“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
For emerging businesses, the right team culture can be the difference between success and failure or scalability and stagnation. We love Henry Ford’s quote because it illustrates how team-building is an ongoing process—and one that’s just as crucial to growth as the right financing.
Tapping The Teamwork in our DNA: Go Buckeyes!
Great leaders build great teams. But that doesn’t happen by accident. It helps to understand the ways teamwork is literally wired into our brains. In the Harvard Business Review, psychology researchers & neuro-leadership experts Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer make their point with two sports examples.
Great leaders are “entrepreneurs of identity,” they explained. We embrace our tribal nature and seek to shape the identity of fellow group members. Human beings evolved in groups, and most of us still work in groups every day. This is why sports fans can show up to a stadium and immediately share a common purpose with 100,000 complete strangers.
But coaches are the greatest team-builders of them all. Van Bavel and Packer point to one tactic that translates directly from the locker room to the boardroom: rewarding collective success versus individual performance.
Case in point: The 50-year-old college football tradition behind the Buckeye stickers on Ohio State’s helmets. In 2001, a new head coach flipped the way players earn Buckeyes. Instead of rewarding a player for scoring a touchdown, for instance, every player on the offensive unit would get a sticker if the team scored more than 24 points. It’s the idea of favoring teamwork over individual performance.
It paid off almost immediately— the team not only won a national championship the following year, HBR explained, but the Buckeyes have been one of the most successful teams in the country ever since.
At work, when a person starts to identify with a group, it triggers a fundamental shift in their goals. Events and decisions that were once associated with oneself (“what’s in it for me?”) are now evaluated in relation to the group (“what does this mean for us?”). That shift to a healthy team mentality is one of the most important psychological breakthroughs a company can have.
Teamwork Secrets From Inside Google: What is Psychological Safety?
Leadership expert Chee Tung Leong set out to define how Google builds the world’s best teams in an article for Forbes, and his results may surprise you.
We talk a lot in business about the virtues of bold thinking and risk-taking. But Leong found that Google placed as much emphasis on creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable taking bold chances as they do being vulnerable in front of each other. This “psychological safety” was a crucial dynamic to the success of the highest performing teams, according to Leong.
Self-preserving behavior is natural in the workplace, Leong explained, but it can erode the foundation of effective teamwork and damage coworkers’ ability to learn from each other. When team members feel safe expressing ideas around each other, they are more likely to collaborate, admit mistakes, and take new opportunities. Creating a culture of psychological safety can put your team on par with the world’s most innovative companies.
Ultimately, the best team culture is as unique as you and your employees. But we think making these proven teamwork concepts part of your company’s 2018 game plan is a smart play. At Next Edge, our lending partnerships start with straightforward conversations rooted in trust and continue as a team effort in every way. If you or your clients need a financing partner that sees shared success as a winning strategy, contact us today.