Read an Excerpt
INSTANT TEAM BUILDING
By BRADLEY J. SUGARS
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Bradley J. Sugars
All rights reserved.
Vision, Mission, and Culture
The first place to look when setting out to assemble your dream team is at your company. Remember what I said about only getting the staff you deserve? If you want to attract a better quality of person than the ones you currently employ, then you've got to change various things about your company.
It's just like baking a cake. If you've always baked chocolate cakes, but now you want to try an apple crumble, then it's no use sticking with the recipe for the chocolate cake. You've got to get a recipe for an apple crumble. If you don't, you'll continue to produce chocolate cakes. It's as simple as that.
So how do you go about changing your company to attract the type of person you're after? You need to go back to basics and review your vision, mission, and culture.
Yes, that's right. You need to re-examine the very fundamentals of your business. You need to look at its core values and ideals and then change or realign those that would deter would-be team members.
So how do you do that?
Well, start with your company's vision. By the way, it may surprise you to know that the vast majority of businesses don't actually have a Vision Statement. Yes, I know the owner may have a rough idea of where the company is going or where it would be nice for it to go, but the point is most don't have a well-thought-out and articulated Vision Statement that is written down for all to see.
And here's something else that may surprise you: Of those companies that do have a Vision Statement, the vast majority seem intent on keeping it a secret. That's right. No one except a handful of their senior executives know anything about it at all. I often ask the first person I come across when visiting a business—usually the receptionist—what the company's vision is, and do you know what? They never can tell me. I find this shocking, because if a company's people don't know what they are aiming for, how will they know in which direction to aim? How will they know what their progress is and whether they are moving closer to or further away from achieving that vision?
I'm a firm believer in giving people ownership of the overall vision of a business; in that way they will all strive for the same thing. They will also all have similar values and appreciate the same general ideals. They will all identify with the business and with each other as team members.
So, what then should a company's Vision Statement contain? What, for that matter, is a Vision Statement?
Let me answer that by means of an example. I'll use one of my companies, ActionCOACH, as an example.
When I set out to build this company, I built it with the end in mind. In other words, I built it according to how I envisaged it when it was finished. This is very important, because it affects everything you do in your building stage. Your vision, mission, and goals will have to take this into account.
My vision for ActionCOACH is:
World Abundance through Business Reeducation
Notice it is world abundance, not Australian or Southeast Queensland abundance. This sets the tone for the whole company and its future. It also dictates how others see us.
The Vision Statement is the long-term goal of your business. And by long-term, I mean 100 years. Don't mess around with short-term goals here. We're talking about the grand picture of what your business will be like when its finished. Think of it as the strategic intent of the business.
Vision Statements are meant to be living documents. By that I mean they mustn't just hang in the boardroom or some other hallowed place where they never get seen. They should be prominently displayed all over the place where absolutely everyone can see them all the time. You see, it's critical that your entire team identifies with the Vision Statement and accepts it as the team's vision too. Whenever I recruit new team members, the very first thing I discuss with them is our vision. I let them know what we are striving for. If they can't identify with it, I tell them they're welcome to leave then and there.
Let's now consider the Mission Statement.
Again, many businesses simply don't have one. If yours is one of them, then before you do anything else, spend some time developing one. But before you do, do you know what a Mission Statement is?
The Mission Statement states how your business is going to accomplish its vision. It is obviously going to be very much more detailed than the Vision Statement. It should clearly spell out the following:
Who you are.
What business you are in.
Who your customers are.
What makes you different from your competition.
This last point is very important. It's something you need to spend time getting clear in your own mind first. You see, the day you differentiate yourself from the rest, you won't have to compete on price anymore. That's why a Giorgio Armani shirt costs very much more than one from K-Mart. I mean, they might very well be made from the same material and in the same factory, but the Giorgio Armani costs more precisely because of marketing differentiation.
To illustrate what I'm getting at, let's consider the Mission Statement of my company, ActionCOACH.
Once again, this is discussed with every applicant during the interview process. It is explained and talked about at length. Applicants are given the opportunity to ask questions and to say if they feel comfortable or uncomfortable with it. If they don't agree with it or feel it doesn't excite them, they are invited to leave and look for a company that better matches their outlook.
Here are a few great questions to ask yourself when developing your Mission Statement:
1. What do you, as a team, want more of?
2. What do you, as a team, want less of?
3. Describe the kinds of relationships you wish to have with your
Once you have written down your Mission Statement, look over the statements below and check those that are true:
___ Is the Mission Statement future oriented?
___ Is the Mission Statement likely to lead to a better future for the organization?
___ Is the Mission Statement consistent with the organization's values?
___ Does the Mission Statement set standards of excellence?
___ Does the Mission Statement clarify purpose and direction?
___ Does the Mission Statement inspire enthusiasm and encourage commitment?
___ Does the Mission Statement set the company apart from the competition?
___ Is the Mission Statement ambitious enough?
___ Am I excited about the Mission Statement?
Understand that it's vitally important to have a good Vision Statement that is backed up by a comprehensive Mission Statement. But that's not the end of the story because, just like different countries, businesses need to operate within a specific culture. You see, countries have rules and regulations that their citizens collectively establish (through democratic means in most civilized countries), yet they go about their daily lives according to the culture that they happen to have. This means that, while the Italians and the English might both have similar rules and regulations that govern them, they go about their daily lives entirely differently. They eat different food, they speak different languages, and they have different moral codes of conduct. The English, for example, would find it rude to talk loudly in public, whereas the Italians certainly wouldn't. The Spanish don't consider it rude to interrupt while someone is talking, whereas the English do.
Think of a company's culture in much the same way. It's the way the members of that company go about meeting their objectives. It is their guide regarding all those unwritten, yet important, social issues that help give a business its character. It is that guide that lets team members know what is acceptable and what is not. It is a collection of values that lets every team member know what is most important in terms of thoughts and behavior.
Now, here's another thing you need to bear in mind; most companies don't have their culture written down so that everyone knows precisely what's expected of them.
Did you know that, unlike not having the Vision and Mission Statements, every company actually has a culture?
You see, if you don't proactively decide what your company's culture is going to be, your team members will do it for you. It will just happen; it will evolve over time all on its own. So my message to you is to take control and set one up with the help of your team. This is most important, as you'll want them to subscribe to it.
What types of things should you include in your Culture Statement? Well, it's generally a 12-point statement that includes the following:
Your three most important values as leader of the company.
Your team's three most important values.
Your customers' three most important values.
Your company's three most important values.
Here's what we have in place at ActionCOACH. Once again, it is discussed at length with all new team members at the time of their initial interview. Doing so saves us a whole lot of time and helps us find people who will fit in well with the rest of the team. We always find the right people from day one as a result.
This is our Culture Statement:
Action's 14 Points of Culture
I give myself and everything I commit to 100 percent until I succeed. I am committed to the Vision, Mission, Culture, and success of ActionCOACH, its current and future team, and its clients at all times. You will always recommend products and services of ActionCOACH prior to going outside the company.
I am truly responsible for my actions and outcomes and own everything that takes place in my work and my life. I am accountable for my results and I know that for things to change, first I must change.
I always speak the truth. What I promise is what I deliver. I only ever make agreements with myself and others that I am willing and intend to keep. I communicate any potential broken agreements at the first opportunity and I clear up all broken agreements immediately.
Good enough isn't. I always deliver products and services of exceptional quality that add value to all involved for the long term. I look for ways to do more with less and stay on a path of constant and never-ending improvement and innovation.
I speak positively of my fellow team members, my clients, and ActionCOACH in both public and private. I speak with good purpose using empowering and positive conversation. I never use or listen to sarcasm or gossip. I acknowledge what is being said as true for the speaker at that moment and I take responsibility for responses to my communication. I greet and say goodbye to people using their names. I always apologize for any upsets first and then look for a solution. I only ever discuss concerns in private with the person involved.
I totally focus my thoughts, energy, and attention on the successful outcome of whatever I am doing. I am willing to win and allow others to win: Win/Win. At all times, I display my inner pride, prosperity, competence, and personal confidence. I am a successful person.
I learn from my mistakes. I consistently learn, grow, and master so that I can help my fellow team members and clients learn, grow, and master too. I am an educator and allow my clients to make their own intelligent decisions about their future, remembering that it is their future. I impart practical and useable knowledge rather than just theory.
I am a team player and team leader. I do whatever it takes to stay together and achieve team goals. I focus on cooperation and always come to a resolution, not a compromise. I am flexible in my work and able to change if what I'm doing is not working. I ask for help when I need it and am compassionate to others who ask me.
I have a balanced approach to life, remembering that my spiritual, social, physical, and family aspects are just as important as my financial and intellectual. I complete my work and my most important tasks first, so I can have quality time to myself, with my family, and also to renew.
I view my life as a journey to be enjoyed and appreciated and I create an atmosphere of fun and happiness so all around me enjoy it as well.
I always look to the system for a solution. If a challenge arises I use a system correction before I look for a people correction. I use a system solution in my innovation rather than a people solution. I follow the system exactly until a new system is introduced. I suggest system improvements at my first opportunity.
I am consistent in my actions so my clients and teammates can feel comfortable in dealing with me at all times. I am disciplined in my work so my results, growth, and success are consistent.
I am a truly grateful person. I say thank-you and show appreciation often and in many ways, so that all around me know how much I appreciate everything and everyone I have in my life. I celebrate my wins and the wins of my clients and team. I consistently catch myself and other people doing things right.
I am an abundant person. I deserve my abundance and I am easily able to both give and receive it. I allow abundance in all areas of my life by respecting my own self-worth and that of all others. I am rewarded to the level that I create abundance for others, and I accept that abundance only shows up in my life to the level at which I show up.
When thinking about what values you'd like to encourage in your business, take a moment to answer the following questions:
1. In order to fulfill our Mission, what are the most important characteristics each team member must have?
2. What must we as an organization focus on to be our very best?
3. What qualities must we look for in the people we hire? Which qualities do you want each team member to value the most?
4. What are the characteristics that would conflict with the organization as it fulfils the Mission?
Are you beginning to see the importance and value of having in place good Vision, Mission, and Culture Statements? Can you see how these set the tone of the business and affect the types of people who will be attracted to your business?
Putting Together the Dream Team
Before we consider ways of ensuring you have the team of your dreams in your business, let's consider for a moment just what a team is. According to the dictionary, a team is "a group of people who are on the same side." It is also "a group organized to work together." But there's more. In old English, the word refers to offspring or family. Isn't that interesting?
In my business, my team is considered part of my family. You should consider yours to be too. You see, if you regard your team members as family, you'll treat them a whole lot differently than what you would if they were just "staff," wouldn't you? Think about it. You may have noticed I never refer to my people as staff; they are members of my team.
Here's another meaning of the word team: Together Everyone Achieves More.
The overall feeling here is one of togetherness. The word conjures up an impression of inclusiveness. And this is important, because when you really think about it, everyone in your company has a unique and equally important role. None is more important than the others. They all have a distinct purpose that plays an important role in the overall well-being of your business. If they didn't, then there's something wrong with your structure. You see, in business there should be no freeloaders. Everyone should have a unique and distinct role to play in helping the company achieve its Goals, Mission, and Vision. It's as simple as that.
But there's another dimension here that needs to be highlighted. Team members not only have to fulfil a particular function within the organization, they also have to fit in with the rest of the team as far as compatibility is concerned. You know the old saying that one rotten apple spoils the basket? Well, it's true in business. It all comes down to your company's culture. Finding the right match is vitally important when selecting team members. That's why I involve my entire team when looking for a new team member. You see, team members are the ones who have to live and work with the new team member, not I.
So how should you go about ensuring that you match the members of your team up well with each other? The first thing to do is to consider the different behavioral styles people have. I do this by means of the DISC Personality Profile.
Excerpted from INSTANT TEAM BUILDING by BRADLEY J. SUGARS. Copyright © 2006 by Bradley J. Sugars. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.