Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Makes a Great Team Member?

It was 4am when the executive team eventually finished preparing for the group budget presentation that was to take place to the shareholders in only 6 hours’ time. They had started 16 hours earlier at midday – when the CEO had called his executive team together for what was supposed to be a final run through of the budget and the presentation. Yet as with many things in business things didn’t go to plan.
Now the sceptics will criticise an executive team that haven’t got their budget sorted out the day before the presentation to the shareholders – and you’ll be glad to know the executive team would be as critical as you, being very disappointed with their performance.
But this isn’t about the process but the team that I witnessed sticking together till 4am in the morning – 11 executives, 1 business analyst, 4 finance personnel and 2 executive assistants – all working together to get the job done. There was no ‘huffing and puffing’, no sulking, no angry words, just a group of people wanting to get the job done. It was very special to watch. Having woken up at 3am that morning to catch a flight for the meeting – I was definitely the grumpiest person there by 1am.
So what did each of them have that made them great team players that night? One thing that really stood out was the passion and the pride in the task at hand – they could have taken short cuts or simply finished earlier, saying enough was enough – and many teams would have, but they didn’t – they stuck it out. This highlights the need for discipline and patience: Where discipline allows the team member to focus on the task at hand and to see it through, without ‘negative’ distractions.
They clearly respected each other and though there were people there with different ‘pay grades’ that didn’t seem to matter as everyone ‘mucked in’ to get the job done.
The leader stayed calm and focused – not offering an easy way out – and the team followed him out of respect (and knowing that what was eventually presented would also reflect on them).
I’d suggest that it should be the aim of every individual within every organisation to support and develop a winning team culture. Operating in today’s business world, where we find ever increasing complexity and continual change in the competitive landscape, organisations need to rely on their executive, management and other related business teams for effective decision making, continuous improvement and sustainable growth.
It’s said that every winning teams requires;
A common direction; a shared understanding of goals and values;
 Skills of interaction to solve complex and diverse problems;
 The ability to continually challenge themselves and expand their capabilities in response to change;
 Focus on team and organisational performance, above individual performance.
 The commitment and culture to develop a winning team.
But maybe one of the hardest things is to have a team where all the team members are all as dedicated as one another - and can all be relied on, when the times comes, to step up and support each other.
One can’t describe in words what I saw that night – it wouldn’t do justice to the team and all the individual members. But I will never forget get it, as it was a team working in perfect unison towards a required goal, at a time when they were all tired and had other things to do (like sleep). The outcome was a great success and though exhausted they all attended the budget presentation at 10am that morning – it was a five hour meeting, finishing at 3pm (as we’re talking about an organisation owning 60 subsidiaries in 17 countries in Europe). But the conclusion was that the budget was signed-off by the shareholders and the team went home for some well deserved rest…..

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