By Christina Welty
My husband and I enjoy watching Good Bones on HGTV. We originally started watching because it takes place in my husband’s hometown of Indianapolis, but it’s refreshing because the mother-daughter team of Karen and Mina are candid about the hard work required to renovate homes. Even though they are the stars of the show, the entire team who helps make the renovation(s) possible is shown throughout each episode. Even Mina’s favorite catch phrase is “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”.
This idea made me think about our company and all of the people responsible for our successes over the years. One of the aspects our company focuses on is teamwork.
Here are some ways we have created a culture of teamwork in our workplace:
1) Before we get started, let me explain that teamwork does not mean that you work together ALL the time. We have several departments and client teams within our organization, so we divide the workload. This means that each department manager or Account Executive for each client must break down all of the pieces of the puzzle with the end goal in mind in order to accomplish a task. Ideally, the manager assigns tasks based on each person’s strengths, expertise, and interests. Of course, not every task will be your favorite, but it is beneficial for team members to work on tasks that interest them.
2) Department meetings – As mentioned above, there are several units in our office (Member Services, Account Executives, Upper Management, etc.), who meet on a regular basis. This is a perfect time to brainstorm about any issues that have come up and ways to solve these issues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Oftentimes, someone has been through a similar experience and can offer a suggestion about a way to solve the issue. You might be too deep into the situation and just need a little inspiration or a chance to see things in a different way.
3) Not to be confused with department meetings, each client team also holds regular meetings. It’s easy for us to get caught up in our own projects, so these meetings are used for quick informal updates on where everyone is on a project and/or leading up to convention time as well as to obtain input from team members. This is also a good opportunity to cross-train team members so we know everything each team member is responsible for and can fill in where needed.
This particular idea came in handy when the unthinkable happened at a recent Annual Conference & Expo. One of our team members had a family emergency and had to leave the convention early. Because of the team member’s consistent work leading up to the convention and team members knowing what tasks this person was responsible for onsite, we were able to band together and make it happen.
4) Share samples or ideas. Our teams are very willing to share ideas – this could be anything from a successful fundraising idea, a sample brochure for recruiting more members or a budget template. These tools are the perfect way to run with an idea, while adding your own flair and customize for your particular client. Why start from scratch? This saves times and is collaborative teamwork at its best.
5) Icebreakers – During our monthly staff meetings, the facilitator chooses an icebreaker for the group. Everyone participates and it is a chance to laugh and learn a little more about each other. We try to keep them brief (5-10 minutes), so it does not take up much time, but goes a long way in creating a team atmosphere for the whole company. Since we usually work with the same group of people, this is a nice time to get to know others that you wouldn’t typically interact with on a daily basis.
6) Have fun together. Potluck lunches and events after hours are two of the activities that our social committee coordinates. This is a great way to kick back, relax, and get to know people on a personal level without worrying about the next deadline.
These are just some of the ways showing how “Teamwork makes the Dream Work” at our company. What other ideas have worked at your company?