"I've figured out that life in general is a team effort; it's a team game."
--- Joe Namath
We've all heard the chitter-chatter about team building and the importance of working as a team. There are team-building activities, seminars, conferences, as well as consultants touting the benefits of building great teams in our businesses.
Of course it is all true. All successful businesses are built upon the strength of great teams. Even the sole proprietor has to have a team. He relies on his printer for business cards, a good CPA for tax preparation, a good supplier for sign products, and so on. Teams produce solid business productivity as well as profits.
"Basically, a manager is a father figure to 20 or 25 blokes. It's about trying to get the best out of them and creating team spirit."
--- Alan Shearer
But building a team isn't as easy as it seems. Putting together a group of people to work toward the same goals requires patience, tact, and a keen eye for talent. Whether you are going it alone or have several employees, the best way to build a team is to first communicate to all the players what is expected of the team. This can be addressed in weekly meetings and stressed continually using the company's mission statement, interoffice communications, during performance reviews, and whatever other opportunities become available.
"Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another."
--- Vince Lombardi
Once the communication is established, set goals for various projects with a team concept in mind. In other words, the goals should be such that all team members work together toward it and not in competition with one another. An example is the installation of a sign by a specific date in order to please the customer. Or, reaching a company sales figure for a particular quarter.
"Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it."
--- Brian Tracy
Next, create your own team-building exercises during company picnics, retreats, or outings. The internet is chock full of some great exercises and many can be accomplished right in the shop or office. Use this time to drive home the importance of working as team toward common, established goals.
"A lot of young players don't really know much about the history of the game and a lot of them are missing out on what the game is all about, especially the whole concept of sportsmanship and teamwork."
--- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Finally, take the time to share the history of the company with some of your newer folks. Use examples of how working as a team has created various successes for the company. This is a great orientation tool to help others to understand the culture of your business.
The team concept really does work. Keep an eye out of how you can build your team and look for members you can add to create a winning one.
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On a church marquee:
"Honey I Shrunk the Sermon"
At a street crossing in San Francisco:
"Blind Persons Cross Here"
At the snack bar of a hospital in Prince Georges County, Maryland:
"Hospital Policy is to refuse service to hospital patients."
We need those funny signs you've seen in your travels, come on, we know they're out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.