With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day just behind us, I am reminded of his powerful words:
“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
This quote illustrates the nature of working together as a team that is committed to shared success. It’s a magical bond that we know when we experience it, but human nature can often draw us in to focus on our own goals as the most important driver of success.
When that happens, we lose perspective and push against rather than pull together. Shared success starts with the shared belief that goals can be reached better together. As Margaret Wheatley wrote in her book “Turning to One Another”, “It all begins when a few people start talking about something that they care about.”
I think the critical word in Wheatley’s quote is begins.
Strong teamwork is a something most people can get behind conceptually, but it’s much easier to talk about it than put it into practice. That’s why, in recent years, I have focused much of my coaching work on team development – facilitating connections that go beyond lip service and lead to achieving success together.
Highly impactful teams that work in this way become a unit so committed to a common purpose that they can’t not succeed. The question is, how do they get there?
I’m often asked, “What is the “secret sauce” that makes a team great?” While there’s no single thing, leadership is at the core.
Not just the designated ‘leader’, but all members working together, leading from their own place at the table to multiply success rather than pushing individual agendas.
Within that ‘leadership’ secret sauce are four key elements that allow teams to thrive together:
Articulate the team’s intentions
Gain alignment and agreements for working together
Ensure all are fully engaged
Leverage assets for mutual success
When I first bring teams together, I say, “Tell us about a favorite meal you shared.” Would you believe that most of the time people can’t remember what they had to eat! What I hear most is the setting, the connections, the shared experiences that happened in that moment.
Dr. King recognized that the interrelated structure of the moment is the secret sauce.
As leaders, focusing on the moments we create leads to something bigger than individual aspirations.
Over the next several blogs, we’ll take a deeper dive into these four elements and show how you can implement practices to gather your team around the table in an impactful way.
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