In our team (and at home) we have a few simple expectations.
We expect for instance, that people take responsibility, that they try their best and that they respect each other. I genuinely hope that your teams are built on the same principles. Human decency alone suggests that they should be common place. One expectation that may not be so common is that in our team we don’t want to hear the word “can’t”. I can’t do that! I can’t deliver, I can’t be like you, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. It is negative and smacks of defeatism. “I can’t” is banned from our team, and I suggest you ban it from yours as well.
Instead let’s try some positive version of the same :
I haven’t learned how to do that yet.
I am having some difficulty here, can you help me with ….
That’s new for me, teach me how you do that.
Each of these have a positive attitude, a belief that you can. You, your team members and your team deserve a “can-do” approach, not the destructive put down of I can’t. Ban it from your own vocabulary and ban it from your team.
It is one of the classic radio and television moments when an overexcited reporter to a football match shouts Goooooaaaaalllll ! into the microphone. This excitement and passion happens when a football team (the players on the pitch, the subs, the manager and support staff) achieve what they set out to do; score a goal.
In football, as indeed in most sports, the goal is quite easy to identify, sometimes it is even called a goal, although sometimes it is called a touch down, try, finish line, basket ….
As a team, you need similar clarity. There really is no point to work together without a clear purpose, a clear goal. Like in sports the goal can be achieved in many ways, depending on the quality of the various team members, but everyone needs to be clear on what the goal is, what specific contribution he or she is expected to perform, and what the plan is for achieving that goal.
Teams work even better when the goal is clearly linked to the overall purpose of the organisation and that this link is clear to all members in the team. Sounds so obvious, and that is the beauty. Do a quick recap, next time you are in the team meeting. Which goal are we aiming for, what is everyone suppost to be doing to contribute to this and why is it important that we reach this goal ?
Not doing so might well result in a bit of an own goal….
When we work together in a team or as a team, we do so because we realise (or sometimes the people who have put us in the team realise) that we can do more together than we can do on our own. Sounds obvious, yet anyone who has worked in a team knows that it is not always as simple as that.
You need positive team dynamics, and an environment in which mutual respect and trust are possible.
We have used the short acronym for TEAM, To Excel And Maximise as a guide for helping us set the right tone for the team work. We want to excel at what we do, not just as a team but also to each other in the team; not just do the job, but excel at it, be brilliant. We also want to maximise. Maximise our output, our reward, our confidence, our enjoyment at what we do. Together, but by doing so automatically we also maximise our personal ambitions.
A short acronym is no magic bullet, good team work takes dedication and commitment, setting the right tone and atmosphere in the team will help you and every team member individually To Excel and Maximise.