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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. To help your team succeed, here are the seven key characteristics of effective team building!

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 work group, 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, the norm for teams, individuals, and organizations in general is one of ongoing change. The challenge for a team existing today is to be able to quickly adapt and respond to changing conditions while continuing to perform effectively.

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 have 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 help team members understand, agree on, and accept their individual roles. With clarity, teams will find it easier to make decisions and work together. 


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. 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.


Before a team can achieve a collective goal, individuals must be able to work independently as well as team members. 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.


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


Teams must employ all available technologies to be connected, informed, and coordinated. High-performing teams have an open communication structure that enables all members to participate. Open, honest dialogues lead to better choices and decisions.

Continuous Improvement

Teams oriented towards 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. 


When an organization encourages creativity, team members can solve problems more effectively. To foster creativity, organizations must create an environment that supports risk-taking, encourages diversity of membership, and tolerates ambiguity. Creativeness allows a team to solve problems by thinking outside the box.

Effectiveness of the Seven C's

The Seven C's are extremely effective. 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 creates a very effective, highly-functioning team. They are critical for the team's success, and developing each of these skills is essential. The team 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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