In the book It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton and attributed to African proverbs, the concept that it takes a whole village to raise a child, to me also speaks to the idea that for businesses to truly succeed, it takes much more than just a good leader. Rather, it takes a whole team of committed and enthusiastic employees to make that success – and then to continue the momentum over time.
In my last blog post I talked about the need to stay relevant, to change with the times, and how that is critical over time as organizations transition from start-ups though mid-life and then to future generations. I mentioned that it also needed to be a team effort. I very much believe that this is not only true, but really the cornerstone of success. Even the true visionaries and genuine thought leaders of business were only able to succeed with the “buy-in” of those that did the day-to-day work. It is those who embrace the leader’s concepts and also push themselves to advance that will make a difference. Over time, this effort not only helps a business grow and succeed, it also allows the individual to grow – to achieve more and contribute ideas that will advance their career path.
Within organizations, both small and large, you will find individuals that have different roles. Some are directly involved in generating new business/sales, or in nonprofits, the ones who bring in the donor support. There are others that manage the day-to-day operations – keep the machines running, manage workflow, schedule services calls, etc. We also need people who will take care of the wide variety of regulations that all organizations need to pay attention to – HR, legal, etc. Some of these roles we may have been hired in to – others we found ourselves assuming responsibility for when no one else was available. This concept is also very interesting, in that for many rapidly growing organizations, responsibility is not given, but rather it is taken. When our team members look to grow and contribute more than what is asked of them, then that is when forward momentum begins to happen. And when multiple people combine their efforts, then really great things happen!
Teamwork can also come from outside of your organization as well. Consider your employees that are tasked with a certain objective and they take it upon themselves to reach out to their friends or others in the community to gain knowledge or different perspectives. Perhaps they lean on a trade group or industry association for assistance – or seek out advice from a local community college or Chamber of Commerce. These resources can provide valuable information to help an organization grow beyond its internal limits.
When organizations are growing, especially at fast rates, the challenge of building teamwork is often easier. A culture of excitement and a desire to prove yourself as an individual that can help the organization grow is dominant. Each person quickly rises to the challenge, or if not, then the core group looks to move on with finding other worthy team members. As organizations mature however, the challenge becomes one of continually reaching for new achievements and adapting to the industry changes. If not, and the team becomes complacent or comfortable, then momentum can be lost!
How is your team positioned?