The Team Overview:
At an earlier time in my career, I was commissioned to be on a project team responsible for redesigning a company’s sales training program. The old program had become archaic and cumbersome and was obviously in need of a major overhaul. A number of individuals were selected to be a part of this project team. The people selected to work on this came from markets across the country and from various roles and positions within the organization. For many of us, this was the first time we had met each other, let alone work together and on such an important endeavor. We were brought together for a week of intense discussion and design.
Fortunately, the senior leadership team also provided this group with an outside consultant/facilitator to help guide us through the arduous task at hand. This person acted as a lead facilitator, allowing us, as individual contributors to think openly and discuss the topics freely.
Many people, in this type of situation, might expect that those in higher level management positions would automatically assume the leadership roles, while others would fall into the comfortable support roles they were accustomed to. This team responded differently. Those high level managers, while appreciated for their experience, knowledge and advice, for the most part, were open to new ideas and change in order to create a new program that would generate results. In fact, they were eager to take on their fair share of agreed upon assignments to help complete the development of the program.
What occurred was a true “team effort” from the entire group. Although we all had individual strengths, ideas, and expertise, all thoughts and opinions were openly discussed and evaluated. Some were good, some were not so good; yet they added value and we listened to each one. We had a clear direction and would have succeeded in any event; but, this open and collaborative process helped us to achieve our goal far more quickly than we expected.
The Take Away: Humility
A valuable lesson I learned from this experience is that humility is an important piece of a successful team. True team effort requires those on the team to forgo their individual needs and praise. This group of strong-willed individuals (all successful sales people) left their egos at the door to work together in a collaborative effort as a team. Because of this, everyone was able to take credit for the successful program created; and everyone appreciated the effort put forth by each other. We were able to share collective pride in the successful program we developed.