The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “I have to set up a team …”

Question: I’ve been tasked with setting up a new team and have never done anything like this before. I’m not sure how to structure it or who to select. What should I be thinking about? Mary

Answer: Let’s start with basics. The most important thing is to agree with your Director why the team is being set up, what it needs to achieve and by when.

Next clarify the skills and abilities required to achieve the team’s task. What are the critical skills required to guarantee success, the good to haves and the nice to haves. If you can’t access people with the critical skills, or who have the ability to quickly learn those skills, then say no to setting the team up in the first place or renegotiate the team’s task.

What will be the value set for the team? Mutual support, going the extra mile? Whatever it is think about the people you’re choosing and whether their personality or values will fit. Whether you have a choice of team members or not plan team building exercises early on so they can explore each other’s personality and start to build up their own group stories to generate cohesion.

Give the team an identity, a logo or name. Plan the routines which will become their ritual. Ensure that that management systems are fair and consistent and that everyone understands and accepts the rules around the team’s operations.

Expect a period of calm, then arguments before they settle into really working together. It’s normal. Keep an eye on it and act as arbiter if needed. Finally, have fun as teams will always be more productive if they enjoy what they’re doing.


Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company. Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach. If you have a problem then contact her at Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

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