“Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they’ll find a way to screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a good team, and they’ll find a way to make it better.”
– Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code
At every company, in every industry, a cohesive team goes a long way in being effective and competitive in your market. Using Daniel Coyle’s New York Time’s Best Seller, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, we will break down 6 keys to establishing a cohesive team.
1. Establish a Clear Mission…
“The goal needs to be right to get the team right, get them moving in the right direction, and get them to see where they are making mistakes and where they are succeeding.”
― Daniel Coyle
There are leaders that see this think “We’ve already done this. We have a mission statement on a document somewhere.” If this is you, you may want to rethink your position.
Purpose is dug out in the trenches. It’s developed over time by those doing the work. Your mission statement only has meaning if it’s a part of your company’s everyday business. If you don’t establish a mission deep within your team, how do you expect your company to adhere to it? Or emphasize it to your customers? How will they respond in tough situations if the mission isn’t clear? Ask yourself these questions and take action. Don’t let your team become reactive.
2. Focus on interactions…
“It’s more important to invest in good people than in good ideas.”
― Daniel Coyle
When we enter the hiring process, our view narrows and becomes more linear. We know what skills we need, so we focus on finding those skills and implementing them into our arsenal. But we are not managing skills, we manage people.
As a leader, your mission is to ensure that your team is aligned in vision and wants to be a part of your culture. If you hire based on skills only, the chances that you’ll have the right person in the right chair is minimal. Without the right people, how successful can your team really be?
3. Keep communication open…
“I screwed that up are the most important words any leader can say.”
― Daniel Coyle
We perform our best once we have a sense of belonging and safety. It is the leader’s job to establish this safety by breaking the ice for everyone else. Along with listening to their employees, a great leader demonstrates the importance of transparency. Owning your imperfections, admitting your mistakes, and showing a little vulnerability in your interactions lays the foundation of safety. Lead the way to open communication lines in your team.
4. Break up silos…
The best way to keep lines of communication open between departments is to break up the silo mentality in your office. The best way to do this is to create an unofficial environment outside the office where your team can connect in a different way.
We’ve all been to the company happy hour or a bowling night with our team. Yet, in most cases, these types of environments do not cater to true communication building. They’re missing the key component of a challenge.
“Overcoming challenges together boosts employees’ engagement, inspires and motivates the team to continue working towards common goals.”
When leaders choose to take their teams out of the office and into the outdoors, they’re connecting their team in a way that uncovers everyone’s individual abilities and work styles. A day spent hiking in the woods, mountain biking, or even having a business meeting lakeside disarms employees by putting them in an unfamiliar environment. Furthermore, if you add activities like rock climbing or kayaking, your team will put into situations where they have to rely on one another. This type of challenge is a quick and impactful way to establish new relationships and break up silos and cliques.
5. Celebrate success…
“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”
Your journey in business will be riddled with failures and mistakes. Don’t worry about trying to remember these moments, they’ll be hard for you to forget. What’s harder to focus on are the little victories that come with them. Remember, reward your team for victories no matter how small. These gestures need not be big, but wins need to be recognized. A simple thank you can go a long way.
“…thank-yous aren’t only expressions of gratitude; they’re crucial belonging cues that generate a contagious sense of safety, connection, and motivation.”
6. Take care of each other…
“Belonging cues are behaviors that create a safe connection in groups. They include, among others, proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn taking, attention, body language, vocal pitch, consistency of emphasis, and whether everyone talks to everyone else in the group.”
― Daniel Coyle
Creating a safe environment isn’t something that can be picked up from an article or a book. It isn’t the job of your HR department. It is the iterative practice of the leader. It requires your time, patience, and focus to instill it in your team. Hire the right employees. Be transparent. Listen to your team. Challenge your team outside of work. By following these principals, you’ll build more meaningful relationships with your employees and in turn, a more successful future.