If you’re like me, you spent a few extra dollars this past weekend on a movie and some popcorn.  Okay, maybe not a few extra dollars…a LOT of extra dollars.  (Don’t get me started on the price of movies these days.)  Anyway, my family and I joined millions of others this weekend to watch a group of superheroes join forces to defeat some bad guy named Loki (the adoptive brother and archenemy of Thor.)  The movie was totally worth the money and as your movie critic; I give it a two-thumbs up rating!

The Avengers are a team of hand selected heroes, each with unique skill sets (or super powers) and have been pulled together for a distinct purpose or mission.  They may not all get along or have the same personalities, but they try together and they fail together.  The team quickly figures out what they need, they play to strengths, and they lend support when needed to ultimately complete their task.

As I thought about the movie, I realized our teams at work are not so different from the superheroes we watch on the big screen.  We are united by common goals and work to achieve success, supporting each other along the way.  Sometimes our teams look like the “Justice League” moving along with break-neck speed to meet deadlines.  Other times, we find ourselves on a team that resembles the “Bad News Bears.”

As HR professionals, how can we help support the creation of successful, collaborative teams?  A few things come to mind:

-Define the task and scope of the project.  Have a goal in mind and measurable steps/actions to achieve the goal.

-Select the right team members.  Don’t just choose the colleagues you eat with every day.  Determine skill sets needed and start looking around your office.

-Establish a set of fundamental standards: individual commitment, motivation, and self-esteem.

-Create an environment where the team can succeed.  Provide time to accomplish the task.  Ensure team autonomy and encourage all to take accountability of task completion.

-The company culture should support team decision making and allow for some mitigated risk.  No risk, no reward.

-Leaders must require the team to exert pressure on itself to constantly monitor its performance against goal achievement and to adjust their team processes when warranted.

So, as you start creating teams, remember “The Avengers.”  You want each member to play a role in accomplishing the task.  Find the right fit.  Costumes optional.