Building and Maintaining Effective Teams: Your Questions Answered

By: Lea Titas  | 02/21/2018

Building an effective team is like building a house. You can’t build a reliable house without a sound foundation. Last week, Tom Hileman offered up his expertise by providing tactics to building and maintaining an effective team. We're providing the audio as well as answers to the questions asked in the webinar.


What made you come up with the core values for Hileman Group?

We went through a process when reorganizing our company and one of the tenants of the system we used was core values. Core values allow us to set expectations well. We’re passionate about it because we want anyone to be able to walk into a meeting room and know exactly what is expected of them. And if everyone knows the core values, the business decisions become a lot easier to make, bringing clarity and trust to the organization.


How did you come up with the specific core values for Hileman Group?

I don’t think you come up with core values, I think they already exist and you surface them. What we did was, using our giant whiteboard wall, we described the characteristics of the best Hileman team members. We put about 50 words up on the wall which we coalesced into about 7-8 concepts, which we then boiled down to the 5 things. So, I think core values aren’t created, I think they already exist based on the team members and the leadership you have and what’s important. We, of course, came up with clever ways to say them, like “Make Your Mom Proud” (which has to do with integrity) to make them memorable. I think every organization has a set of core values, whether they’re documented or not.


Do you have tips for effective onboarding of technical staff?

That’s a tough one. We have a technical team here at Hileman Group, led by Steve Snider. When we onboard, we use the same approach for all staff, but obviously there is a skillset and subject matter that’s needed in technology. As a former software developer myself, I live and love the technical world. I think one of the things we try to do here is reorient people who have the technical skills (certifications, aptitudes) to build up their soft skills. The technical team has to work with our marketing team, our account management team and our creative team and I think we spend most of our time onboarding talking about soft skills. And, interestingly enough, through StrengthsFinder, many of the strengths they have – obviously have high analytic and high achievement – but, they also have high degree of creativity (in problem-solving) and communications. So, we spend a lot of time talking about communication, how to better do that, how to interact well with other people and their strengths.


What are some obstacles to building a strong team?

It’s a few things:

  1. People often underestimate the time it takes to get to a high-performing team. It takes time to get to know and understand your team members, both in and out of the office. One of the things we try to do is have each new member, when they start with the company, meet with everyone in the company to learn what they do.
  2. Make sure the company shows the importance of teamwork.


What resources do you use to do your job well?

I have several, including:

StrengthsFinder 2.0 – I really believe in the world of professional services, and understanding your strengths is very important to the success of any team

Harvard Business Review – they have a lot of info about organizational development, which is pretty theoretical, but it gives you good context

The Arbinger Institute – a great resource for people who aspire to be managers

DISC Model – a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston; helps with interpersonal communications


Listen to a recording of the webinar here. We hope, through this webinar, you receive actionable team-building strategies that you can implement in your next project!









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