Yesterday was the BFA Chairman’s charity day where eight teams battled it out. Although frustratingly, I couldn’t make it, it’s got me thinking about teams. I think we might all be guilty of assuming that a collection of people automatically become a team, but, in most cases, it is never actually the reality. The classic example of this is the use of the term ‘sales team’ which very often is a group of employees automatically labelled as a team, whereas the reality can often be very different.
“Team” is a word that is overused, and, yet if you have a true team of people, who like and respect each other, and allow each other to shine in their area of expertise utilising their strengths, the world is their oyster and the sky the limit for the business they work in. If you have a collection of people thrown together, the chances of them becoming a high performing team by accident, are very slim.
We see lots of teams in the world of franchising. Some great and some in need of some TLC. The million-dollar question is always “how can you turn a group of people into a high functioning team?” – the answer is easily, and yet it’s not simple! The most effective teams I’ve observed or had the privilege to be part of, in and out of franchising, are those who understood that they all needed to take time to learn how to help each other (typically a strong leader was involved in their success, but I’ll save that for another day’s musing!). Whether that be emotional support or technical advice. They knew how best to communicate with each other and how people’s working styles and rhythms vary. A great team is not made up of a group of clones, but a mixed bag of style, personalities and abilities. The one given is that a great team will all have a shared vision or goal – creating an environment that then allows each and every member to flourish is the key, allowing them to each reach their full potential. At the BFA conference this year Pip, the Chairperson said “we are greater together”, meaning we are greater together than the sum of all parts.
When a team is born and works well it can purr like a well-oiled engine, with each member feeling secure and empowered to fulfil their part of the jigsaw to the best of their ability. High functioning teams are more likely to accept each other and their differences, enjoy their work and each other’s company, however different they may be as individuals. If a team hasn’t gelled, the opposite can be true, which leads to a negative experience for all and usually failure to achieve the objective.
So, my thinking on teams is: raise your head above the parapet and take a look around, embrace the team you have if it’s working well, and look to be brave and make changes if not. Maybe have the slightly uncomfortable conversation about how things could be changed – you can guarantee if you feel your ‘team’ could be better, others will feel the same. Life is short, being part of a great team can make our journey a fun and fulfilling one.