How To Build A Corporate Team Step-By-Step

Sometimes it’s not clear how cross-team projects should be launched, function and proceed.

Follow these simple guidelines for accomplishing as a group what individuals on your team could not accomplish alone.

First, set up your basic parameters: a goal for the next meeting; roles; and type of discussion (e.g., brainstorming vs. goal setting). Be sure to include any earlier discussion points and agreements.

Then use the following framing questions. First ask:

  • Where are we so far?
  • Can we report the status of the project’s main elements, listing and including everything we know?
  • What do we want to achieve at this meeting, specifically?

At the next meeting, ask:

  • What is the best way to reach and/or exceed our goal for this meeting?
  • Should we brainstorm or share what we’ve learned and  what we’ve prepared?
  • How should we best think this through as a group, inclusive of everyone’s input?
  • Let’s throw out a few options and work out how to move the needle forward?

Finally, make assignments and tap the energy of the group.

  • what are our “Action Items” moving forward?
  • Who is the best person to focus on each particular “Action Item”?
  • How do we make this happen?
  • What’s our deadline? (This is essential in order to avoid a myopic approach to task assignments)
  • Next Steps?

Learn more Here!

Deciding On The Dream

We hear a lot about passion and the pursuit of a “Dream” as ones life work because it is common and it makes for great stories, but there is a lot more to realizing your “Dream” than just coming up with an awesome idea of achievement.

Let’s take a moment to approach the subject matter from a logical perspective.

Step 1

Sit down with someone who you respect and trust. Using your brainstorming facilitator of choice – a whiteboard, sticky notes, plenty of water and snacks – list every aspect of what it will take to pursue and realize your “Dream”. Do not exclude any challenge, negative drawbacks in the form of systems and people, but do challenge each other, elaborate, modify and gauge just how far you will have to go from your current reality to achieve your “Dream”.

Step 2

Consider what is important to you pursuing your “Dream” and how you intend to personalize the “Dream” and make it your own. Some of what is important to you may sound common as it relates to the pursuit of normal goals, and others may be unique beyond what is common. Your answers may be somewhat revealing once you take a look at what you have documented, like “Family will think that I am crazy if I do this.” But it’s important that the list reflects everything that you may be subject to in realizing your “Dream”.

Remember, “virtue and discipline” is an universal attribute in most people – the exercise is intended to determine the price you are willing to pay to realize the “Dream.”

Step 3

Now the fun starts. Now you actually have to do something – Document your “Dream” with a specific timeline and sign your name to it.

Next comes what I call your “Rubicon Moment”. Similar to Alexander The Great, you will have to marshal every ounce of substance that you have to make a bold and emphatic statement about what you intend to accomplish by realizing your “Dream”. Now you will be held accountable for your commitment by others outside of yourself.

All of this means that you’re in for a great journey. You can resolve these matters any way that you choose to approach them, but there’s one crucial rule: you cannot move to step 4 and communicate with others about “Sharing The Vision” until you have resolved yourself to the fact that “Failure Is Not An Option”. Just as Alexander The Great stated in his speech to his troops after burning the bridge after they had crossed the Rubicon into enemy territory, ” We will either die here, or this will be the greatest victory of war in history here.” As we know from historical accounts, the Macedonians made war history in one of the greatest war victories known to man. They were outnumbered almost 12:1 in that campaign.

Step 4

You’re nearly there. Now you have to identify your leadership. As is often quoted, “If you consider yourself a leader and there is no one following you, you are merely taking a walk.”

Be sure to set forth that your most sincere interest in those who join you in pursuit of the “Dream” that you have will allow them to fulfill their own dreams, hopes and wishes along they way. That they will be a part of something greater than themselves and most importantly that their core values and beliefs will be honored every step along the way.

Lastly, if you want your “Dream” to endure, begin now mentoring, preparing and training your replacement. Many a legacy has died, because the visionary dream-builder died; and there was no one to carry the “Dream” forward into future generations. Moreover, care more for those who are supporting the “Dream” than you do for your own interest.

Step 5

Plan And Strategizebuild-your-own-dream-social-media-post

This is where “passion” comes in. Omeletto the young African American poet states that it wasn’t that Dr. King had a Dream, “The Dream Had Him” [Omeletto Regrets:]. Will your “Dream” have you? Will it inspire you to drive yourself to new heights each and every day? Will it keep you up at night even when you are mentally and physically exhausted because you can’t sleep until the next milestone is reached?

In closing, I dare you to “Dream”. Even more, I dare you to pursue your “Dream”. Your playing small will not serve the world or the community you live in. There’s nothing enlightening about denying your “Dream” and shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.



Leadership = The Balance Of Advocating Vs. Inquiring

In almost every organization, people have a viewpoint to express. It is important to be able to express their viewpoint in a context which allows you to learn more about others’ views while they learn more about yours.

In todays “Blog”, we will discuss and set forth the need to learn how to skillfully balance the aspects of advocacy with inquiry.

People love their opinions, which is why it is most difficult to master the skillset of balanced advocacy with inquiring. The ultimate benefit to the organization comes when the more creative and insightful realizations occur when multiple people combine multiple perspectives.

There are more than a dozen distinct combinations of varying levels of advocacy and inquiry, each having its own impact. Moreover, there are dysfunctional forms of advocacy and inquiry. For example, in every organization, smart people can jade the advocacy process by what may appear to be an “inquisition” if the person advocating simply dictates their point of view, while refusing to make their reasoning process visible. They can tend to be unwilling to expose their thinking and may even “withdraw” into silence mode, instead of taking the opportunity to learn through observation.

Even when others ask them to cooperate for the sake of the team, they move from silence to “telling” mode in the form of statements like, “Here’s what I say, and never mind why. I’ve read the book. Trust me. I know what I am doing.” This is a dysfunctional approach.

Inquiry on the other hand can be equally as sensitive and difficult to master as a skillset of balanced advocacy with inquiring.

It is said that each of us as human beings have a natural predilection towards inquiry. Specifically so in that men are more rewarded for their advocacy attributes, and women more for their inquiry attributes. For example in the career disciplines, men are more prevalent in debate and law advocacy, whereas women are more prevalent in the journalism and social work career disciplines.

Successful “inquiry” skillsets lend itself to two signal inquiries:

  1. Clarifying – “What is the question we are trying to answer here?
  2. Interviewing – “Exploring others point of view, and the reasons behind them.


In closing, the necessity of mastering the above noted skillsets of advocacy and inquiry is tantamount to the success of any leader. It is literally a recipe for success or disaster in terms of the culture of your organization.

You can note the culture and growth of any organization and immediately hypothesize that a proper balance of advocacy and inquiry exists.

Who Is Antoine Smith – Why Should I Read His Blog?

Antoine Smith is Chairman & CEO of Smith Gruppe. Antoine is an integral part of the Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Greensboro, NC and Piedmont Triad business communities.

He has successfully built and managed many successful business models,  and coached several executives and entrepreneurs along the path of personal and professional development.

Antoine serves his clients well through his exceptional abilities in team building, education, and training. He is focused on providing corporate level  business advisory and consulting services designed specifically for small to medium sized businesses. Access To Capital is an imperative when it comes to business sustainability, and Smith Gruppe delivers Access To Capital as well.

Antoine also  tours and speaks to many business and trade associations in order to educate them on how to increase top line growth. His company is also an active participant in the private capital markets, and invests as a private equity player in portfolio companies. He is also a Certified Educator/Facilitator in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.