Wait. Did I read that correctly? I always learned that there is no I in team. How could you challenge my thinking like this? I haven’t even had my first sip of coffee yet!
Well, let me tell you a story about Rhythm’s SuperGreen team at our Breakthrough Conference recently held in Charlotte, NC, for about 150 guests looking for a breakthrough in their performance.
At this year’s conference, we asked every member a simple question. What can I do to better myself at this conference? In order to allow all of our participants to develop their own path of progress, we had excellent keynote presentations filled with great content. Patrick Thean worked with attendees on how to create a Winning Move with their teams. Cathy McCullough taught us three habits to develop for accountable leadership. Doctor Vogt shared with us how re-envisioning his Core Customer and reshaping an industry with his Brand Promise helped BioPlus grow over 100% a year. Then Joseph Grenny helped give us the courage to have Crucial Conversations to shorten the time between conflict and action. Each of these keynote speakers, and each of the breakout sessions, challenged our guests to leave with an actionable game plan to give everyone a positive return on their investment to bring back to their teams.
It got me thinking. If this is our conference and we are in charge of the content, how can we apply this to our team? I mean, we are supposed to be the experts on this, but do we practice what we preach? I kept my eye on the team and noticed that everyone had already taken it to heart, without being prompted. We were as prepared as any team could be with a complete run of show that mapped every minute for every team member and where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to be doing. Well, as Mike Tyson once famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” and we needed to roll with the proverbial punches that invariably happen once you’ve begun executing any plan.
Team members were always asking themselves, what can I do to make this the best conference ever for our attendees? What can I do for our presenters to make sure that they can concentrate on giving the best workshop possible? My teammate ran out to a nearby Starbucks to bring a preferred beverage to one of our guests when she overheard her talking about her craving. When she finally found the Starbucks, the break was over so she had to locate the breakout session the guest was attending and deliver it to her while she was working in the session! One problem solved and one craving satisfied, a win-win if there ever was one!
I wasn’t surprised as our team has been performing as a high performance team long before I joined them. Recently, when Hurricane Matthew was heading towards my home, I statused my employee health in my dashboard as red as I wasn’t sure how my work load would be affected by the storm, or quite frankly if I would even have a home to work out of anymore. I immediately received texts and emails from team members offering to take my calls, write my blogs and even offers of a safe place to stay to weather the storm. High performance teams, like mine, make it easier to find and develop A players needed to dominate the marketplace.
I think the clearest sign of how well we work together as a team is when cleanup time came. I have worked several conferences during my career, and I always notice that people tend to make themselves scarce once it is time to clean up after the party. We had several items to load into our cars to take back to the office, needed to tidy up all of the breakout rooms, help look for lost items for our guests and complete a long list of other things needed to tie up loose ends. I noticed every team member there and ready to help, with big smiles on their faces. They were putting the I in team. They were asking themselves, what can I do?
- What can I do to help a team member personally this week?
- What can I do to help a team member enhance his or her career this week?
- How can I make a team member smile today?
- How can I encourage someone to try something new today?
- How can I be a better team member day after day, year after year?
- How can I encourage a better work life balance for my team, without sacrificing production? (Hint: you can find eight work life balance tips here)
- Is there a team member that I could mentor?
- Is there a team member that could mentor me?
It’s time to buck traditional thinking and think about the I in team. If you weren't part of the team, then the team would be completely different. This doesn’t mean that you are to put your personal aspirations ahead of the team objectives; in fact, most successful people put their team’s performance ahead of their own and the promotions and accolades that they desire will follow.
So, what can you do today to put the I in team?