Here is a question for you, “How many employees does it take to make a mocha coffee drink?” Well if you are in the business of burgers it takes an impressive 5 people to make one 20 ounce brew. As I waited my turn I witnessed firsthand and watched the scene unfold… Sometimes it takes an incredible amount of teamwork to perform even the easiest of tasks. Members of a team need to know how to listen to one another, as well as know when they have reached their own personal limit and need to bring in reinforcements.

coffee-small.jpgIt started out when employee #1 took the order from the customer. He paused and gingerly took a 20 ounce cup; a great start but he just stood in front of the machine. It was clear he did not quite know what to do next. Employee #2 stepped in and offered to help when she saw that employee #1 was in need of a more team based approach to the task at hand. Almost immediately you could see the distress on employee #2’s face as she realized that she also needed some help with this matter as well. In jumped employee #3 who looked as if this person was an assistant manager. Now with three employees, one taking on the role of the leader, they were able to at least grab a manual to find the instructions. This seemed to get the ball rolling…until the manual they found was outdated and did not include the instructions for the newly added menu item.

Bring in the reinforcements! The manager stepped in, ignoring the manual or lack thereof and poured in some type of chocolate mixture. When this was completed, the group took a millisecond to bathe in the success of making their (what looked like) first ever mocha at this particular establishment. Then employee #5 was brought in, who had no idea what obstacle this team had just overcome, and was given the instruction to give the 5 employee made, 20 ounce cup of joe to the awaiting customer–smile and all.

The best saying is not always, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” As stated above, productive teams have a culture of trust and accountability and must work together. This particular team leader did this by allowing his team to attempt the task at hand without his influence or intervention. However, when the task seemed to be too daunting for the 3 employees involved, he did what a leader should and working along with his team, delegated the tasks needed to find the missing pieces and complete the equation. We can all be leaders, as part of being a team is assisting a leader in the leading of others. Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and staying together is success.”

Dr. Steven Stowell and the team at CMOE define Teamwork as: A group of people who: Combine their energy and efforts to achieve common goals, are committed to achieving the team’s goals, fulfill their roles and responsibilities, and have defined processes, procedures, and mechanisms that enable them to function at peak performance.

Productive teams have a culture of trust and team members are accountable for the team’s results. The team’s leaders and each team member invest in the team through their behaviors, attitudes, and actions. Teams are the mechanism by which organizations can unlock world class results for customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

In this day and age of drive-thru’s, instant messaging and the World Wide Web, sooner is not only better—it is required. And in most cases, this requires some teamwork.

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About the Author
Charity Martushev

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