Archive for category Team Building
More and more, people are now aware that the team you surround yourself with is a big deal if you want to have results. Yet, building such a great team is not just that easy. It takes time to find the right people, it takes time to train them, and more important, it takes leadership and skills to keep them. All these for one reason: good people know that they are good and they will not hesitate to leave your boat if they have the feeling that you don’t have what it takes to make the group excel.
The legendary consultant and author on management, Peter Drucker, says this about teamwork:
“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.”
They don’t think “I.” They think “we;” they think “team.”
They understand their job to be to make the team function.
They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit…This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”
I personally have the feeling that what is missing to lot of suffering organizations today is that sense of leadership. Most of the decision-makers act as managers. We lead people and manage things. With that said, managers are not responsible for taking the organization where it ought to be, leaders are…and the #1 pillar to be applied in teamwork or in building great teams is to follow Peter Drucker recommendation and use the “We” versus the “I” or the “you”. It’s not you have to increase your sales, but “WE” have to find out how to increase sales. It’s not “I” made it work out, but “WE” did it.
I recently stumbled upon this excerpt from Pulling Together…The 10 Rules For High Performance Teams by John Murphy. I let you enjoy the reading of his #1 rule.
At the center of every high performance team is a common purpose – a mission that rises above and beyond each of the individual team members. To be successful, the team’s interests and needs come first. This requires “we-opic” vision (“What’s in it for we?”), a challenging step up from the common “me-opic” mind-set.
Effective team players understand that personal issues and personality differences are secondary to team demands. This does not mean abandoning who you are or giving up your individuality. On the contrary, it means sharing your unique strengths and differences to move the team forward. It is this “we-opic” focus and vision – this cooperation of collective capability – that empowers a team and generates synergy.
Cooperation means working together for mutual gain – sharing responsibility for success and failure and covering for one another on a moment’s notice. It does not mean competing with one another at the team’s expense, withholding important data or information to be “one up” on your peers, or submitting to “groupthink” by going along so as not to make waves. These are “rule breakers,” that are direct contradictions to the “team first” mind-set.
High performance teams recognize that it takes a joint effort to synergize, generating power above and beyond the collected individuals. It is with this spirit of cooperation that effective teams learn to capitalize on individual strengths and offset individual weaknesses, using diversity as an advantage.
Effective teams also understand the importance of establishing cooperative systems, structures, incentives and rewards. We get what we inspect, not what we expect. Think about it. Do you have team job descriptions, team performance reviews and team reward systems? Do you recognize people by pitting them against standards of excellence, or one another? What are you doing to cultivate a team-first, cooperative environment in this competitive, “me-opic” world?
To embrace the team-first rule, make sure your team purpose and priorities are clear. What is your overall mission? What is your game plan? What is expected of each team member? How can each member contribute most effectively? What constants will hold the team together? Then stop and ask yourself, are you putting the team first?
More and more, companies understand that the most important people of their business is not just their customers or clients but their own employees. If in the past, it was true to say “Customer is King”, today we say “Great people develop great companies.” Matter of fact, it cost more money to a company to replace an employee than it cost to look for another client. Yet we should acknowledge, it takes more than a good paycheck to attract, build, and more important to keep a great team of accountable and reliable people. Could personal professional relationship be a solution?
I’ve been involved in sales, team building and management for more than 7 seven years now, attended dozens of seminars about team building, and professional development relationships, and read lot of different books from various author like John C. Maxwell, Tom Hopkins, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard… All my professional experiences, readings and research make me to believe that personal professional relationships with every single key player of your team is at the heart of any team building and team work success.
How can personal professional relationships help you build a team?
When building up a team as a sales manager, business owner, or recruiter, you are selling ideas, your company’s ideas, your
company’s vision and your goal is to have nothing but the best people in your team. Yet, what I found out or let’s say noticed, thanks to my experiences is that only good people will help you to find good people to add in the team. So basically, the question is more about how relationships come into play to help find the good people. The best recruitment I’ve ever when working with the Southwestern Company between France and the US were the non-formal ones: the recommendations. The truth about recommendation is that no matter what it is for, you will not get a great recommendation from someone who dislike you or what you are representing. When you manage to have a great relationships with people of your network and they consider you as legit in what you do, they will be more than welcome to help you find the right people you need in your team. Matter of fact, most of the time you won’t even have to ask them, they will propose you their help and because of that mutual respect, they will let you access their address book. Referral services work the same way. Remember I said only good people will bring in good people? Well the same way only big buyers will refer big buyers. So whether is for team building or getting great profitable referrals, the key strategy and habit to cultivate is to manage and to qualify anyone of your contact list and have a professional and personal relationship with each of them.
One question that might come to your mind right now can be: so what if I have no relevant contact to start with, how do I build my team then. Well, if that’s is your question, I’d say you might want to go ahead and do what we call at the Southwestern Consulting: the everywhere you go approach. This technique basically states that you should introduce yourself and what you do to everyone you meet and talk to and see if they’d like to hear more about it. That technique is such a powerful tool of team building and relationship establishment in the sense that where you meet with the person can be anywhere (restaurant, in the bus or subway, at church, at a party) and makes then the place neutral which facilitates the conversation. Also, because the place is neutral and the conversation wasn’t anything schedule, there is no pressure when you introduce the subject, and at the end even if the person doesn’t jump in the boat, if you’ve established a great connection with the person, then he/she can be your doorway to have more numbers to call as referrals. Check out in the archive for some of my previous articles for tips and techniques on how to approach a person you don’t know yet, how to make the persona feel comfortable talking and more.
How can personal professional relationships help you push the team to perform?
Now, it’s not enough to build the best team, you have to work with the team, help the team to be successful, and help the team to grow. How you do that is by having a personal professional relationship with each one of your team if it’s a small team otherwise each one of the team key players.
What do I mean by personal professional relationship? By personal professional relationships, I mean showing genuine interest to the life of your team players. Today, we know money does not motivate enough, what motivates is the support, the help, the feeling of “I am here with you” that the team leader shares with each one of the team. There is a little trick here: you don’t want to be or even to sound fake when you talk to people because sooner or later, it will start to show up. Showing genuine interest to your people shouldn’t be a homework but a sign that you do really care.
How do you build personal professional relationships with people?
- Start by putting in your close network or team only the people you trust and that can strongly believe you can easily work with.
- Tell people right at the beginning what is it like to work with you or to be part of your team. Tell them what they should expect and not expect from you.
- Ask them in return, still right at the beginning, how is that they’d like to be treated. This works whether is a social relationship or a business relationship and the good thing behind it is that it avoids the pain bad assumption could have put on the table.
- Do personal conferences. I set up my first personal conference with a team player when I was Organizational Leader at the Southwestern Company. One of the good point behind this one-on-one conference is that it’s not made to criticize or to blame but to help the two people talk freely about how they can help each other for better result. Even more, they can talk about real emotional and meaningful goals that will unlock their true potential. It’s at those personal conferences that you discover your teammate need to make money because his relative is fighting cancer and he/she needs to provide with the medicine, or you find out that he/she is going through a divorce and that’s why he/she had an attitude issue the whole week. Because these kind of sharing create strong relationships based on trust, I definitely recommend any manager, leader, or recruiter to have at least one personal conference per month with each key player.
- Listen, remember, appreciate, and be available. You probably know they saying: “people don’t care how much you know until
they know how much you care.” Well, caring is listening; caring is to remember; caring is to appreciate; to care is to be available. If you understand that your team players represent your most important investment then you know you should care about them the same way you’d care about your biggest client: know what’s going on in their family, know their birthday, know their life goals and help them to achieve them, motivate and inspire them to greatness.
When I first entered the Coaching industry, I was essentially in the sales training but then I understood not only how relationships matter but also I started to notice mistakes people from all industries do everyday and hurt their career and life goals. That’s why I entered that niche market as a Relationship Strategist: to help people reach their goals by bettering their understanding of human relationships.
In this particular issue of team building and relationships my goal was simply to light you up on some proven tips and techniques and I read about, that I learned and experienced through my previous professional experiences, and that I apply everyday to make my business grow. I guarantee you, if you apply them, not only will you build a great team of accountable and reliable people, but also you will have a team of people who will stand for you and will do the impossible for you and the ideas you stand for.
Hit me up if you need additional advice and till then, remember: it takes leadership to master relationships.
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