Unstoppable Teams Part 1

In the last post, it was discussed how the first team we need to build is ourselves.  Each person individually is a remarkable person; each of you has superpowers, skills that you do better than someone else. Building teams with people who have skills that complement each other and are unified in the mission is what creates an unstoppable team. Mills said, “A team is a tightly knit group of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

The world is in constant movement and change; we see this every day with the ever-evolving technology and advancements in every industry.  Unstoppable teams thrive on uncertainty. The four actions required for unstoppable teams are: Connect, Achieve, Respect and Empower. This is what Mills calls the CARE loop. The CARE loop is built upon the same communication in families is caring for one another in the physical, mental and emotional connections.

A great team leader is a relationship builder, the team should be comprised of people with complementary skills and strengths. No one can do it all. We need to recognize the superpowers in others, and set aside our egos and pride.

The CARE loop starts with Connect.

No matter what industry you work in or what position you hold, your success will depend on your ability to build human relationships. Building relationships requires empathy and this means showing transparency. Building a connection with others is not a start and stop process, it is a continual and means getting to know your teammate as a person/individual. Has there ever been a person in your life that regardless of how long you have known them that you still learn something new about them you didn’t know before? The answer is, of course, we should always be discovering new things about each person. When we connect with another we need to be authentic. No one likes someone who is a fake person.

In order to connect as a leader, you need the 3 c’s

  • Communication
    • When someone is speaking to you what is your body language saying? Are you making eye contact? Are you listening intently? Are you looking at your phone or computer screen? Each of these things shows the other person how engaged you are in them. How does it make you feel when someone is not making eye contact and looking at their phone when you are speaking?
    • Remember active listening is a huge part. Active listening includes eye contact, leaning forward, and asking questions for clarity and understanding.
  • Credibility
    • Do you follow through with promises? Are you accountable for your actions? Do you as a leader use “we” instead of “I”?
  • Commitment
    • When your actions are inconsistent you leave people guessing about your intentions.

There is no magic formula that works to connect to everyone. I have learned that you will not connect with everyone the same and thus because we are all different learning to connect with others is trial and error. It is listening and learning how to connect with each person differently.

When I served as president to a women’s organization, I had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with many women. Sometimes when we meet people, we click immediately with them, the relationship is easy and natural, other relationships take more work. There was one woman who came across as cold, abrasive and a know it all.  She was difficult to get to know and it was a challenge to find common ground. I asked her to be a part of a team, the goal was to utilize her superpower of knowledge of people in the area. I spent a lot of time with her one on one and over time I learned that her coldness was because she was insecure. We had many extended long telephone conversations, learning about one another. She is now one of my dearest friends. The point is that everyone craves human connection, sometimes it takes more work to get past the prickly layers but the effort is well worth it. Discover each other’s superpowers and find ways to motivate and encourage each team member to use their superpowers and find the superpowers within their teammates.

Next in the CARE Loop is Achieve:

The reason we work in teams is to achieve results. The results could be on a specific project, assignment and for the overall success of the business. In a Gallup survey, they found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. workforce is not engaged at work. That is four out of 10 people feel cared for at work. As a leader, it is important to engage your team members. This leads to greater productivity and encourages your teams to embrace the constant change, you are their cheerleader.

During my time at the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, one board president challenged growth in all six committees. There were approximately 75 volunteers between all the committees, and each committee had to improve or introduce a new event or program. There were committee meetings with brainstorming sessions. We had candid discussions evaluating the current events/programs discussing what worked and what wasn’t working. One committee chose to retire a 35-year-old program that had been losing participation for the past few years. They researched and presented a new event that took 18 months in the planning. Another committee was able to introduce a new professional development program in about twelve weeks. Both committees were able to achieve their goals, one was a much bigger project than the other. As a team leader you need to follow the five A’s of achievement:

  • Aspire
    • Bring the goals to life by helping team members to connect to the goal.
  • Assume
    • Empower your team members to do their jobs.
  • Assess
    • Have regular team meetings where members can discuss openly, candidly and with transparency the challenges and successes of the goal/project.
  • Assure
    • Encourage team members and help them overcome their fears. Remind them of their superpowers. As the team leader, you are the cheerleader. Be sure that the team members know that their contributions are valued.
  • Appreciate
    • Be enthusiastic and sincere with praise. Be humble and show gratitude for both individual and team efforts. Remember no one can do it alone.

To recap the first two parts to the CARE loop for unstoppable teams is Connect and Achieve; by building unstoppable teams in our workplaces we create a culture where employees will want to get up and come to work, they will want to stay and help the company grow. By caring about each team member as individuals first they will then care about their responsibilities and seek ways to better serve the company. Encourage them to achieve their goals both individually and as a team. In the next segment, we will discuss Respect and Empower.

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director