We recently conducted a very productive – not to mention extremely fun – annual executive retreat. It combined the key Team Members from Falak Consulting, and Falak Enterprises (the company that owns the DreamBody Centre brand).
We strategised, brainstormed, and argued – in addition to playing games and doing some fun bonding exercises. In one exercise, we each had to write out a true story about “outstanding team spirit” that we’ve experienced. This was quite an eye-opening exercise. We wrote down the underlying threads of each story, and came up with a list of thirteen of them.
So, without further ado, here are the thirteen elements of creating outstanding team spirit:
1. External time pressure:
Virtually every story included the team having to meet some external deadline, which galvanised them to work hard and as a unified team.
Synergy is when things are combined that create an effect greater than the sum of their separate parts. I think it was in the book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens where a pizza analogy was used. A delicious pizza is created by combining bread, tomato sauce and toppings. If you ate the bread, the sauce and the toppings separately would the pizza taste as good?
Of course not, it’s the combining of the ingredients that makes the pizza so tasty. In each of the stories the Team Members shared, they spoke of how “the Team came together”, and “how we felt we were on the same page” and “totally aligned.”
This is vital in creating team spirit. In all the stories that were shared everyone knew their role, and the team communicated the whole time. You can’t be on the same page if your not communicating constantly.
Everyone reported that there was a feeling of loyalty to the organisation and/or to the cause. Most importantly everyone was loyal to each other.
5. Proactive mindset:
You can’t achieve outstanding team spirit if you have negative people on the team, or people who refuse to pull their own weight. While at university I disliked group projects because invariably there would be someone who brought the energy down, or simply did not work as hard as, and was not as committed as the rest of the team. This often lead to conflict and very low productivity.
But if you have a group of individuals who think proactively, and positively, you can achieve the impossible!
6. Specific Goal:
All of the stories included a specific goal that everyone was working toward, combined with the deadline. You can’t achieve great team spirit if the team is not working towards something. That’s why you should always have quarterly, annual and five-yearly goals. And of course a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).
7. Innovative thinking:
In most of the stories there was a specific challenge that needed to be overcome, which required – dare I say it – “out of the box” thinking. The Team Members were not afraid to challenge convention and think in unusual ways.
In every story, someone took charge and led the team. You simply cannot create outstanding team spirit without good leadership.
9. A sense of pride and ownership:
Everyone was proud to be working on a specific project/goal/challenge. There was also immense pride in the final outcome of the work. Furthermore, everyone had a strong sense of ownership. They felt as if the outcome was theirs.
I love audacity. My Mac defines it as “ a willingness to take bold risks”. Everyone felt like there was nothing to lose, and that they should be bold. Be audacious my friend, audacity is a big contributor to success and happiness.
11. Faith and trust:
When you are working hard as part of a team towards a certain goal and/or a tight deadline, you never know if – and how – it will work out. All you can do is have faith, and trust that the process will work. If you’re cynical it’s highly unlikely that you can be part of an outstanding team.
Every person reported how much fun they were having during the work. I believe that every leader should make his or her work environment as fun as possible. What’s the point of doing something if you can’t have some fun while doing it?
13. Humility and respect:
Everyone noted how there were no egos in their individual experiences, and how everyone had complete respect for each other. Inflated egos are the antithesis of team harmony. Want to have a highly productive team? Get rid of the egotistical people that ruin it for everyone else.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and talk to you soon.