“All of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” – 1 Peter 3:8

Teamwork Dynamics, Inc. is an example of an entity which promotes “Ten Critical Success Factors of Teamwork”. The following six critical success factors must be in place before any group begins to function as a leadership team: (1) a supportive sponsor who selects a leader, agrees on a mission for the organisation and chooses a team to carry out the needed actions; (2) a focus on stakeholder outcomes, a shared understanding of the leadership team’s stakeholders, their expectations of the team, and the team values; (3) smart (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific) objectives should be established; (4) committed leadership, focusing the members of the team on the mission, purpose, and objectives of the team; (5) mutual trust is the most important element of a successful team; and (6) engaged leadership team members who are actively engaged in the work and focus of the team.

Coupled with these six are another four critical success factors which will ensure the leadership team carries out the actions necessary to reach their designated objectives: (7) collaboration to set direction and solve problems; (8) obtaining individual commitments; (9) discipline of personal accountability; and (10) identification and removal of barriers.

I have been charged with the responsibility of team building at many stages of my professional career and can attest to the importance of the above 10 critical success factors.

In Trinidad, last week, I delivered the guest lecture at the launch of the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp 2014 mounted by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in partnership with the National Entrepreneurship Development Company (NEDCO) and the Entrepreneurial Training Institute and Incubation Centre (ETIIC). The boot camp was attended by upwards of 50 entrepreneurs in the making or existing entrepreneurs who were made up of recent university graduates and final year undergraduates. It was designed to assist persons in developing an entrepreneurial skill-set and to translate learning into innovative businesses.

Later in the week, I had the opportunity to lead a team building exercise for the National Integrated Business Incubator System (IBIS), managed by NEDCO, which has a mandate to develop incubation services in Trinidad and Tobago.

My message on both occasions was:

1) “When Trinidad and Tobago wins, we all win”.

2) This can be achieved through a national focus on developing a family of successful high performance enterprises, one enterprise after another.

3) The country is depending on enterprises like theirs.

I also emphasized that whenever I have asked successful entrepreneurs about the reasons for their success, in addition to team building they have also added “Location, Location, Location (real or virtual)”; “Sales, Sales, Sales”; or “Hard work, Hard work, Hard work”.

The teamwork exhibited by UWI, NEDCO, ETIIC and IBIS will lead to success.

I have also observed over the years that camaraderie fuels teamwork. This was exemplified three weeks ago when this same group mounted a family and fun day at the beautiful environs of La Vega Estate which is a unique combination of a garden centre, plant nursery, nature and recreation park in Trinidad and Tobago. Then last Friday there was the concept of Christmas in July therein making another contribution to building the spirit of camaraderie among the team at the NEDCO head office in Port of Spain.

All this came after the wonderful experience of camaraderie from the Caribbean team which visited Kenya recently for the conference on “Revolutionizing finance for agri-value chains” which I shared in my last column.

Here are some responses which I received from last week’s column:

(1) “Thanks so much I love this article and will share it with the leadership team of my company.”

(2) “Nice article this! Totally agree with you, our over management is our greatest downfall…what a damning colonial legacy.”

(3) “Thank you Basil for a very interesting and helpful article. I believe that your message relates to all the development issues facing the region. Let us hope that as a region we continue to work together to enhance sustainable development.”

(4) “Very stimulating ideas, indeed! Thanks again.”

(5) Hi, Basil.  I have been to Kenya 10 times. Almost started a high-end wildlife safari business. Glad I didn’t. Did you see how agriculture is done in Kenya? There are significant factors for success in agriculture that you can see there that we could adapt here.”

(6) “I am very pleased that you keep me on your mailing list and I enjoy reading your column. I am also pleased that you dedicated time in your last column to address issues related to the agricultural sector and the recent Call to Action at the Nairobi Conference. I gather from your report that there was some new thinking and some new ideas for the development of the sector in the region and I personally would like to congratulate all those who continue, in the face of enormous challenges, to champion the cause for concerted action to revitalize the Caribbean agricultural sector. In my view one dimension is missing – Political will and leadership. Maybe the next step would be a strategy to get buy-in for the proposals from this constituency.”

(7) “It was a great pleasure having you as part of the team and the opportunity to re-establish contact. Great article, not only captures the theme and the facts but the mood and the emotions of the conference.”

Let us build on teamwork, deepen our experiences of life, and draw on camaraderie to take our companies, communities, cities and countries forward. Yes, we can!

Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.