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Seven Characteristics of Effective Team Building - HRDQ

Seven Characteristics of Effective Team Building

In business, as in most human endeavors, the best teams win. Elevating your team towards success necessitates a strategic focus on cultivating key attributes fundamental to effective team building. Herein lies a roadmap comprised of seven indispensable characteristics, each serving as a cornerstone in the construction of a formidable and triumphant team.

Recommended Training
Tall Ships
  • Practice the "Seven C's"
  • Improve team performance
  • Apply actions to real-life situations
Learn more

The Seven C’s of effective team performance

An effective team has certain characteristics. In business, as in most human endeavors, the best teams win. A workgroup, business unit, or organization that functions as an effective team will always outperform one that doesn’t. But what factors need to be present for “great teamwork” to exist, and how do you go about building effective teams?

Teams that exist within unstable, unpredictable work environments cannot be controlled or managed. Unfortunately, perpetual change has become the standard for teams, individuals, and organizations at large, shaping an environment characterized by flux and uncertainty. The challenge for a team existing today is to be able to quickly adapt and respond to changing conditions, all while maintaining peak performance and efficacy.

Studies point to seven key performance areas, called the “Seven C’s,” that separate high-performing teams from the rest. Each of these seven C's has a uniquely important role in building effective teams. Focusing on improvement in these areas will increase overall team effectiveness.

The 'Seven C’s'


Clarity of purpose focuses a team on what to accomplish and how it fits within an organization’s larger priorities. Clarity of roles and responsibilities helps team members understand, agree on, and accept their individual roles. With clarity, teams are empowered to navigate complexities with confidence, facilitating streamlined decision-making processes and fostering seamless collaboration toward common goals.

As a team leader, it’s important that you clearly define team goals, objectives, and expectations so everyone is on the same page and knows what they are each working toward. This eliminates any confusion that derails the team or slows people down in their roles. It’s also important to provide regular feedback to keep everyone on track, and, of course, allow people to ask questions so any ambiguity or confusion can be promptly resolved.


The core of team performance is developing a team that balances between members who already possess necessary skills with those who still need skill development. This intricate balance within the team's skill set determines how individuals should apply their skills to the work. Work should be assigned based on the right person with the best capability to handle it.

Conducting regular skill assessments is crucial when it comes to understanding the capabilities of others. Assessments show what current skills a team member has so they can be assigned the right tasks, but assessments also show what skills can be improved upon. This creates a culture of learning and growth where everyone works on their skills.


Before a team can achieve a collective goal, individuals must be able to work independently as well as with team members. Extensive research confirms that the most effective teams are collaborative; it’s what enables the synergy required for teams to achieve their goals and forms the basis for problem-solving, decision-making, and change management.

Collaboration is at the core of every great team. It’s important to set clear channels of good communication so that collaborating is an easier process. It’s also important that trust has been established so everyone feels open to sharing their ideas.


Commitment is really two factors: accountability and trust. Without these two factors, teams cannot succeed. Commitment motivates, strengthens, and prepares teams to face tough challenges. A committed team is a force to be reckoned with because when a team is committed, it is more likely to deliver the best results.

Set clear expectations for commitment to team goals and objectives. Fostering a sense of ownership and accountability among team members also creates commitment because the members are invested in their projects. If issues of commitment arise, it’s important to address them before a larger problem occurs.


In today's fast-paced landscape, teams must harness the full spectrum of available technologies to foster connectivity, facilitate informed decision-making, and create cohesion. High-performing teams have an open communication structure that enables all members to participate. Through open, honest dialogues, collaboration is cultivated, leading to more informed choices and decisions, thus propelling the team toward unparalleled success.

Effective communication is crucial in today’s business world. Establish open communication channels where people can communicate freely and have a constructive dialogue. In this, remove any barriers or resolve conflicts promptly so communication isn’t hindered.

Continuous Improvement

Teams oriented toward continuous improvement are better able to face new challenges with skill and confidence. High-performing teams are not only committed to individual performance but are more likely to evaluate performance, evolve team processes, and improve interpersonal dynamics. Through this process of introspection and adaptation, these teams cultivate a culture of excellence and ensure that they stay at the forefront of change.

Good teams are always seeking to improve. Encourage team members to identify areas for improvement, and give them the freedom to propose solutions. Establish processes to evaluate and implement changes as needed, and celebrate successes as they come up.


When an organization encourages creativity, it unlocks the potential for team members to tackle problems more effectively. To foster creativity, organizations must create an environment that embraces risk-taking, celebrates diversity of perspectives within team membership, and embraces ambiguity as a catalyst for change. Creativity allows a team to solve problems by thinking outside the box.

As a team leader, you can encourage creativity by holding brainstorming sessions where individual members are able to bounce ideas off of each other and come together as a team to come up with solutions. In these brainstorming sessions, it’s important that you build trust so everyone feels willing to share and support each other.

Effectiveness of the Seven C's

These Seven C's are extremely effective traits among successful teams. If a team encompasses all of these traits, then it has the proper skill set to handle any challenge. These Seven C's, when used together, create a very effective, highly-functioning team. They are critical for the team's success, and developing each of these skills is essential. As team leaders and teams seek to improve and meet the challenges of today, they should explore ways to improve team performance and focus on how each of the seven C's fit together to create success.

Practice the Seven C's

Tall Ships, a training game by HRDQ, allows participants to practice the seven C's. In this game, the Seven Seas Company has asked your teams to bid on a contract for designing and building a tall ship. But in order for a team to win, they must first demonstrate that embody the "Seven C's."

Three game rounds reveal the team dynamics that impact team effectiveness. In Round 1, teams assemble the tallest ship mast possible in the least amount of time. Lessons learned are discussed and applied to the Seven C's model. Round 2 challenges teams to rethink their strategy and build a taller mast in the same amount of time, but at the lowest cost. Following a performance assessment and debrief, teams assemble the mast according to new specifications. An action-planning phase follows teams with an opportunity to improve their performance.

Participants will be able to learn and practice the seven factors critical to effective teamwork, explore strategies to improve team performance, and identify and apply actions to real-life team situations.

More Team Building Training Activities

HRDQ offers a wide range of team-building training activities to help participants learn how to surface, diagnose, and work through the issues that impede effective teamwork.

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.