The Team Comes First

This blog post is a follow up to one of the two topics we didn’t get to discuss in-depth on last week’s webinar, The Strongest Team Wins: How to Build a Team that Gets Things Done. If you were unable to attend, click the link to view the recorded version of the webinar.

“Team first” is a popular mantra in sports and business, but when it comes to walking out the idea of team first, the idea can quickly stall out. So how do we make team first a reality?

Leader: Establishes the team-first mindset.

  1. Assembling teams based on strengths. Project teams should be built based on the skills needed to accomplish the project, not titles or egos.
  2. Once you’ve assembled your team, set the expectations. This includes:
    • Defining what the team is set to accomplish.
    • Highlight the individual strengths of each teammate. Explain why each individual is present and what that individual will be counted on to accomplish.
    • Finally, reinforce that though each individual has his/her own responsibilities and role, the team will operate as ONE.
  3. Team goals – share it and post it. It’s fine for teammates to have individual goals, but the primary focus and driver behind the team’s actions should be the team goal.
  4. Know the threats. Dangers such as poor communication, internal competition, and gossip undermine the momentum of even the strongest teams. Discuss how you’ll avoid these pitfalls.

Teammates: Live out the team-first mindset daily.

  1. Strengthen weak links. Every team has them. It’s the responsibility of the team to help them get stronger.
  2. Protect the team. This is at the heart of the team-first mentality. It doesn’t mean hiding mistakes; it does mean sacrificing for the better of the team.
  3. Be open about selfishness. When our projects or pride is on the line, the tendency is to default to a me-first mindset. Instead of pretending that selfishness it doesn’t exist, discuss what you’ll do when it arises.
  4. Serve each other. Teams don’t leave a teammate hanging.

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