In the 1800s when the direct channel of distribution reached the U.S., the innovators and early adopters had no clue about team spirit as they went door to door, even lurking behind bushes to get a sale. It was highly competitive back in the day with the “every man for himself” sales approach that lasted for more than a century.
Direct selling eventually evolved from fierce and cunning competition to “compensatory” comradery. It was snail slow initially but sales transitioned from the one-man distributor approach, to the network marketing business model, with proven far greater results for profitability and ROI because its structure is relationship based. This forward motion demanded even-handed or equitable opportunity.
By the 1980s, sociologists and other business academics developed the term corporate culture in describing an organization’s personality and/or character, which network marketing businesses most likely spearheaded (just saying). It was during this time that the grassroots marketing concept was championed.
HR managers and business professionals soon began layering and fomenting team spirit between their employees and distributors for increased productivity, efficiency and self-improvement a.k.a. personal growth.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
~ Ken Blanchard
Today, everyone is familiar with teamwork and team spirit as a behavior that encourages connectedness in the workplace. Hence, teamwork can be likened to the ground connector in a three-pronged power cord. Businesses rely on their established team culture for supercharged productivity. Look at any major company and how seamlessly their teams flow in their day-to-day tasks—almost mechanically! What’s their secret? The not-so-secret formula is simply a shared mindset. In spite of their unique differences and responsibilities, they all work together as one. And while various enabling conditions are found as they work cohesively, personal concessions are also made in the pursuit of reaching a collective goal or end result.
As we think about the team spirit that will fundamentally contribute to a lucrative bottom line, let us consider some ground rules with a different variation of the TEAM acronym.
T is for trust. There are two popular sayings with regard to trust: “Trust no one.” and “I trust him as far as I can throw him.” While you don’t have to trust a teammate with your money or your car, when working in a group setting you must not only trust others’ talents and skill sets, but also their commitment to the company, assignment and task, which you may or may not be collaborating in quantitatively, but certainly substantively. People will always test the ambit of their relationships, whether personally or professionally. That’s perfectly fine—give them the necessary space to do so. Remember that trust is one of the indispensable catalysts for any relationship to grow; and it takes time for trust to both genuinely develop and increase.
E is for engagement. As often as possible, seek opportunities to engage your teammates to work on behalf of your organization and team goals. When engagement occurs, one person initiates but another dutifully responds. It must be a concerted effort, as in how musicians in an orchestra flow together to play a song. Where there is engagement, the spotlight is not aimed at anyone in particular and no selfies are allowed! Everyone should feel like a star in the night’s sky that collectively makes it brighter. And, with regard to engagement, there is no place for pushiness or pouting—that is always found in amateur or immature players.
A is for advancement. Everyone should have equal footing for advancement in a team. Always celebrate each other’s progressions and promotions. Respect one another, inclusive of the position, rank, tenure or title you may hold. This is also known as the principle of the Golden Rule and when applied by all the members in a team, they also show respect of their leaders’ foresight in the decision to promote from within. In stark contrast, when you bypass someone’s role in a team, it not only speaks little of you, but oftentimes creates added work and causes hindrance to the overall success of the team.
M is for motivation. Best-selling author, keynote speaker and success mentor, Darren Hardy, says that “you don’t motivate others; you find out what motivates them.” What a spot-on perspective this is. In looking for what motivates those around you, there is an intentional shift from self to others; thus, no one is left limping for lack of motivation. Every person in the team gets thrusted to thrive. [#thrusted2thrive — I like that!]
As many of us have experienced in business, great advancement has occurred on the subject of team building in the last two centuries. All good—all for the betterment of our nation’s infrastructure and its economic stability! We cannot afford to backpedal now!
So in fully plugging in to a year of renewed expectations, let us do so as grounded, supercharged teams with unabated admiration for the pioneers before us, but at the same time with unrelenting hope and roister for the rising innovators; who having taken the “plow” from their hands, continue to work the fields fervently.
The harvest is plenty, and everyone can reap!
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team.
~ Coach John Wooden
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