Building Successful Teams: The Key to Success
First, a quick test. I know you hate tests. You hated them in school, you hated them in the doctor’s office, and you are probably about to hate me for giving you another one. Rest assured, the following is just a quick survey to get your attention so you will read this article before getting back to whatever else you were doing.
So, at the risk of ticking you off or confusing you terribly, let me ask you to take this short, unscientific survey. This two-minute survey could very well hold the keys to a better life – to your better life.
Here’s the set-up: Some of your staff or team members are planning a celebration of your company’s 10 years of success. They’re getting you a plaque with an appropriate team motto on it. Pick the team motto you’d like by rating the four team mottos below on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 through 5 indicating that
- I want to be remembered by this motto first
- I want to be remembered by this motto second
- I want to be remembered by this motto third
- I want to be remembered by this motto fourth
- Who cares?
- Look out for number one ______
- All for one and one for all ______
- Lets give it all up for the sake of the team ______
- Together Everyone Accomplishes More ______
Want the solution? How about the right answers? I already gave it away in the title to this article. You probably figured it out already. It’s all about developing the success of your team!
All of the above statements in my little survey may be true at different points in your life – sometimes you’re the star and sometimes you’re the backup. That’s the beauty of the team concept: together, everyone accomplishes more. In the beginning you start out alone, wanting and yearning for success. If you’re smart, you learn that by associating yourself with good, hard-working people it eases part of the burden, and the successes start to quietly, but steadily increase. You’re now part of a team.
Ever watch a rowing team? Imagine, just for a minute, how quickly they’d glide on the water, how straight and true their sprint toward the finish line would be if the rowers did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted! Rowing is a sport that consists of one to eight people racing in a boat. The objective of a good rower is to get his or her blade cleanly into the water, pull as hard as he or she can, and get the blade out again. All of the rowers must do this as efficiently as possible. The goal is to use their energy to move the boat forward quickly, rather than slow it down. The sport of rowing is extremely difficult and utilizes the many different abilities of the rowing team, including the coxswain (cox). The rowers make the boat go and the cox directs, steers and motivates the crew. No one member of the crew is more important than any other – they do it for themselves and they do it for each other.
After studying the habits of some of the world’s most successful people, I think I’ve found a common theme or thread: it’s not just about winning, but the reward of helping others to win. Try giving/getting a high-5 by yourself. Try winning a basketball game by yourself. Try running a successful dealership by yourself. Of course it feels great to win; but, those who feel the most significant reward of success at the end of the day are those who put the interests of others ahead of their own. I call this having a high O-factor. The “O” stands for other-centeredness. And at the opposite end of this is a high (or low?) S-factor, which stands for self-centeredness. On every great team there are those who honestly don’t mind who gets the credit as long as the team does its best.
No one is born one way or the other; we don’t come into this world caring any more or less about other people. However, some of us learn along the way that if you want more joy in your life, you’ve got to give it away. That’s right, give joy. Want to be more hopeful? Give hope. And, if you want to be more successful, make others around you more successful. Word of advice here, warning really: there are definite side-effects to this type of behavior. Not only will you feel more significant and realize more success, but you will attract and draw people to you. People want to be around positive, joyful, hopeful, successful people!
Have you ever really seen the most self-centered folks become the happiest or accomplished over the long haul? I’ll bet you haven’t. I’ll also bet you can become more like the kind of person you’d want others on your team to be. Whether that’s at work, at home or just playing a pick-up game of basketball in your driveway. Team building is not just about the office. What we are talking about here is not just a cute phrase to make you smile, although that would be an added bonus. I’m asking you to take this to heart and challenge yourself in this new year to raising your own O-factor.