Who’s on Your Team?

Christmas In July (Part 3)

Yesterday, my husband, Mark, and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. It is more than a celebration of the number of years we have been married, it is the celebration of a partnership with complementary skills, shared goals, an aligned vision and two people jointly willing to pull their weight without dependency. We are a team.

Companies that embrace the concept of Christmas in July mid-year planning and employ initiatives necessary to realize the revenue in December need a committed team. The owner or one member alone will not accomplish the goals no matter how great the ideas are or how hard you work. Santa without elves probably yields a pretty empty sleigh.

First, do you have the people on your team who are ready, willing and able to take leading roles, fully commit to the objectives and bring a passionate focus to the mission? Does your team work as a team or are they a collection of individuals that share little, including risk and reward? Are your team members willing to be mutually accountable?

Before you say yes, because you have leadership, really take a tough look – have the roles and responsibilities become the job where energy, creativity and willingness to push are a bit tired? (see post called Fearless.) You may want to bring in a string of players tasked with key areas for making the initiative successful. Your existing leadership team may be re-energized by the spirit and enthusiasm that those who have not had the opportunity to play a key role in an initiative can bring. It is not going around your team it is working through the team.

Once you have decided, who should be on the team, consider the challenges and opportunities that each team member brings. You need to get ready to “sell” your concept and create buy-in. It may seem strange that you need to “sell” to your selected team but you will produce far greater energy and creativity with less resistance than any mandate will bring. How you sell and get people excited will most likely ripple through the people they talk to.

Once your team is in place and you have gained the commitment necessary, defined the objectives and tasks/roles have been accepted, there is a lot of work to do. A number of pointers can be found in the post “When the Ink is Dry.”

Mark and I never would have guessed as high school sweethearts where our partnership would lead. It has been filled with opportunities, a few adventures, great times and some decisions that were not our greatest. Over the years we have met people who were a part of our team for a project or a time period, others who are permanent members of our team and had the opportunity to really enjoy the energy and pride that our children brought to our story. Those children, now grown, are taking everything that they experienced with us and through us to levels far greater than ours.

That is the true reward of a great team, when the benefit, experience and achievements are greater than the initial plan. The team you build, whether for an initiative or a lifetime, is a powerful force not to be harnessed but given guidance, objectives and counsel with freedom to exceed.