Aug 30, 2017
Building Your Team
Teams are fluid. People move or leave and new people join. Targets go up every year. The compliance and regulatory requirements become more stringent, the market pivots and bites you, currency fluctuations take you from hero to zero in short order. Head office is always annoying. There are so many aspects of business which line up against having a strong sense of team. We can’t be complacent if we have built a strong team and we have to get to work, if we are in the process of team building.
Sports teams are always high profile and successful sports coaches are lauded for their ability to produce results, especially when they are always dealing with tremendous fluctuations in the make up of the team. Vince Lombardi is one of those much heralded coaches and he noted: “Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity”.
Sterling stuff, but how do you do that? Vince had access to some of the most highly paid and motivated team members on the planet, but what about the rest of us? We often haven’t chosen the team. We have inherited someone else’s criteria and selection model. People come to us from different companies or different sections and so how do we address the issue of establishing a common purpose?
We need to make sure each individual has a clear sense of the reason the team exists, their individual role and the importance of their role to the team effort. If you suddenly asked your team members about the reason the team exists, you might be dumbfounded to receive so many disparate answers. We assume everyone knows and that we all in sync, but we should check. And we should do it regularly, as the team composition changes over time and new people may not know.
Establishing an agreed set of team values is an important glue to hold the whole team together. Whenever we do this exercise for ourselves or for clients, we always get a huge range of values being nominated. This is helpful but not particularly helpful. We need to do it in two parts, starting with our personal values and then do the team values. Ideally, each individual’s values will also be part of the team values so that the ownership factor is sky high.
A team vision is the next stage and this is where many people start to weep. They are heartily sick of the word vision. So many vision consultants, articles, videos and podcasts covering this one little word. It bogs down and eventually all the fluff associated with the word, collapses under its one weight. Regardless, you still need a team vision, so get over it.
Jack Welch pointed out, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion”.
A vision is a future picture of what could be and what should be, regardless of what is today. The vision is stated in the present tense, as if we were already at the final state of development and success that we are aiming for. The visualisation is positive and optimistic and the words both powerful and specific. We need a vision to define where we want to be, in order to work out how we will get there.
Our mission is the other building block. It describes what we do and by definition, what we don’t do. Clarity around objectives and goals means counting out some shiny objects that are not core requirements for the team. The vision tends to last long, as do the core values, whereas we have to keep revisiting the mission. This is because things change and we may need to change tack and go in a different direction. In which case our mission has also flexed and we need to restate it. We do this so that everyone in the team has clarity around what we are doing and how we are doing it.
Successful teams have achieved great clarity throughout the entire organization about what the team is trying to do. This is not an accident, but the product of good leadership work to establish a base and then good ongoing work, to keep the ideas alive and relevant.
Engaged employees are self-motivated. The self-motivated are inspired. Inspired staff grow your business but are you inspiring them? We teach leaders and organisations how to inspire their people. Want to know how we do that? Contact me at email@example.com
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About The Author
Dr. Greg Story: President, Dale Carnegie Training Japan
In the course of his career Dr. Greg Story has moved from the academic world, to consulting, investments, trade representation, international diplomacy, retail banking and people development. Growing up in Brisbane, Australia he never imagined he would have a Ph.D. in Japanese decision-making and become a 30 year veteran of Japan.
A committed lifelong learner, through his published articles in the American, British and European Chamber journals, his videos and podcasts “THE Leadership Japan Series”, "THE Sales Japan series", THE Presentations Japan Series", he is a thought leader in the four critical areas for business people: leadership, communication, sales and presentations. Dr. Story is a popular keynote speaker, executive coach and trainer.
Since 1971, he has been a disciple of traditional Shitoryu Karate and is currently a 6th Dan. Bunbu Ryodo (文武両道-both pen & sword) is his mantra and he applies martial art philosophies and strategies to business.