Archives for teamwork

Trust Your Team

trust“A team is not a group of people who work together.  A team is a group of people who trust each other.”      Emmanuel Giavarini, Managerial Comm. Mgr. for a French Transportation System 

This quote attributed to the person identified above was found on her Facebook page and immediately made an impression on me.  I suspect it may have that same effect on other readers.

We, in business, work diligently to craft teams that perform at acceptable levels.  This is true almost without exception across all kinds of business organizations if the organization has more than one employee.  We tend to think about this in terms of the word ‘teamwork’; we are taught this from the time we can remember throughout our education.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!

How often, if at all, do we translate teamwork into trust in each other?  When that is stated, it makes sense without much thought being given to it.  If we watch our favorite football team, we see that teamwork is obvious in the level of trust amongst the players.  There is a chemistry that is immediately recognizable.  The quarterback calls a play and everyone immediately knows what each of the other teammates will be doing during the coming action.  Each player trusts that each of the other members of the team will be doing exactly what is expected, where it is expected and when it is expected.  This is especially true in practice when there may not be an opposing team involved in trying to thwart the play.

trust-me

Do you trust each of your team members to be where they’re supposed to be. Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it?

Of course you do since that is what it takes to produce consistent results.  This might be more easily observed in a manufacturing environment but it is equally as important in an office.

How often thotrust-e1400663980941ugh do we actually think of a team as being based on all the members knowing they can trust their other team mates?  If one member of the team doesn’t have implicit trust in each other member of that team, the team won’t function as well as it should. .  This is fairly easy to picture in a physical activity since there are physical actions that intertwine with the physical actions of the other team members.  Think of firefighters who instinctively know what every other person is going to be doing.

When we transfer this team trust concept to the office, it is potentially more difficult to picture. Thoughts are impossible to see.  Teammates know that there are things that need to happen but we are not necessarily able to see them happening.  We take it on faith that each step will occur as it needs to occur.

We trust each other; therefore we function as a team.  If that trust isn’t there, we do not function as well, if at all.  As the quote said,

A team is a group of people who trust each other.

021_phixr     Alan Campbell, Account Executive

 

Moving Forward Together

1913-Ford-Highland-Park-Plant-engine-installationThis quote from Henry Ford, a visionary and innovator in manufacturing and the automotive industry, caught my eye this morning.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Quotes that say so much in so few words are great.  Think of a marching band and think about the coordination of movement required to make it look so professional.  Think of a football team that can’t move the ball, isn’t it immediately apparent when there is someone not aligned with the rest of the group?

When we transfer that thinking to the production line, or the selling process, or the welding department or the grease and lube facility, we can see the merits of a well-orchestrated human element working in tandem with the equipment that goes along with each job.

Imagine the Project Manager losing focus on the need for all aspects of the project to be moving ahead in lockstep.  That would not yield a project being completed on time and on budget.  And it certainly wouldn’t create a happy customer.

Imagine the assembly line employee who misses a beat thus sending the whole line into shutdown.  That is not conducive to that “well-oiled machine” we all shoot for every time we undertake a job.

This simple concept is the most critical office machineof all the steps in any well-operating company no matter what the product or service of that company may be.  There is sometimes a tendency to focus on the stuff that seems more important when the really important aspects are that we are all on the same page at the same time and moving in the same direction each doing what we are responsible to do.

Another name for this coordination of efforts is teamwork.  We each have to be at the top of our game, with our minds focused on the important issues and we must be putting forth the effort required if we are to be part of the well-oiled machine we spoke of earlier.

 

 

021_phixrAlan Campbell, Account Executive

Your Role on the Team….

team 2“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”      

 Scottie Pippen, Basketball player

This quotation really hits home for many of us, and it is important to think about it whether we are reacting to a change made by others or we are the person making the decision to announce a change.  Our role on the team is critical to both the team and the players.  There is usually only one point guard to set up the play on the court at a time and the point guard doesn’t always call the play.  The plays available are usually called by the coach from the bench.  Sometimes the defense requires that a subtle change be made in the play, and the point guard has the responsibility to both decide when and how that happens, and is held responsible for the decision’s timeliness as well as for the outcome.

Similarly, we are part of the team in our workplaces.  We may operate day-to-day quite independently but we are still part of a team, and we are accountable for doing our part in making the team successful.  We may well need to alter our game plan given occurrences in our world, but we do so knowing we are responsible for the outcome.  Unless we are exceptional, we will not always make the right call, or even if we do make the right call, it may not always work out.

It is important that we recognize that we are part of the team, and that the rest of team may be affected by some action we take on the spur of the moment.  We need to be aware of the impact our action will have on the team if it fails, just as we need to be sensitive to the feelings of the others on the team whether it fails or succeeds.

Sales people may not have the authority to alter pricing or promise more rapid delivery without conferring with their manager.  Their manager may not have the sole authority team 4team 3and might need to confer with his or her boss.  Production line workers have little leeway in how they perform their jobs for obvious reasons.

If we have been around for any time at all, we probably can think of situations where someone took the initiative and made a decision impacting the entire organization.  We might have had the experience where that was a bold but successful move.  Or, we might’ve watched as that decision caused significant problems for the team.

If we have any doubt about when and where we have authority to make calls to change the usual approach or pricing or promises made to clients/buyers, we know those decisions require the approval of our manager, who may also need the approval of his or her manager.  If we operate in a more autonomous working world, these kinds of uses of individual authority may well have been part of the initial hiring discussions.  Even then, we need to be sure we have a winning track record when we make such decisions.

Too many bad calls may get us benched or traded.  Team players are a valuable commodity to the company and to their fellow team members.

 

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Teamwork

Packers

When we think of teamwork, all manners of examples come to mind.  Recently, we Packers fans might be questioning the ability of a team to go from functioning beautifully to functioning poorly in the span of a couple of weeks.  On a football team we know there can be any number of reasons for such swings in performance from attitudes to injuries to simply having encountered better teams.  Football teams prove and re-prove themselves on a weekly basis.  There is little subtlety involved; the team wins or it loses or it ties.  The outcome is shown by the team’s place in whatever league it plays and by the presence or absence of trophies at the end of the season.

The Business Dictionary describes teamwork like this:  “The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.  Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is ofte n necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance.  Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.”

 

When we accept an assignment to locate the right person for our client, we take that very seriously.  For most of us in management, the need to terminate an employee relationship can be among the toughest decisions we have to face.  It not only affects the person being terminated, but it affects the rest of the team, as well.  Selecting a well-qualified candidate and finding that person who also is a proven team player is critical to us in our searches.  I have believed for a long time that before a person is given the responsibility to hire a team member, he or she should’ve been involved in the termination process up close and personal.

 

That ‘seasoning’team is part of what you hire us for; we know both ends of this equation and we factor all that experience into our recommendations to you.  Qualifications are important, but the ability to be a team player is also critical.  If we find past ‘teamwork’ issues in our vetting of candidates, we will not pursue that candidate on behalf of our client unless the client directs us to do so after we’ve explained the situation and our concerns.team

021_phixr

Alan Campbell, Account Executive