“…it’s incumbent upon all members of our team to be citizens of our company and to come to work looking for opportunities to be on one another’s side.” – Danny Meyer, Setting the Table
When I say the word team what immediately comes to mind?
Sports? Yeah, I though so. But not so fast there! Cool your Tar Heels a minute and consider the word beyond the sports arena, court or field.
There are teams in every facet of our lives and some of you may not even know you’re on one.
The gas you put in your tank this morning? Brought to you by a team of people (some of whom never meet) working together to get it to your local station.
Your breakfast/lunch/dinner? Yep. A team brought that to you. Whether a farmer, factory worker or local grocer. Or from your favorite restauranteurs, chefs and servers – a team made your meal possible.
The point I am trying to make is clear. We are all on teams. Work, social, sports, politics – like it or not we wear an invisible jersey.
I looked the word up this morning, and Merriam-Webster defines team as:
: a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group
: a group of people who work together
After reading that definition I thought that there are a few things to learn from this definition and how it relates to business. (channeling my inner Danny Meyer here)
1. You can have a divided workforce – where teammates are in a constant power struggle for superiority vs. focusing on the communal goals and tasks at hand required to reach them.
2. You can strive to create a team that respectfully work together for common goals. Nurturing clear communication and constructive feedback to strengthen efficiency and ensure success. Quickly learning from mistakes and helping each other to reach a bit farther.
3. You can also sadly, and simply, have a group of people ‘pulling a cart’, so to speak, with blinkers on. Not talking to each other, not collaborating, not enthusiastic, not interested.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going with #2. every. fucking. time.
I can’t tell you how inspired and encouraged I have been as I read Danny Meyer‘s book Setting the Table. His view on the importance of healthy teams really jumped off the page this morning. A favorite quote: “Well, before our staff members can extend any kind of meaningful hospitality to our guests, they need to first understand the primary importance of being on each other’s side.”
A successful team works together for common goals. Each team mate encouraging and learning alongside each other. Do you always get along? Nope. But you talk with each other and not at each other to work through any communication snafu. The successful teams I have been privileged to work with happily collaborate and conversate. They not only practice what they know, they strive to learn new things to become better at that they are most passionate about.
Most importantly, they look for ways to help each other out.