CHAMP staff speaks: What makes teams successful?

August 05, 2019

By: Sarah Steward, MS*

It’s important to make time to come together as a team in order to build a strong professional organization, whether it’s the military or otherwise. Even though our team here at the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) works on a variety of different research and education projects (including HPRC), we often meet as a unit to touch base, innovate, and even just have fun together!

At our last CHAMP staff retreat, we met to brainstorm what makes successful teams and how we can find success in the workplace. And since we do our best thinking when we’re all together, we thought it would be worth sharing what we came up with.

 What makes a winning team?

Teams are the foundation of any organization and service branch. Whether you’re a Military Service Member, work with the military (like we do here at CHAMP), or work in the civilian sector, it takes groups of people collaborating together to achieve mission success. But it can take some trial and error and hard work to get teams running smoothly. So, what’s the “secret sauce” that makes the difference between those teams that find success and those that struggle?

Productive meetings
In any context, but especially in the DoD, time is a commodity. It’s crucial that each hour at work is maximized to achieve as much as possible. Meetings often help get everyone on the same page, clarify tasks and next steps, and move projects forward. However, they can sometimes feel like an ineffective use of time—particularly if they’re disorganized or if certain team members are missing or shouldn’t even be there. Think back to some of the meetings you’ve attended. What are some “best practices” from your perspective?

Cohesion and unity
One of the key beliefs of military service is the prioritization of the good of the whole unit over the needs of any single person. And units and teams that work together are able to perform at higher levels than those that struggle to find a shared purpose. But what makes a team—that’s comprised of lots of different and diverse people—one cohesive group?

Employee engagement and motivation
It’s important to understand what keeps employees engaged and motivates them to do their best at their jobs. It’s vital for the health of the workforce, unit, or team—and for the overall success of the organization. People who are engaged and satisfied work harder and better. They stay longer at their jobs too. What keeps you engaged at work?

---------- About Author ----------

Sarah Steward, of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, is an Education Specialist for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

* The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the United States Department of Defense

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