The power of teamwork

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I WAS training a few companies on the power of teamwork.

Why must people work in a team? Can an organisation grow without teamwork? What is teamwork?

The best analogy I can give you is the hand that you have. If all the five fingers are of the same length, will they be of any use? If you lose just one finger and you are left with only four fingers, will your hand be strong? I don’t think so. All the five fingers have different uses, functions and strengths. They all come in different sizes, lengths and positions.

I know one man who has a strong arm but he lost a part of his thumb. Is there any strength difference in the hand? Yes! He told me that he cannot carry heavy things like before.

In many organisations, there are many people who perform many different tasks and works. There is no one greater than the other. An office boy is as important as a manager.

I was training one company few days ago and they have outlets in Kuching. The business is good but there are only two top salespersons. Can the company depend on the two to sell all the products? Certainly not! Are these two salespersons the most important in the company? No! In fact, everyone is important! Where is the teamwork? There are storekeepers, counter girls, delivery boys, drivers, salespeople, supervisors, account clerks and assistant managers assisting the boss to run five outlets of the business.

How can we have a better teamwork at workplace?

COMMUNICATED VISION Most companies have vision(s). However, if it is not communicated well and consistently, it will not help the organisation to strive forward. There will be a number of people working but are sadly not heading to the company’s vision. Having one clear and simple vision is important for a CEO as well as for the front liners.

If you watch how ants move, you can tell easily they do have a communicated vision. They all move in one common direction. The ants are the best example of teamwork demonstration. They work together and normally move in one straight line.

ONE COMMON MEASURABLE GOAL All staff in the organisation must understand the common goal. When I was speaking at KAO (M) Sdn Bhd’s yearly convention, the directors wanted all the few hundred staff to know that in 2011 they are going for 6 per cent growth in their business, which is RM133.5 million. It is a clear one common measurable goal. Some organisations set goals which are not measurable and not clear.

It is easy to achieve anything which is measurable. Organisational goals must be numbered and achievable. Rewards must be mentioned too.

RIGHT PEOPLE, RIGHT JOB Put the right people for the right job and try not to train chickens to be eagles. Chickens can be trained to be excellent chickens but they are not designed to fly. Eagles are meant to fly, hunt and have totally different sets of skills. ‘Eagles’ of course are more expensive to employ than ‘chickens’.

Most bosses have tough times in recruiting, selecting, placing and terminating staff because they assign the wrong person for the wrong job. As I talked to more and more bosses, I realised that they are not trained to identify the strengths, weaknesses, abilities and talents for each individual candidate. Recruiting the wrong people and placing them in the wrong jobs can be detrimental to the organisation. Bosses need to know who is good for what kind of positions.

MOTIVATED TEAM Get your people excited to work not just because they have to, but are willing do the extra 1 per cent for the organisation. Bosses must look into ways on how to reward the eagles and enable them to fly higher in the organisation. It is better to train your eagles and promote them than to employ new eagles from outside. Unless you are growing faster and you do not have enough eagles currently, try to train them on new skills and prepare them for bigger roles. People are de-motivated when they stay too long in a job without growth. They need to experience growth, not only in monetary rewards but growth in many areas.

Growth can come in the form of new tasks, higher responsibilities, a new room for the promoted staff, more authority in decision making or opportunities to head certain projects. People love challenges and it is good to give your capable eagles challenging tasks so that they are forced to experience a mindset breakthrough.

INVEST IN TRAINING Why must organisations invest in training? The answer is simple. Training experts are trained to identify problems and issues to prevent further damage. Business is like war. If you have a strong and capable team to fight your business war, donít you have to equip them? Donít you have to train them to stay loyal to you, train them on a positive mindset and give them skills to perform your tasks effectively?

There are many types of training needed in an organisation. It can be technical training, computer training, language training or soft skills training. All these trainings are important. Therefore, in order to create a teamwork culture where all staff are excited to work with one common spirit, we need to train them constantly to prepare them to achieve one common objective, which is to create a one family workplace.

Jackson Ng is a professional trainer, speaker and business consultant, who trains many organisations in the area of human capital development.

For those keen to contact Jackson for team building training, please write to [email protected] or call 410030 for any training needs. For comments on his column write to [email protected]