over to kiss me, I kiss back. Sweet. I pass out.

I DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS

Her voice was gravel.

And so was the ground she didn’t stand on. She just sat on the swing, swinging her legs and uprooting the deepest of her feelings for me to discern. I just sat on the ground.

“What I don’t understand,” she said. “Is why I still care about James.”

Gravel is most of what I heard. Rachel was smoking again. Cigarettes used to be her bane, she used to smoke all the time, but she quit. She quit for him. She said he made her a better person. She said he had halted her addiction. She said she would never touch a Benson and Hedges pack again.

I believed her.

But now she was smoking again, and saying some very different things. Difference was all around us.

We were shaded by the oldest tree in the park. The tree we used to play under as kids. She and I used to play ‘parents’ under this very tree every weekend, whenever the actual parents brought us over for light recreation. We knew our lips for the first time under this tree; it housed our memories.

Every other tree here is new, probably part of the Government’s reforestation scheme. I haven’t been here in years. Things change fast.

“I started smoking yesterday…”

“I know.” I said, trying to cut her off. I didn’t want her to hurt herself any more than was necessary.

“…after three good years, Patrick. I stopped for him you know? He told me I was a queen, and that queens shouldn’t be tobacco addicts. I gave everything up for him, Patrick, even my job. ”

She looked radiant in her blue jeans. That was all I could permit myself to think. Years ago, I imagined telling her ‘I told you so’ when her and James hit the splits. I imagined it would be a thing to laugh about, just like how we laughed about all her previous break-ups. I knew James was trouble, with his pretentious self, but he made her so happy. I liked seeing her happy.

However, here she is, sad.

Her brown eyes looked like glass; glass reflecting the setting sun, holding tears that were yet to shatter. She was starting to have bags under them, her eyes, and her hair looked the worst for wear. Her face, and her white shirt, were stained with dried tears.

“What went wrong, Patrick?” She asked me, even though it was a question for her to answer.

Her soul was crying.

My soul was searching for answers I know I didn’t have.

I didn’t have the answers. Even if I did, an answer is never enough. One answer leads to another question. That’s how the tests of life are; hard and complicated.

I stood up from the ground, dusting myself in the process, and covered the little distance between us. She was still talking, engaged in a monologue with herself, re-asking the inevitable question: What went wrong? A broken sentence.

I gently put my hands on both her shoulders, and pulled her from the swing. Her sneakers touched the gravel lightly – even in a crisis, her movement was still full of grace – making a slight squeak. She made herself small in my arms, like a child, and I appreciated that she could become comfortable enough to be vulnerable with me.

I swear to God she is perfect.

Her eyes were directly on mine now, looking for the answer. My brain had none. We stared at each other for a long time, waiting for an answer, but my mind had none.

My heart did.

I kissed her lips, damning the consequences as I did so, and the world was stalled.

Here we stood, under the ancient oak tree, lips interlocked and souls intertwined; memories rushing back to us, like clarity after Friday night at a nightclub.

So we kissed.

She, kissing me for all her heart was worth, tossing all sense out the windows of her soul (not regarding the families that were here for light recreation), letting go of the depression of her heart and I, kissing her for all my heart was worth, trying to answer every request she silently made, realizing the feelings for her that I tried to bury deep in the graveyard of my heart, capturing her fleeting mind and putting it in the space we were in, the space where everything didn’t have to make sense.

The world was stalled. Every broken sentence was mended.

She tasted of memories and Nescafe’ and cigarettes. A divine combination. I loved her for it. I had always loved her, I just never admitted it. My arms left her shoulders and trailed slowly to the curve of her waist, pulling her deeper into my embrace.

I didn’t have all the answers. I might not even have one. But as Rachel and I kissed under our tree of memories, her glassy eye finally breaking with the tears she had been holding captive, I stumbled on a truth. One that helped me enjoy the moment.

The truth set me free; set us free. I could feel my soul breaking the restraints that held me back for so long. I could feel her freeing herself into me.

The old oak tree would probably be here forever, and we just created another memory for it to house. The sun was dying, making the sky red with its blood. Rachel was still in my arms. She was perfect. The sky was perfect. The truth was perfect.

It set us free.

And the truth is simple: Life has questions; but not all questions have to be answered.

Roses And Diamonds

Roses and diamonds

Bitter sweet love

Bloody heart broken

Kisses from above

 

Tears and waterfalls

Summer cold sadness

Watery eye punctured

Dreadful melancholic madness

 

Pills and potions

Remedy for soul

Strong body weakened

Just one blow

 

Sex and cigarettes

Quench sinful lust

Small death attained

Human becomes dust.

Lonely Chords

Every lonely chord that I play in the dark of my room is a love song for your heart. Silent. Loud. The In-between. Every beating of my sore heart is the rhythm of your lovely steps. I know I should have made this a poem (believe me I do). But my words are far too conversational for me to arrange them into verses and stanzas (believe me I tried).

And I am not much of a poet, all I do is find new sequences for the lines of the great bards. And what do I do with those words? I post it on Facebook.

Neither am I much of a lover, all I can hope to do is repeat the mistakes of every ex that you have ever had. I can’t sweep you off your feet; I may never ever tell you the words that will blow your mind. But trust me, those words are forever etched in the sculpture of my mind, waiting for the burst of release.

But they never leave my head. The sad thing is that they find their graves on the back of my throat.

I hope the ghosts speak to your ears.

Thinking out loud.

Last night, I saw you – cascading through the street lights, like an ethereal sprite, out shining the lamps with the brightness of your halo – but you didn’t see me. So I watched from a safe distance as you passed, because I didn’t want to be blinded by your light. My friends always warned me that love was blind.

I know I barely cross your mind, if I do at all, but I want you to know that you are ever forever on mine. It makes me want to lose all sense and jump into you. Lose myself in your essence.

How sad. I don’t even know how to speak these words to you, your presence overwhelms me, and my lips never seem to form the love ballads that I sing for you in the darkness of my room.

Truly sad.

These words are for you. You don’t even know it, but they are, all for you. Every single sentence; noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition and conjunction. Every heart-breaking line. All for you.

But I may never say them to you. So what do I do? The only thing I can do. The only thing I have ever done.

I post it on Facebook.

I post my heart on Facebook. #MyImaginaryGirlfriend. #RichardHenrywrites.

ME AND MY FRIENDS

Me and my friends know all the old moves,
Alcohol and weed high.
We live like our fathers before us,
Never thinking that one day, we will die

Maybe we won’t die.

Maybe our names shall be immortalized in the hearts of men,
On the lips of women that sing,
And in the ears of children that learn.

Me and my friends have kissed the same old girls,
We break new hearts.
We know that life is naught but a movie,
And we know our parts.

And all we want is to die like heroes,
With a million enemy arrows whistling behind,
Crawling home to the one we love,
And beauty, the only thing in mind.

So, me and my friends know all the old moves,
Fun time and the hangovers.
We will leave this world with so much noise and romp,
Hoping that someone cares or bothers…
#Poetryofthemind.

In my study

Lately, in my study,

I engross myself in poetry.

Lines heartily sung,

Or devilishly spawned,

They keep me from the pantry.

 

Whenever I feel bored or sad,

I delight in the works of bards.

It is good recreation, the same

As any fair game.

(Better than cheating at cards).

 

So bring me rhyme-lines without ado.

Anything with a little heart will do.

Be it the sonnets of Shakespeare,

Or the limericks of Lear,

(Even the works of Poe too).

 

Surely, at my study,

Dearly have I engrossed myself in poetry.

Food for thought from poet’s bowl

Have fed my spirit and calmed my soul.

Therefore, off now I go to the pantry!