Teaming Up for Takeoff; Six Strategies That Are Out of This World

Teaming Up for Takeoff; Six Strategies That Are Out of This World

Six men and I sat atop four and a half million pounds of explosives waiting for the fuse to be lit to begin our flight on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  We knew that for the next seven days our lives would depend on our acting synergistically.  If anything went awry during the flight, if we didn’t work together, we might not make it home safely.

How did we come to that moment in time?  We had been selected for the Astronaut Corps and this particular flight because we had proven track records of being good team players, both as leaders – and as followers – and had the requisite skills to accomplish a variety of space missions with varying payloads.  Many of the skills I learned about teamwork are applicable to any group coming together to accomplish their goals.  Here are some of the specifics.

Everyone has been a part of a team at one time or another whether it be on the playing field or at the office, or even in your own home.  Can you recall a mediocre team, a terrible one or a lazy disorganized one? There are strategies to choose team players, to mold them into a great team, to define their goals, to motivate them for success, to deal with “outliers” and to learn from failure – and success.

CHOOSING AND DEVELOPING TEAM PLAYERS 

When you are considering putting a potential team together or adding new members to a current team, the interview process is crucial.  Do applicants have the requisite skills or must they be trained?  You should consider whether each of these people has experience working well with similar teams.  Can he or she give examples of types of projects those teams have worked on and how success was achieved?  Also be sure your current team feel comfortable with this candidate.

MOLDING A GROUP OF PEOPLE INTO A TEAM 

Not all groups of people can come together to form a great team.  You’ll find natural leaders, potential leaders and excellent followers who will carry the ball down the field for the rest of your team.  Each of them has a role to play.  It is up to your leadership to learn the competencies and capabilities of each one of them and how to put them to the best use to accomplish the work that needs to be done.

DEFINING TEAM GOALS

Your team will only be effective if there are clear cut, well-defined goals which all of the  team members understand and are willing to work toward.  The role of your management or team leaders is to be able to state these goals precisely and make sure the team understands and is on board with achieving the goals.  Your leadership should take responsibility for monitoring progress of the group and each individual.  Should the goals of your team change, all team members much be briefed so there is clarity going forward.

RECOGNIZING WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR TEAM 

It is imperative that you understand what motivates the people on your particular team.  For some team members learning new skills, a sense of accomplishment or a feeling of success will be the best motivators.  Others may value the opportunity for advancement or recognition. Financial rewards, raises or prizes may work in your company.  Often the praise of their fellow members is sufficient.  Have you considered a little friendly competition?  Only by asking the team members will you find out.

DEALING WITH OUTLIERS

What if one of your company’s team members is not performing well or is ill-suited to the team, making the workplace uncomfortable and jeopardizing success?  Can you show data that his or her performance is not up to the standards you have set and expect?  What about negative reports from coworkers?  A frank in-person discussion about these issues is crucial and it is imperative you solve the problem or let the person go so as not to poison the morale of the entire team.

PRACTICING AND LEARNING FROM FAILURE –  AND SUCCESS 

When things go wrong, it is imperative that you seek to learn all the causes and fix them right away.  You must also be sure that team members learn from the failure so the same mistakes are not repeated.  Never forget that learning from success will make your team and your outcomes better, too. Incorporate processes or procedures that worked well in the past and be sure to recognize those team members who made significant contributions to the achievement.

Teams of all sorts are ubiquitous.  Whether at a work site, on a sports team, in a nonprofit organization, or in a hospital operating room (or in today’s world, virtually or in-person), teams are everywhere.  Undoubtedly you have been a team member and perhaps had the opportunity to be selected or hired as a team leader.   Great teams that produce superior results are built following the following simple principles that lead to outstanding teamwork.  You must:

– choose and develop great team members

– mold them into the best team for your organization,

– define your organization’s goals,

– motivate the team appropriately,

– deal with problem team members,

– learn from success and failure

And you’ll find you have built a team that is out of this world!

About the Author:

Dr. Rhea Seddon is a renowned speaker, Astronaut and the author of “Go For Orbit”, a memoir about her adventures spending 30 days in space aboard the Space Shuttle.  She is also a former surgeon, healthcare executive and entrepreneur.  Dr. Seddon speaks to audiences of all kinds on the topics of teamwork, leadership and taking advantage of opportunities.  Visit www.RheaSeddon.com.

There is No Vaccine for Your Company Culture

There is no magic pill, button or wand that you wave that will quickly fix or treat the ails of your culture.  We live in an instant gratification world where people/employees/leaders want things to change for the better immediately. They want the negativity, dysfunction and toxic elements of the organization to be eradicated overnight.  But when it comes to your company culture there is no vaccine!

However, developing people and culture isn’t a drive-thru pharmacy. It takes time. It’s a process. It requires intentional rehab and development of how we show up as leaders and the culture we create with those around us. It takes commitment, discipline and focus.

Culture is dynamic which means it is being shaped moment by moment every single day by the way we Think, Act and Interact. Every member of your cultural ecosystem impacts the culture each moment and adds or detracts from the culture with their thoughts, actions and interactions. The best leaders and organizations realize that in a world that is changing quickly and where it is often easier to disengage, disconnect and become disillusioned or even disgruntled, they must have a proactive strategy to align the minds and hearts of their people.

The best team cultures don’t just magically happen, they are intentionally designed and led along the culture-shaping process. It’s not reactionary, it’s proactive. The best team cultures proactively teach, practice, rehab and work on developing the mindsets and behaviors throughout their ecosystem.

4 “musts” for leading your culture through times of change:

  1. Name It — You must be able to name what is working and what isn’t working within your culture. Honestly. It’s not a time for blowing smoke or making excuses, the best teams have the ability to be honest with one another and name the very best of their culture and spot the areas that are troubling. Only after we are able to name the current state of our culture are we able to move the culture forward.
  2. Define It — If you can’t describe the culture you are trying to create in the future than you can’t be surprised when it doesn’t exist. Language Drives Behavior. This is why the most successful and compelling teams and cultures have Values language that is clearly defined and linked to action and behavior. They have a vision for the future culture they want to create and clearly define the values they believe will guide them in that direction. Values become a compass for their journey not a poster on the wall.
  3. Plan It — The word culture gets thrown around very loosely by many leaders and within some organizations and then only becomes talk. It becomes vague and the words do not line up with action. The best leaders and organizations realize they need a cultural strategy and plan of attack. Culture is not an “add on” to the work you do, it is everything. So what’s the plan?
  4. Anchor It — Teams an organizations that lead significant culture change know they must anchor the values of their culture in everything they do. The vision they have for the future and the values that will guide them there become a living and breathing element for the ways in which they hire, onboard, develop emerging leaders, do performance evaluations, lead meetings and raise the bar on leadership throughout every level.

So, is your culture waiting for a magic vaccine or are you proactively rehabbing the culture you want?

The best cultures don’t just magically happen. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality. The process for developing high-performing and engaged cultures never stops and the best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to the continuous journey of development, vision, communication, engagement, authenticity, and action. The best leaders invest in their cultures and realize the health of the organization is an ongoing process that never stops.

At your next visit to your Doctor you’re welcome to get the vaccine, but for your company culture, remember, there is no vaccine for that!

About the Author:

Jason V. Barger is the globally-celebrated author of Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim as well as the host of The Thermostat podcast. As Founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, he is a coveted keynote speaker, leadership coach and organizational consultant who is committed to engaging the minds and hearts of people and growing compelling cultures. Learn more at JasonVBarger.com

Small Business Saturday, November 28

Small Business Saturday, November 28

November 28, 2020 is the 11th Annual Small Business Saturday celebration. This year is also the 11th year that the American Business Women’s Association has signed on to be a coalition partner for this very important initiative that encourages shoppers to support small businesses in their community.
According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97% of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community, and 95% reported the day of this event makes them want to shop or eat at small with independently-owned businesses all year long, not just during the holiday season. That’s great news!
We all know the negative impact the pandemic has had on most business in the past nine months however, it is the small business owner that has been the most effected in theses unprecedented times.  Let’s work together to support small businesses in our respective communities beginning on Saturday, November 28!