There’s No i in Team But There is in Win

Team Work“There’s no i in team but there is in win” – a great quote by Micheal Jordan. As good as Micheal was on a basketball court he still understood that you’re only as good as the team around you. The really great managers and leaders, like the really great coaches and players, understand that it takes a great supporting cast to accomplish your goals and objectives. No one succeeds in a bubble.

Worth Remembering … “Coming together is a beginning – Keeping together is progress – Working together is success” – Henry Ford.

The really great managers and business leaders are also great team players. They understand that everyone on the team has a role to play. It wasn’t until Hockey Canada adopted a different philosophy of choosing their team players – that they started winning Team Canada men and women’s olympic gold medals and world hockey championships.

Worth Remembering … “Each individual is a vital link in your chain. You or your organization are only as strong as the total sum of its parts.” – Brian Smith

What makes a good team player? If you had to put a list together of what it takes to be a good team player – what would you put on that list? Do you expect a good team player to be honest, trust worthy, fair, treat everyone with respect and be open-minded and flexible? If you expect that from a good team player are you prepared to do the same? Would you want you on your team? If you are going to do the “talk”you must do the “walk”. What is good for the goose has got to be good for the gander.

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you or someone you know looking for a keynote speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics? Call me. Let’s talk http://briansmithpld.com

Team Work Sucks! – In Defence of Introverts Everywhere 8

Gen Y 2I`ll try not to be too cynical here – but give me a break. Do teams really work? I know dolphins do it, whales do it, and even orcas, lions, and wolves do it too but, do we really accomplish more working in teams? I know teams and team work makes for a great sound bite. But in the real world – your world – does it really make that much of a difference? Research conducted by Susan Cain and published in her New York Times – best-selling book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” paints a different picture. According to her research not everyone performs up to their full potential in a group setting. I know in a perfect world together everyone achieves more but after reading her book you may change your mind.

Worth Remembering … ” A strength over – used or used in the wrong situation, can become a weakness” – Unknown 

Generally speaking extroverts tend to be assertive, dominate, direct and decisive. They make quick decisions when others on the team cannot. They will confront tough issues or situations, accept change as a personal challenge and keep the team focused on the task at hand. Extroverts work well in a team environment as long as they are in a position to influence the direction the team is headed. They like to be in charge and lead the charge. They may come across to others as being unapproachable and insensitive to the needs of team members. (It’s their way or no way)  However, in a team environment their very vocal – in your face  – out-going and gregarious personality could stifle creativity. Listening to a difference of opinion is not their strong suit. They are comfortable with conflict.

On the other hand introverts – according to Carl Jung – are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling. They tend to listen more than they talk, think before they speak and work more slowly and deliberately – tackling one problem at a time. Other team members may see limitations because they act aloof , appear to be shy and prefer to work alone. They dislike conflict and would rather sit quietly in a corner – not offering an opinion for fear of making waves and getting noticed. They prefer to maintain status-quo and fly under the radar. They need a quiet space  to contemplate and reflect. They aren’t comfortable making quick decisions. They make decisions based on fact not emotion. The course of action taken must be logical and correct as they see it.

Worth Remembering …  “The task of an executive is not to change human beings. The task is to multiply performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals” – Peter F. Drucker. 

The tide may be turning. Team work and working in teams may not be all it’s been cracked up to be. Recent studies suggest that the open office concept made popular in the late 90’s and early 20’s is reverting back to the cubicle. Studies conducted by the likes of Marvin Dunnette, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister have shown that performance gets worse as group sizes increase. (Too many cooks spoil the broth) The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is of the highest priority” says the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.

Can extroverts and introverts work together on the same team and accomplish more? That will depend on the team leader – a team leader who understands the strengths of everyone on the team and gives everyone the opportunity to do what they do well. You can’t put a group of people together, call them a team and expect them to perform without teaching them what it means to be part of a team and how to be a good team player.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission. briansmithpld@gmail.com

Staff Disengagement – Top Trends and Remedies to Re-energize Your Workforce 2

Do you feel at times that your staff have tuned-out or have turned-off? Absenteeism on the rise? Is it getting more difficult to motivate others? Are you finding it more challenging to retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a survey conducted by Towers Perrin revealed that the number of staff who reported being highly engaged at work was only 17%. Fifty-Nine percent of those surveyed indicated that they were moderately engaged at best; and 24% said they were actively disengaged. And worse yet – those disengaged employees were busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what the engaged co-workers were trying to accomplish.

What can you do to reverse this trend? 

What can managers and business leaders do to engage the hearts and minds of their employees? According to Dr. David Vik – author of, “The Culture Secret” it starts at the top. Every organization has an identity – a culture – that is best defined as the values, beliefs and attitudes that are shared by all members of the organization. Think of your organizations culture as the rudder that keeps the ship on course. Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos believes “If you get the culture right, then a lot of really amazing things happen on their own”. Without a solid foundation you stand little chance of retaining or attracting new talent.  Your mission or value statements should be more than a catchy phrase or sound bite. Every decision you make should be a reflection of those values or you shouldn’t do it. All too often there is a disconnect between what we say we are going to do – and what we actually do. All too often we send out mixed messages and lose sight of why we do what we do and for whom.

Have you given them enough reasons to want to stay?   

Everyone is competing for the same talent. Why would they want to work for your company instead of your competitors? What can you offer them that your competition can’t offer? How much fun are you to be around? If you want to attract new talent or more importantly – keep the talent you have – you need to give them a reason to want to stay. And trust me – it’s rarely about how much money you pay them. Yes – money is important – but it sits at about number four or five on the list of what motivates people. Based on the results of exit interviews conducted by the Saratoga Institute workers left because they felt devalued and unrecognized – there was a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders – there was too little feedback and coaching or there was too few growth and advancement opportunities. Promote from within based on merit not seniority.

What are you prepared to do about it? 

“The real impediment to producing a higher quality product more efficiently aren’t the workers, union or non-union, it’s management” ( Kenneth Iverson). Change comes from the top down – never the bottom up. Nothing happens by chance. It takes a concerted effort on your part to insure everyone on your team is successful.  If you are looking to re-energize your workforce and attract new talent –  then it’s time to get FOCUSED(C) on what matters most – your people.

F – Friendly: Smile – build collaborative teams. Make everyone feel important.   

O – Observant: Reach out to those in need and teach them what they need to know. But, resist the urge to micro-manage.

C – Consistent: Treat everyone the same. Company policy and procedures are for everyone – specially your super stars.

U – Understanding: Be empathetic – See it from their point of view.

S – Sincere: If you truly want others to be successful it will show in the way that you treat them.

E – Energized: Be enthusiastic – lead by example. Be your team’s biggest cheerleader

D – Dependable: What ever you say you’re going to do – do it. They must be able to trust you.  Your word must be your bond.

Copyright 2013 – Brian Smith. May not be reproduced without permission.  Questions or comments? Please contact Brian directly. 🙂