And that “I” is each Individual member that makes up the team and is responsible, to some degree, for its success or failure. This is why hiring the right people to begin with is job one.
The definition of a team is a group of individuals related by complementary skills who are united together by a common cause. That common cause is what unifies the team to withstand the stress of battle.
The key to whether any team is successful lies in the attitude, commitment and engagement of each of its individual members. The level at which these elements are present results in either a successful, unsuccessful or dysfunctional team. In spite of themselves, some dysfunctional teams have success, however, it’s short-term and can’t be sustained.
So, what might a successful team look like? One example is a team of doctors and nurses working in an emergency room. Each member brings their individual experiences and expertise to the team; each are responsible for different procedures and functions; each are required to perform at their best in every emergency; individually they each contribute and commit to doing whatever is necessary to ensure the health and well-being of their patients.
In other words, individually, they must perform at 100%, 100% of the time. Anything less is not an option, ever. When they feel a little off, they gut it up and push onward because each individual is committed to the team and their cause, heal the patient! They hold each other accountable. Individuals related by complementary skills, united together by a common goal, and committed to accomplishing the goal = success.
Here’s a figurative example of how attitude and lack of commitment could result in failure. Just imagine if airline pilots decided that operating at 97% of their ability was good enough. The likely result would be 3% of all flights ending in peril. With 4,000+ domestic flights per day in the USA, 3% equates to 120+ flights per day being unsafe. Using an average of 50 passengers per flight, 6,000+ passengers each day would be risking their lives.
For a more realistic example of how attitude, level of engagement and lack of commitment might rear their ugly heads let’s look at the sales profession. There are many days when all a salesperson hears is ‘no’. It’s difficult to dust yourself off, put on your game face and carry on at those times. But carrying on and performing is a must. The lifeblood of any company is the revenue generated by the sales team; without revenues there’s no business. The company relies on each member of the sales team to contribute, each and every day, no matter how many no’s they’ve heard.
A seller who makes excuses or hopes another member will go over budget and cover their lack of performance is doomed to fail. The team that regularly picks up that seller’s slack and covers for them is dysfunctional at the management level.
Conversely, a seller who is determined to give 100% to ensure the team reaches their monthly, quarterly and annual goals is destined for a lucrative career. And, if the other individual members are equally committed, the team can be unstoppable. I’ve had the privilege of building and managing three such teams and it was exhilarating to play a part in those record-breaking moments.
Have you ever thought of the team you’re on as being your team? Well, it is. Every time you walk in the door to report for work, you send a signal to the other team members that you are committed, will give 100%, and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. No excuses, no finger pointing, no bellyaching. When you make the conscious decision to stay on your current team, you owe it to them to perform. They rely on you and have the right to expect your best efforts once you’ve decided to show up. Each of you must commit to success and hold one another accountable while simultaneously ensuring everyone has the materials, support and training they need to excel.
Be proactive, recognize the contributions of others and thank them, brainstorm ideas and suggestions to strengthen the team, share your findings. If your team doesn’t have a specific mission or purpose that unites them, offer to help create one. Be positive and re-commit yourself, you’ll be rewarded for doing so.
Finally, sadly, we know that many are not happy in their current roles. My advice: readjust your attitude, re-commit yourself to your team, or find a team you can commit to. You are responsible for the peace of mind, fulfillment and happiness that lead to the success you desire and deserve. Individually, we are each capable of doing great things. Here’s to the success of your team based on your contributions!
Sharon Day is President of Sales Activation Group, specializing in strategic, deliberate revenue growth.