I recently made a trip to the Snowdonia mountains with a group of friends to take in some of the fantastic mountaineering opportunities. Whilst we were out on day 1 in the heavy rain, attempting what would be a fairly difficult climb and ridge walk in dry conditions, I was reminded about the power of team working.
We would never have made the summit of that mountain that day if we hadn’t supported each other throughout. We lent hands, eyes, equipment, words of encouragement, shared weight and a sense of humour when it was needed! It’s safe to say the attempt would not have had the same result but for the collective power of the team.
So, when we think about the goal of an organisation as reaching the top of that mountain the same principle applies. The chances of success are decreased if a strong team ethic is not present. It got me thinking of some of the things that get in the way of our people working in this way.
Here are 3 common business things that prevent you from harnessing the power of team work:
- Individual Measurement
The measures I see on a day to day basis that drive individual performance do just that – drive individual performance. Measures drive behaviour and so if they aren’t team based measures then guess what, they won’t drive team behaviours.
Let’s think about my mountain climb again for a moment – If we we’re all being timed to see who could get to the top in the fastest time so that we could be rewarded with a bonus, do you think we would have made as much of an effort to help each other?
- The strong don’t need support
Some people believe they are better working alone because they are more than capable of going it alone. However, there will always be a time where support is required, they just don’t know it yet. By isolating themselves they remove their opportunity to learn from the rest of the team and gain invaluable experience through others eyes.
- Self-preservation comes first
If the culture of the business is that of only the strongest will survive, people will become so focussed on their own survival tactics they will seldom have the time or energy to invest in others.
“As long as I don’t fall off the mountain” isn’t something that I would have wanted to hear from any of the team that day, however, back in the world of business this is happening all the time. Culture is set by the leaders of the organisation so any change in culture must start there.
Examples of team success exist all around us. Next time someone wins an individual award listen to the length of the list of people they acknowledge.
In the words of the great basketball legend, perhaps the greatest person to ever have played the game:
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
– Michael Jordan
Almost no one achieves greatness on their own and where business is concerned it’s safe to say that without employees working together for the good of the company it’s going to be difficult to reach that goal.