How to Unite a Business Team

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Scenario: "Dude, to unite people, we'll tell them they need to get along. Then they will. Yay!" Sure, most teams don't say that -- but from their actions, they promote the concept like a mofo. It's a horrible approach. Why?

Rule: You can't force people to get along.

Different values. Different approaches. Different philosophies on life. It's like you're trying to blend steak meat with whipped cream: It doesn't work. Try putting a staunch NRA member with a PETA activist in a room together, and see how they get along. The key then is not to make/force/coerce people to get along -- but to find and keep people whose values mesh with each other. (Shared values: That's how people really get along.)

"Then, how do I really unite people who share similar values?"

Use the fantab 3-step process:
  1. Know the common goal.

    It's the purpose for creating the team. What's the ultimate goal? For your team to be effective, you must have a clear, concise, one-sentence goal. That keeps team members on track to do only what's necessary, never wasting time and straying from the ultimate goal. Our tip: When you have that goal, write it down somewhere where the entire team will notice it repeatedly.
  2. Put people in positions where they'll kick-ass for the team.

    Every team member plays a vital role to the team's ultimate goal. If they can't kick-ass, they're "dead weight" -- and will only consume the team's limited resources. A team where everybody kick-ass in certain positions gets everybody dependent on each other to accomplish the ultimate goal. Say, you're building a 10-player professional basketball team.
    • You get a tall dude to get rebounds.
    • You get a quick and smart dude to take the ball up-court.
    • You get a dude who can shoot the ball anywhere on the court.
    • You get a powerful dude to score on the low post.
    • You get a versatile dude to do a little of everything.

    To win the game, everybody must work as a team and rely on the supreme talents of others.
  3. Invite healthy debate.

    Healthy conflict is vital to a united team's ultimate goal. John thinks that Model A works, but Tiffany thinks Model B works better. Invite productive discussions, so your team can fully understand differing viewpoints to make the smartest decisions. When you dissuade conflict, people start hiding their true feelings. That starts what we call the "political cycle":
    1. Amber to Bob: "I don't like it."
    2. Bob to Cassie: "She doesn't like it."
    3. Cassie to Davie: "Amber's been talking behind my back. What a %^^!&!"
    4. Turmoil.

    Uh-oh. Instead of having a healthy team that passionately works toward the ultimate goal, you get a team focused on politics and personal agendas. To avoid that, let the team know that productive conflict is absolutely necessary to build a kick-ass team.
So when you're out this week building a business team, remember:

A team united on an ultimate goal kicks ass.

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Posted on October 09

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