Teamwork – there’s a hint in the name: teams work.

The sum is always greater than the parts: Teams outperform individuals hands-down. When you make teams from individuals they go from invisible to unstoppable.

Think about it: if you want something difficult done: do you walk into a random room and ask for help? No – of course not. You create a team, and if that team is truly motivated, they will be unstoppable.

So, what makes a great team?

No-one works alone: never leave anyone out.

  1. Pair an inexperienced person with an experienced member – the inexperienced once should question the ways of the “old-hand” and the experienced person gives away his experience and knowledge. This is the fastest way to get innovation based on sound principles.
  2. Team people up so that no-one is left alone in a silo of one – a pair of three is fine!
  3. Have as many pairs as you need in the team to get the job done, especially if different skill-sets will contribute to a better solution.

When the job is done mix and match the pairs so that they learn from each other as above but getting new skills from new people. This will also add cohesion to the entire team.

Vision mission and culture

This is your company DNA. Understanding and articulating your company’s “why” is fundamentally important, but the “how” behind how you and your team behave to each other and your clients becomes your organization’s culture this is what you will become known for – it becomes your brand.

Or, put another way, your company’s brand is nothing more than a reflection of your company’s culture, and that culture is a reflection of your team’s actions (In and out of work!!!) and guess where your teams’ actions come from? They come right from the top: from you. And it’s what you do, not what you say, that they will copy.

So this is under your control, so be sure to turn up early and leave a few minutes late if you are looking to embody that behaviour in in your staff. Do you talk to them at the coffee station? No – well don’t expect them to talk to you!

Caring leads to daring

If you care more about your employees than you do about the profits you make, you will see a huge change, your profits will go up! By not being selfish yourself, your employees will not be selfish either because there is no point – selfishness is only needed in a back-stabbing dog-eat-dog culture.  If instead they can focus on driving forwards, and not “covering their back” productivity will soar, by 40%, 50% sometimes more.

Caring leads to daring. Seek ways to connect with your staff, take time to understand their challenges and pressures not only during the work day but also in their personal lives. People are not robots, they notice if you genuinely care for them, and they believe it, they will care for your customers and your business. (This a variation of one of Richard Branson’s favourite sayings.)

Hire for culture first

Your vision mission and culture should be the top half of every job spec you send out. When it is read by a potential applicant they will see that you know what you want to do to make the world a better place, you show credibility that you do it (with good people), and you have a culture that is published and important.

You will get one of two reactions:

  1. “wow, that look’s tough, I don’t like the sound of that” or
  2. “wow, that just the sort of place I want to work. Now what’s the job all about?!

and that’s great because you don’t want the 1st group to even darken your door for an interview – they would fail because they don’t fit and worse than that, if they are a really bad fit, they will cause mayhem and unhappiness because a bad attitude will destroy the great culture that you have.

 The 2nd group on the other hand already want to come and work for your company even before they know the details of the job role, and the chances are, if they have some of what you need you can teach the rest. Many people have said “you can teach new skills, but you can’t change attitude”

Encourage them to try new things (and make mistakes)

Encourage them out of their comfort zone. A great team that wants to forge ahead (unstoppable) will invariably make some mistakes along the way, so remember your culture: forgive them. Then have a blame-free review so that they learn from those valuable mistakes, (knowing what went wrong, what led up to it and why it will be avoided in the future) This will lead to great teams peforming massively well.

In any team everyone needs and wants everyone else, and how you encourage those bonds to form directly impacts how well your team will succeed together.

At the top of the article I started with The sum is always greater than the parts: Teams outperform individuals hands-down: Don’t do it all yourself, have your teams want to do it, have them want to succeed because they will if you let them.

So go do it! but remember, it’s an imperfect science because it involves us, people, and so it can be tricky and at times frustrating but so incredibly worth it when you make it work. Try it – Go from invisible to unstoppable.

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