Paul's presentation of his experiences was very moving, and inspirational. I believe him being here to talk through and being able to ask questions first hand was great.
How to build that better team?
At the moment I reading a great book by James Kerr on the All Blacks called Legacy. It explains in basic terms why the All Blacks have been at the top of the Rugby Union world since they were formed.
Basically, everybody buys into the philology of the All Black and they accept the responsibilities given to them to be the best in the world. It's about accountability as well, where things go well they celebrate as a team and if things don’t go well they all take it on the chin.
So, what defines the modern All Black outlook to being the best in the world 'BETTER PEOPLE MAKE BETTER ALL BLACKS' it's as simple as that if the All Blacks are to be the best they need the best people, and to do this they need to invest in people.
It's not about a few leaders driving the team forward or followers gathering around a leader and going with the leader's thoughts or opinions. The All Blacks believe everybody should be the leader and in that case everyone drives the team forward.
It's not just about the present, it's about the future as well and the All Blacks have a mind set about leaving the jersey in a better place.
So, what does the All Blacks teach us about better teamwork and the bigger picture of better health and safety? The All Blacks as stated earlier in this blog, all accept the responsibilities and are accountable to the performance they put into each training session and games played.
Organisation's need to look to enhance the mind-set of the person at the sharp end and improve their teams. To do this the organisation needs to ask the following areas.
Influence - who has, who do they and why
Standards - where do they set them and why
Legacy - what do they want to leave - the organisation and at home.
These three areas have been overlooked by many because lots of organisation concentrate on the product, whether the production of it or delivery. There has been a shift recently towards people and their understanding of the world, but does the safety manager or say the production manager really know what drives the team or the members of that team separately.
I'm not saying that persons in a management role need to be a councillor to everybody or Sigmund Freud getting each employee to lay there and bare their soul. It's about understanding what inspires each member to delivery their best. (I didn't say motivate because the only person that can motivate someone is the person themselves.
So, what should the manager (leader) do to drive the team forward and leave a legacy to be proud of? I would say that for one, we need to look at Herzberg Theory on Motivation. With his study the best way to motivate (inspire) or what motivates an employee are these areas achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility and promotion. You notice that money (salary) plays very little in driving the team forward.
What Herzberg is stating is the leader (manager) needs to hold regular team meetings to praise the team with the achievements they have reached, give the team responsibility to delivering the results needed and finally, invest in the team to so they can be promoted within the organisation. Richard Branson put it best about employees at Virgin, 'we train our employees to leave Virgin, but we give them the desire to stay!'
It's about developing a team spirit where good habits are formed and where the team self-police themselves in working in a healthy and safe manner, where the organisation gets it products to market and the team have a sense of achievement and are recognised for the work done.
The leader (manager) is in a hard place because they have to balance the needs of the organisation and those of the team, and especially each member in the team. You only have to look at football teams and when a manager gets the sack, it is mainly due to losing the dressing room and a poor run of results.
This is where the leader (manager) needs to brave and realise that they can't please all the people all the time. It's about knowing what battles to fight and the ones not to fight. The leader (manager) needs to set their stall out earlier and set the standards required, but most importantly they need to keep the standards consistent, as one little slip after another will be punished by the team and all the hard work put in at the start will disappear in a puff of smoke.
It's very much like parents and children, the children asks mum for some money for sweets and she says 'NO', so, they go to dad and he says 'No', so they go back to mum, who sticks to her guns and says 'NO'. This time they start playing up around dad and because dad wants to watch the sport on the tele, he gives in and the children get the money they want. The standards are now set the children know that mum will stick firm, but dad will buckle if they play up, while he is watching sport on the tele.
So, to conclude this month's blog if an organisation is to progress with a more tight knit teams, they need to have leaders that recognise and celebrate the achievements of the team more, give them the education to go for promotion and finally the responsibility in setting the standards to deliver the product.
To do this it is about understanding what influences the team members, who set their standards and what legacy they want to leave behind them.
BETTER PURPOSE, BETTER STANDARDS, BETTER LEGACY!