School has started again, bringing frowns to summer-loving children and grins to college football lovers everywhere, including myself. Yes, I’m excited about this fall season, new players, new coaches, new plays, but in the end the only thing that really matters is whether or not they can act together as a team. Even in business, teamwork is one of the most important keys to success. All businesses talk about it, many even have posters framed, matted, and prominently displayed with awe-inspiring quotes about it. You might find yourself endlessly preaching about it through e-mails and meetings, hoping against hope that your requests, demands, and pleadings will somehow turn your office into a well-oiled machine of efficiency.
I have heard some advisors say that some people will never understand or be able to be a team player. Maybe you do feel like teamwork exists in your company culture, but it hasn’t been achieved to its maximum capacity or is present in only a few miniscule situations, most likely not the situations where it is most needed. In all actuality, a business’s growth and success is directly tied to its member’s ability to work together as a team. Instead of finding excuses outside of yourself for why it isn’t working, look inside yourself for the solution.
As the star player of your team, your employees need you to continuously communicate to them your vision and reasons for every major decision that you make. If they don’t understand your vision then you might as well be sitting back-to-back in a canoe paddling furiously and going nowhere. Your team needs the stability of knowing that when you develop a plan, you are going to stick with it. There’s nothing worse than a quarterback agreeing on a play in the middle of a huddle and then changing his mind after the ball is hiked. Team communication is not just a one-way street. While communicating your ideas to the team, it is important to allow your teammates to provide you with their opinions and ideas. Showing your appreciation and consideration of their contributions is important to your team’s morale, whether or not you use their ideas every time. As that famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”