Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

By Rob Bell – Speaker/Author – June 11, 2008
Think about the pride you have for your favorite sports team.  If you have a shirt, hat or jacket with your favorite team’s logo proudly displayed, raise your hand.

I knew it.  More than half of you raised your hand.

I’m from Wisconsin and actually own a fashionable Cheese Head.  It’s a great look, but it does ruin your hair.  Just call me Cheddar.

Isn’t it funny how much pride we show for sports teams?  Wouldn’t it be great if the Team of Professionals you work with were just as proud of your business as they are about their favorite Sports Teams?

I believe all great Teams have the following:

1. Leaders that walk the talk.

Whether we mean to or not, we all lead by example.  Leaders that reward Team Successes encourage more Team Successes.

Studies have shown that most people don’t quit companies, they quit managers.  Team Members report that when it comes to being loyal, full appreciation for the work they’ve done is number one on their list.

I spent more than twenty-five years working with Dick’s Supermarkets, Inc.  The gentleman who founded Dick’s Supermarkets, Dick Brodbeck, started every day by touring the stores looking for opportunities to catch people doing something right.  I remember him touring the store where I worked.  He tracked me down to say with enthusiasm, “Rob, this store looks so good it’s giving me goose bumps!”

That happened in 1981, and I still remember the experience with pride to this day.

Great Leaders are Cheerleaders.  Dick consistently demonstrated the importance and power of catching Team Members doing something right.

The way to motivate is to validate.

2. A commitment to excellence.  We all do our best work with winners.

Think back to your proudest moments in high school.  I was never very athletic, but I did play E-Flat Contrabass Clarinet in our high school band.  Our band director set extremely high standards.  I believe we worked harder and longer than many of the local high school bands.  We marched in the cold, the heat, the rain and the sleet.  I still remember the pride our whole band felt marching in parades knowing that we were looking sharp.

Average happens by accident.  Excellence happens on purpose.

3. Wildly Important Goals.

What are your Team’s Wildly Important Goals? Does everyone on the Team know why they are there?  Do your Wildly Important Goals inspire people to go the extra mile?

Team Members will strive to be excellent when they are inspired, not when they are required.  Requiring people to love their job and be loyal Team Members reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw, “Floggings will continue until morale improves.”

Walt Disney taught his cast members that they were there, “To Make People Happy.”  The Ritz Carlton Hotels teaches their Team that, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

When you welcome a new person to join your Team, take advantage of the first impression.  Show the new Team Member pride and enthusiasm as you explain your Team’s Wildly Important Goals.

Where attention goes, energy flows.

4. Open communication.

The three most important words for any Great Team are, “Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate.”  You can’t expect people on your Team to be excellent if they don’t know what your objectives are.  If you are rolling out a new product or service, include the Team Members in the development stage.  People who are in the trenches, face-to-face with your Customers every day, will have valuable ideas about how to achieve the objectives of the new offering.

Asking Team Members for their input naturally provides buy-in.  People will have pride in the process when they are performing their own ideas.  I hate it when people who don’t do the job tell people who do the job how to do the job.  The people who do the job will quickly learn that they are not important enough to think.  They were hired for their muscle, not their minds.

All of us are smarter than one of us.

5. Fun.

Customers can feel if Team Members are having Fun while providing service.  Who would you rather do business with, a Team of Professionals who is having Fun or a group of people doing their jobs?

I visited a Container Store in Denver, CO a couple of years ago because I knew that Fortune Magazine regularly rates them as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

As soon as I entered the store I was greeted by a very friendly Team Member who asked how he could help.  I told him that I had read in Fortune Magazine that the Container Store was a great company to work with.

The young man told me that he loved being a Team Member for the Container Store.  When I asked him why, he said, “The Container Store requires us to have Fun on the job!”

I noticed that his name tag said “Keith – Future Engineer.”  When I asked Keith why his name tag said “Future Engineer” he said, “I’m going to school to be an engineer.”

I think that is fantastic.  They even have Fun with their name tags.  It appears that Keith is having so much Fun being part of the Container Store Team he just might forget to quit.  Companies are known for the people they keep.

It’s more FUN to be Excellent than Mediocre.  Let’s Have Fun Out There


Click here to learn more about Rob Bell

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