If you have been in business for any length of time at all, you probably have experienced or heard of a team horror story. A story of toxic relationships, poor communication, and heightened conflict. A story where energy and motivation were crushed, and grumbling and frustration were the order of the day.
This is not another of those stories. The story we would like to tell today is about the power of team health to ensure successful performance in business. The reason we want to tell the story is because just as negativity breeds negativity, so positivity breeds positivity – and we want to show you a great example of team health to give you confidence that you can become the next great example of team health.
One of our clients is a manufacturing company with over four decades of history behind them. Within the past few years, they have been growing rapidly within a competitive market. They have been implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) during this time with our facilitation, and it has made a real difference in their performance and growth.
Of particular interest, there is a remarkably healthy relationship between the father, who is the principal owner of the business, and his children, who run the business on a day-to-day basis. The level of trust they have established among themselves is admirable. For example, they are very comfortable arm wrestling with each other about any number of business issues. They can disagree with each other without making the conversation personal. They discuss the facts before them and support whoever’s point of view makes good sense for the business.
But there is more. The behavior between the father and the children is an incredibly powerful model for the rest of the members of the leadership team, such as the senior executives who run the various departments of the business. Because the family members treat each other with such respect and push each other to stretch their thinking to make decisions that are best for the business, they are teaching the rest of the leadership team those behaviors by example.
One by one, every department – production, human resources, finance, customer service, marketing, and so on – has gotten stronger because the leaders of those departments are passing on what they themselves see modeled at the highest level of the company: respect, communication, engagement, collaboration, and sound decision making. We are continually struck by how team health at the top cascades down to the whole company and makes the entire business stronger as a result.
So forget team horror stories. Create your own team health story. As a leader and as a leadership team, model the behaviors you want your employees to emulate. People will take their cue from the top – they always do. As you create a healthy leadership team, you will see healthy teams replicated across your company … and you will be astonished at what those healthy teams can do.