How to Build a Team from Scratch

Building a team is one of a leader’s many joys. You put in the effort to shape them as they grow then get to watch them with pride as they use their skills to surmount tasks and achieve progress. Very few things compare to the satisfaction of seeing your team take on challenges and deliver results, the only problem is, where do you start?  Well then here are the 5 steps to successfully build a team from scratch!


Managers are often focused on building teams of like-minded people. This fails to rock the boat. To be revolutionary, build a diverse team whose commonality is purely to reach the end goal. Instead of creating a clique, they will disrupt the norm.

  • Diane Rinella – Executive Assistant & USA Today Bestselling Author

The formation phase is your most crucial phase. Here, you turn a group of unassuming individuals into a bundled collective. This comes in two steps; acquaint your members with each other, and then acquaint your team with their purpose. Assemble your group in an informal and fun environment where they can get to know each other. Have a few drinks, a few laughs, and a whole lot of staring off into the distance imagining what is to become. Interpersonal connections now will enable fluid professional interactions later.

Once team members get a chance to be comfortable around one another, it’s a good time to set expectations for them as a team. Here, you can outline the team’s goals and frameworks of operation, giving them their first sense of responsibility by encouraging participation in the discussion. At the end of the day, team members should have a clear understanding of the project, individual roles, and their ultimate purpose.


The next step is to explore the team dynamic. In any assembly of people, there will be innate friction, and it is important to let it play out at its fullest at this stage. This is the team’s opportunity to learn about what creates tension in the team and how to turn the different points of view into productive conversations.

A high-performing team encourages different ideas and opinions. Through the storming process, the team will learn how to consolidate those differences in a respectful way and produce the best solutions. This also paves a path for the team to develop problem-solving frameworks that set the tone for how your team collaborates in the long run.


By now you’ve figured out everyone’s pep peeves,  trigger points, and how to avoid them. You’ve developed the skill to cool things down when things start to get heated. And you now also recognize when the team is having a productive conflict, or how to steer in that direction if they are not.

Welcome to the norming stage. In this stage, you’ve identified a best practice that works with your team and can begin to form ground rules that help everyone become accountable. Your team’s revving their engines and you’ve set them up for success! You can’t hold their hand to the finish line, but you can ensure there’s gas in the tank.


If you’ve made it this far, you’ll see that your team is independent, and while it’s bitter-sweet, you knew it was the goal all along. Ideally, your team should be functioning as a composite whole. So, while it’s still important for you to be a leader, you don’t need to micro-manage. You’re not in the car with them, but you’re not in the bleachers either. You are their champion. ready at the pit stop whenever they need you. Cheering them on from the front or the rear, or where ever you like really.


The final phase of the team development process is to assess the mettle of your team. Have they become the dream team that you’ve always known they would or is it a case of burn and start over? (Just kidding) Set up regular retrospectives at natural milestones for your team, to be honest with itself and identify opportunities to improve. How did the team perform compared to itself last quarter? How does your team measure up to other similar teams in your organization?

What’s next?
Looking for a fun way to challenge your team in unexpected ways? Don’t be shy and join the ranks of top Silicon Valley companies! Bring your team down to Reason for a team building adventure and test their chops out in futuristic Sci-Fi escape rooms!