Most small businesses utilize teams in the workplace, formally or informally. Whether it is two employees collaborating in order to solve a customer’s problem or a group of five tasked with redesigning a product line, teamwork plays a major role on a daily basis in many businesses.

Over my years in business, I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of business owners. I’ve met their employees, spent time in their offices, and watched their teams at work. And as I have told you before, I am often struck by the difference in effectiveness of teams in different organizations. Many of my clients have phenomenal teams that produce consistent results. Others have teams that are barely even functional.

The impact that top-notch teams can have on the profitability of your business can’t be overstated. Similarly, the negative effect that underperforming teams have on morale, productivity, and ultimately profitability is substantial.

Today, I’m going to share three tips to help you create stronger teams. Each of them has been tried and tested in the real world, and, if properly implemented, will make a real difference in your workplace.

1) Define expectations and create accountability. Perhaps the biggest problem plaguing many teams is a lack of clear expectations and accountability. Each team member should know exactly what is expected, when it is expected by, and how it is to be done.

2) Promote trust in team members. If your team can’t trust one another to do their job, everything falls apart. One way to create this trust is to encourage members to socialize with each other after work by holding monthly staff events. It’s easier to trust someone when you have a personal bond with them. But by itself, this approach isn’t enough. You also need to demand performance. If a team member is consistently “dropping the ball”, he/she needs to be retrained or removed. If you force your team members to work with an individual who continues to fail at their job, they’ll never develop the trust they need to be effective as a team.

3) Encourage communication. Whether it is communication with you or communication with each other, your teams must be open communicators if they are to be effective. Problems should be quickly brought to everyone’s attention, and solutions communicated just as quickly. Team members must quickly be made aware of changing expectations and requirements. A team that fails to communicate is not a team, it’s simply a group of individuals.

Effective teams are one of the most important elements of world-class businesses. Put these three tips into practice and you’ll see an improvement.