Making the Team Work Takes 'Work'
Jun 14, 2019
Making the company’s “team” work isn’t a simple process. Like anything else in life - including the big football game - it takes time, planning and energy to find long-term success. But once you’ve put the initial effort into place, the process becomes simpler and the results are greater for the duration.
In order to make this happen, there are several points I stress to managers:
- Cover all the bases - Hire and train in order to have all the necessary skills available to the team. Capitalize on the natural talents of every team member while developing additional skills to help the team. A team that can score but can’t defend is in for a long, hard game.
- Make sure everyone knows the rules - If the player doesn’t know - and understand - the rules, it’s tough to help the team. Be careful about using words such as “big,” “more,” “less,” and “often.” What you evaluate as “often,” someone else may see as “rarely.” The most effective teams have rules, clearly understand them, and enforce them.
- You can’t win all by yourself - Whether your job is coach, quarterback, or tight end, you can’t do it by yourself- no matter how good you are. The best teams are made of players that do their job and fill in wherever and whenever necessary in order to win the game. You don’t hear, “It’s not my job” at the Super Bowl.
- Have a game plan - Run up the score? Stay with the pack? Break ahead early? Save the secret weapon for the last quarter? What’s your team’s strategy? Better customer service? Safety above all else? On time, on budget, on target? Make sure your entire team understands the game plan - and understands that it will change with the industry.
- Call a time out - To many companies, a time out comes in the form of an annual performance review. However, the most successful businesses know that the time out is a strategic move to evaluate the current situation and modify the game plan based on the most up-to-date information.
- Learn from past performance - After the big game, the first team meeting is spent evaluating the team’s performance- and sizing up the next challenge (next week’s opponent). Now is not the time for thin skin. Everyone on the team has a responsibility to know his/her strengths, improve his/her skills, and contribute to the team’s success. Get ready to tell and be told.
- Celebrate - No victory is complete without a celebration. Whether it’s throwing a cooler of Gatorade over the coach, toasting with champagne, or sharing a victory pizza, take time to savor the victory and give credit where credit is due.
Remember, success ultimately comes as a result of solid execution of a game plan, whether in the office or on the football field. However, it’s the planning - and follow-through - of that plan that is the key to that success.
Laurie Richards is an accomplished international speaker who works with thousands of executives and association leaders. Known for her practical, interactive, and entertaining approach, Richards works with leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, sales people, and other professionals on improving communication at every level. She also lends her voice to video and audio programs in voice-over work. Richards’ experience as an international speaker and speaker coach comes into play as she helps clients strategically plan outcome-based presentations, put power into a PowerPoint (no more bored audiences), prepare for media interviews, manage crisis (before, during, and after), grow morale, build stronger teams, and improve everyday communications to directly affect the bottom line -- including new business pitches, state-of-the-organization addresses, sales presentations, and meetings. Many of Richards’ programs include personality profiling using proven Myers-Briggs, DISC, Social Styles, and other valid instruments to help clients work better as teams, improve efficiencies, select best candidates, and coach employees. Richards began her career as a legislative correspondent for Public Broadcasting. She managed leader communications for the National Pork Producers Council—the nation's largest commodity organization and originator of the successful, “Pork. The Other White Meat” campaign. Richards has hosted radio and television shows, managed one of the nation’s fastest growing public relations agencies, launched award-winning public affairs programs, and managed highly effective grassroots lobbying efforts, and facilitated professional development programs for Fortune 500 companies and associations. Richards is described as "enthusiastic, professional, effective, practical, savvy, inspiring, and enlightening." Clients note her strengths as “an innate charismatic style coupled with the ability to really connect with her audience and bring practical real-life experiences we can use immediately.” Her business clients span throughout the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia giving her first-hand experience and cross-cultural awareness. To remain relevant, Richards’ learning material includes current information reflecting today’s high-speed lifestyles, cultural changes, technological advancements, and shifting priorities. Richards has degrees in communication and business management and has earned masters’ degrees in business management and psychology. She has a variety of certifications in micro-expressions and psychological profiling. Richards is currently working toward her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology.