Business is a Team Sport

cnYou’ve read it many times before:  Successful companies are built by great teams who create strong cultures of excellence.  But if teamwork is so important then why are there so many average and dysfunctional teams?

Great teams don’t just happen.  They are built on strengthening relationships between team members – one day, one interaction at a time.

The bad news is there are 100s of negative forces that sabotage team health – like egos, politics, power struggles, lack of vision or poor leadership.  The good news is that it’s entirely possible to overcome these forces.

What follows are four “Team Busters” that can sabotage building a great organization. Each is followed by a team-building remedy, or “Team Rx,” to build a united, winning team with synergy that produces a combined effect far greater than any sum of individuals!

Four Team Busters

1.  Low Trust Levels. The fact is, without trust we can’t have good relationships and without good relationships we can’t have a successful team.  Great teams are marked by relationships built on a foundation of trust.

Trust is built when we care about our team’s interests as much or more than our own agendas.  Put another way, if a team member knows we’re out for ourselves, an internal alarm sounds off and trust is destroyed.  Although it takes more than one person to make a team, it only takes one person to break a team!

Team Rx:  In meetings, value diverse points of view, creating an environment where it’s safe to be open, honest and vulnerable.  Make sure that all ideas are welcome – without any sarcastic remarks or negative repercussions down the line.

2.  Poor communication.  Where there is poor communication, negativity fills the void.  Great teams require strong relationships, and strong relationships aren’t possible without great communication.  Frequent, honest and open communications, both individually and collectively, improves team cohesion.

Team Rx:  Improve the quality AND quantity of communication.  Schedule regular one-on-one meetings rather than only relying on team meetings or emails for all communications.  Remember, communication is a 2-way street.  Listen more, talk less, and ask more questions to improve the balance.

3.  Low Commitment.  Strong communication builds trust, which in turn fosters commitment, teamwork and results.  Great teams are not only committed to doing great work, they are also committed to each other.  They put the team first and are willing to serve and sacrifice for the benefit of the team.  When we work hard to be a great team member we make everyone around us better.

Team Rx:  Start putting the team first.  Become more selfless – and less selfish.  Work as hard at being a great team member as advancing any particular personal agenda.

4.  Lack of Caring.  One of the greatest success strategies of all is simply caring.  Those who care build great things that others care about.  Great teams care a little more – about the work, customers, team members and the mission of the team. When team members have support and encouragement, they are able to stretch themselves and reach farther than they ever thought possible.

Team Rx:  Think about who you are and how you can show you care.  Decide how you want to make a difference and go the extra mile.  Always do the right thing.  We trust those who live, walk and work with integrity.  Do what you say.  Failing to do what we say sends a message that we don’t care, eroding trust and destroying teamwork.

Take the Rx Challenge!

Is your team working together merely to share information and make decisions so that each member can achieve his or her individual work goals?  That’s not the definition of a team.

When implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), having a healthy, functional, cohesive Leadership Team is the foundation for success of the entire program.  Great teams accomplish more together than they can on their own.  And, their energy is contagious – spreading throughout the organization and boosting the odds of success for any initiative!

So what action are you going to take this week to build a winning team?  Take the Rx challenge and build a great team!




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