The expression “team player” has become a cliché in management in recent decades. It is easy to lose sight of why it is so important to be with people who are committed to helping each other and working towards a shared goal. This applies to life in general as well as work/business.
Recent events in the sporting world have helped illustrate this point. In his final season with Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo’s was quite obviously at best half-hearted in his commitment to the team and the club. You can’t help wondering how much better the team could have performed if he had been 100% on board. Yes, ManU won the Premier League, but only because the competition was even more dysfunctional than United and because the rest of the team did not seem to let CR7’s individualism stop them from being totally committed. A great example of this is Ryan Giggs, who has been with ManU for 20 years, with hardly a rumour of leaving during all that time.
This illustrates the key reason why team players are so important: because of the effect on the commitment and motivation on the rest of the team.
So how do you get team spirit? From my experience at K&H itself and with our clients, the answer seems to be:
- To start with, be totally clear about the values of the organisation – what’s important to everyone.
- Drill down into these values to agree common team commitments, ie guidelines about HOW the values are demonstrated in practice.
- Empower the whole team to champion the values and commitments, eg by using 360 degree review systems
- Share successes (or if there are too few of these at present share the vision of success in the future)
- Recruit only people who share the same value, and immerse them in the team commitments during their induction.
- Finally, communication is the oil in the team machine and the glue that holds it together (excuse the mixed metaphors…). Team meetings, team happiness/feedback forms and surveys and informal “on the stairs” chats are all crucial to holding things together.
AVN have a great expression that they use: “Build an unstoppable team”. Once in place, the right group of people really can drive a business forward in a way that no amount of money or “benefits” could ever make them do.
Let me know if you can add to my 6 points above, or if you want to know more about what we have done at K&H.