How to Create a Powerful Team CultureSuccessful companies place a high priority on building an extraordinary team culture.

They understand that gathering together a group of talented individuals and offering them the chance to merge their talents often results in a burst of energy and creativity from which great new ideas arise.

Peter Economy, author of Managing for Dummies and a contributor to Inc., offers five tips on building a team culture that vastly improves employee performance, loyalty and engagement.

Make the Organization Team-Oriented

Teamwork should be a core company value, Economy notes, with “a clear emphasis on self-managing teams that are empowered to make their own decisions.”

Rather than talk at length about the value of teamwork, leaders can demonstrate their commitment “by giving teams the authority to get their jobs done on their own terms”—while of course demanding that they accept responsibility for the results.

Assign Team Goals

To get the most from your team culture and your teams, give them significant projects to tackle, “not just planning for next summer’s annual company picnic.” Economy suggests bringing in a team when new trends emerge in the market or when the time comes “to see things through new eyes.”

Avoid having the same people in the same groups every time. Mix up the teams, encouraging them to question the status quo. “This will help keep your company fresh and ahead of the game.”

Encourage Team Culture Via Formation of Informal Teams

Economy contends that “more work in organizations is accomplished through informal teams than formal ones.” Enable these teams to spring up as opportunities present themselves. Your company will become more efficient “when your employees are able to tackle concerns themselves, without elevating every little decision to top management.”

Cross-Train Employees

Employees who understand the way different areas work “are more apt to make decisions that benefit the company as a whole,” not just their own group or department. Encourage employees to learn about other people’s jobs, even allowing them to switch roles from time to time.

The same principle holds true for managers. “Have top executives spend a few days working on the front lines with customers or directly with your product,” Economy advises. That way, they’ll have a much keener appreciation for the challenges employees experience on a daily basis.

Give Teams the Resources They Need

No team culture can succeed without the right resources. Give your teams the best technology to achieve their objectives. Also designate a place where they can meet on a regular basis, since “nothing much can be achieved in an over-crowded lunch room.” Finally, give employees an appropriate budget when required, “and the permission - and guidance - to spend it as they see best for the company.”

A team culture where employees bond together to make connections and generate new ideas results in benefits for both your business and your customers.