I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great teams in business, sports, schools and non-profits. As you know I’ve written a lot about what makes great teams great. But if I had to pick one word that defines a great team, it’s Commitment: Commitment to each other; Commitment to the team’s mission; Commitment to improving individually and collectively.
You can see when a team is committed or not. You can tell if they are all in or all out. You can feel whether they are fighting for or against each other. As someone who is passionate about developing positive, connected and committed teams I want to share with you and your team 5 Commitments of Great Teams. My hope is that you will read these together as a team and make these commitments together.
1. Commit to Giving 100%- It’s hard to quantify 100% but we know when someone is giving their all to the team. We can tell who is working and who‘s slacking. To become a great team each team member, especially the leader, must commit to giving their all to the team. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a personal life or must work 24/7. It means your effort demonstrates you care. It means you don’t go through the motions or do just enough to get by. It means your team knows they can count on you to do what must be done and you’ll do it exceptionally well. It means you share the best within you to bring out the best in your team.
2. Commit to Getting Better- Great teams are always striving to get better. They are always looking for ways to continuously improve individually and collectively. They have positive discontent which means that even when they are succeeding they are identifying what they can do better. They don’t settle for average or good because they believe greatness is possible. As part of this process great teams are not afraid to have difficult conversations to discuss what they need to do to get better. As part of our positive teamworkshops and consultingmyself or one of our consultants guide teams through this process and it’s amazing how it always makes the team better and leads to greater commitment in the future.
3. Commit to Staying Positive- I see too many teams give up because they get discouraged. Negativity creeps in, doubt grows, fear divides and the team falls apart. Great teams stay positive through the challenges and encourage each along the way. A few years ago I worked with the Miami Heat and they started the season with only 11 wins and 30 losses. They could have become energy vampires, blamers and complainers and given up. But instead they stayed positive and finished the season with 30 wins and 11 losses. A mirror image of the first half of the season. It may sound cliché but so often the key to accomplishing great things as team is to simply not allow negativity to sabotage your team. You stay positive together, you keep believing together, you keep working together and you succeed together. Check out this Positive Team Pledge and consider signing it as a team.
4. Commit to the Team’s Mission- Every great team not only has a shared vision and a greater purpose but also team members who are committed to the vision and purpose. On a lot of teams people are committed to themselves and their own goals but on great teams, team members are also committed to the mission of the team. Think of a group of NASA scientists all working together to launch a rocket and astronauts into outer space. Think of a team of automotive designers working to create a new car or a group of musicians committed to a new album. Each person has their own individual goals and ambitions but they come together and sacrifice their time, talent and energy to serve the team’s mission. It’s amazing when it happens and the world is transformed by teams who are committed to their mission.
5. Commit to Each Other - I asked a business leader, a coach and a principal of a school when they realized their teams had become great. They all said when we served each other instead of ourselves. Great teams commit to each other by serving and sacrificing for each other. On days that a team member may not want to do the work or feel like getting better or even show up, they do so because they are committed to the other members of the team. Their connection leads to a greater commitment. It’s not about what “I” want that in that moment. It’s about what the “Team” needs. It’s not about me. It’s about WE. When team members commit to each other they find a collective strength and greatness they won’t find on their own.
Great teams have a great culture driven by great leadership. Relationships are meaningful and teammates are connected. The collective attitude is very positive and everyone on the team works hard to accomplish their mission.