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Building High Performance Teams in a Transitioning Industry

3 Mar, 2011 By: Kim Ward, Print Management Solutions Group imageSource

Building High Performance Teams in a Transitioning Industry

First, let’s examine the historical team building formula and consider the
transition influences that have direct impact on its components:    

  1. You must start with the right people
  2. You must have a strong belief that each team member can succeed
  3. The team must share a large common purposeful goal
  4. The team must be put under some pressure

Now let’s consider what’s changing. If we understand the changes required to
meet our new business objectives and we also understand the predominate changes
occurring with our employees and customers, then we can amend the formula to
become successful team builders in our quickly transitioning industry.

In a high level overview of our industry transition from the historical
“copier” environment to our new “print management” environment, these are some
common impacting transition influences that can make team building even more

  1. MPS is an emerging concept that few customers understand & few
    salespeople are proficient in.
  2. Profitably selling & servicing MPS is very different than any process or
    model used in the past.
  3. Selling has moved “up-stream” to the C-Level as a first time decision
    for many, yet salespeople aren’t prepared enough in the nuances of C-Level
  4. Customers have procedures to protect themselves from “copier”
    salespeople in order to turn solution selling approaches into
    “transactional” purchase decisions.

Start with the right people:

Effectively hiring those who have the right “stuff” is always a great place.
And yet when you also consider transition influences, hiring procedures alone
may not be enough. Whether they’re new hires or tenured reps, if salespeople are
going to acquire needed skills and master a new selling process, they must have
a tremendous appetite for education, development and improvement. If managers
are to leverage the time, talents and capabilities of a transitioning team then
they must start with the right people.

Believe that a team member can succeed:

If we consider the before mentioned transition influences when implementing
this strategy then it should read: You must have a strong belief that each team
member can succeed, or you must develop them to a place where you believe each
team member can succeed.

Building teams in a transition industry requires true interdependence. All
team members must have confidence in their abilities, in the abilities of
co-workers and in the abilities of the manager. In order to accomplish this each
manager must continue to educate, monitor, manage and develop every team member
to become proficient in the behaviors and activities that produce the best
results while consistently encouraging them to improve. Employee development
must become the guiding priority of every manager who wants to sustain a winning

A team must share a large common goal:

In order to build a team in a transitioning industry, leadership must
provide a visionary goal that stirs every team member’s heart to action! Change
can be painful. But with the right shared goal, team members can overcome
personal challenge and inconvenience in order to help the team in service of the
greater good. We’ve all seen examples of people who performed selfless acts in
order to improve another’s condition. The acts we need our team to perform are
those of transition, change and improvement. The other person’s condition is the
customer’s condition. If the reason is great enough then motivation follows &
committed action results. People need & want leadership. But they want leaders
to provide purposeful vision & guidance. In order to build and sustain a team in
a transitioning industry, leaders must share with their team a large purposeful
goal. This goal must inspire employees to press through the momentary pain of
change to achieve a mutually beneficial result.

Kim D. Ward is the director of Training & Development for Print Management
Solutions Group, Inc. (FL) and recently co-authored “Selling Managed Print
Services– The Print Partnering Process.”  At


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