A strong team filled with strong people is critical to the success of any vision. Most are aware of the popular saying that goes, “where there is no vision the people perish”, but fail to look at it in reverse. The reality is also this: where there are no people, the vision would also perish. The goal of any team is to win or produce results and I strongly believe that every team, including yours, can win and achieve even greater results by focusing on three areas.
When working with companies to strengthen their teams to improve performance or produce greater results, I take groups through a process that covers three steps: appreciate, communicate, collaborate. I share some of the details on the first step below.
Step 1: appreciate
Building a stronger team means that every member must deeply appreciate three important areas. Firstly, the team must appreciate the overall vision and mission of the team. From my experience, teams are not as productive as they could be because few, if any, on the team, fully know and appreciate what and for what reason they are working. Here’s an activity you can do immediately after bringing everyone together: have each member write on a sheet a paper what they think the company vision, mission and goals are. Collect the responses and evaluate whether the team is on the same page. I have done this activity with many teams and have yet to find a team that is fully on the same page. In fact, I’m usually amazed at the vast differences in answers that surface from this activity. Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and Tesla, said, “People work better when they know what the goal is and why.” To correct the problem of “division”, lead a discussion with your team on the strategic vision of the organization and the role each member plays. This vision could be company-wide or specifically focused on an area such as creating a customer service vision, for example. Whatever you decide, it must be known and owned by all the members on that team. A creative approach I enjoy leading with teams is to also design a team vision board to visually represent what they are working toward.
The second item teams must appreciate is the intrinsic motivation of each member of the team to get the job done. There are many ways that this could be accomplished, however, my favorite process is through Gary Chapman’s and Paula White’s “5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”. According to the authors, 70 percent of employees say that they receive no praise or appreciation at work. Companies are expecting more but giving less. Team members are feeling extremely undervalued, which results in poor morale or performance. How do you effectively communicate appreciation to each member to ensure that the team’s vision is achieved? As a team leader, you must learn the appreciation language of your employees and have the employees learn the language of each other. Implementing simple principles to express appreciation effectively within your team without a great outlay of cash can be the difference between success and failure.
The third and final area under the “appreciate” step is this: teams must appreciate each other’s strengths and unique contribution to the team. According to my research and experience, there could be up to eight personalities or profiles, as Roger Hamilton, creator of Talent Dynamics, calls them. He describes team member profiles using names such as creator, star, mechanic, supporter, etc., and outlines each member’s strengths, weaknesses and other key factors that help anyone on the team better appreciate each other. This is typically done through a simple and fun test he calls the “trust test”. When I initially did this activity with my team, something magical happened. We not only understood where we performed best but we also became more lenient with each other, as we also gained a greater appreciation of each other’s quirks and weaknesses. I remember my assistant saying to me after reviewing the results, “That’s why you act that way!” We laughed with a deeper appreciation of who we were in the workplace, which made it much easier to work with each other. I have seen examples of this in other teams I’ve worked with as well, and highly recommend taking the time to get to know your team better in this way. There are many team-focused personality tests available and I have used several types with teams. Whichever type you decide to use, make a point to use it with your team if you haven’t done so already. This simple activity usually creates valuable “aha” moments and eliminate a slew of workplace problems.
We have taken a deep dive into the first step to stronger teams. If you would like to dive into all three steps with your team and conduct this team-building activity with your company, contact me at email@example.com.
• Keshelle Davis is a multi award-winning entrepreneur, corporate and business trainer and the chief executive officer of the Training Authority. She is the former executive director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Institute and an internationally recognized speaker and author. She is the creator of popular personal and professional development programs including Excel School, The Dreamboard Party Experience, The Planners Retreat and more. She has helped thousands of people fulfill their vision, obtain mastery and become more productive in their lives. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.