Chris J Powell

What is in a Team?

So my daughter’s Football team hit the field on Saturday night and well lets just say they did not leave much of an opportunity for the other team to get to celebrate in the end zone as the final score was 48 – 0.  Now there is some amazing talent on that team but from the second that the team hit the field it was not once about the individual and for the 3 hours that we sat, stood and cheered in the bone numbing cold…it was about the team!  Now why is it that it seems so easy to take a bunch of kids and turn them into a group with a single minded  purpose but in our own lives it is so darn hard to get past the egos on our own “Teams”?

By definition, teamwork is identified as the cooperative effort by the members of a team to achieve a common goal.  Now the biggest failure of today’s modern workplace Team is exactly that.  If only 5-10% actually write down our Goals and are actively pursuing the completion of those goals then how can we expect a Team to work “cooperatively to acheive a common goal” when there is likely no goal for the team let alone the individuals on the team.


Now Teams as we typically know them are rarely by our choosing and are more than likely built either by random “lottery” or by skill set assignment but rarely by looking at who will work well together.  This is a challenge for both the Team and for the Leaders of that team but in focusing on the development of a team, it is important to focus first on the individual.  While ideal it is rarely the case that at the outset all members of the Team will have common goals and even more likely that only a handful will even have a Goal in the first place.  This is the number one priority to build an effective team and an effective leader…Build and Nurture Goal Setting Skills!


I am very self disciplined and do not need alot of poking or proding.  I know what I want at the end of the day and have built a series of Goals, Counter Goals and Strategic Check Points to help me look to achieving those Goals.  I have had several meetings with my own Team Leaders about these Goals and what I need from them to achieve them but the thing that amazes me is that I am alone in this and to the best of my knowledge I am the only person to have set out this type of personal Success Action Plan and shared it with the support team that is in place for me to leverage.

There really is no excuses for people to not have Goals.  I have several, and I have several Success Actions Plans.  All of these smaller Goals are connected to one overarching Life Changing Goal.  This is not something that I came up with over night, it is something that I have struggled with, been challenged by and have worked dilligently on for the past 5 years.  I know know what I want from my Carreer, from my Marriage and from the Social Activities that I participate in.  It may have made me a slightly less spontaneous person but I think that that is a fair trade off…as at the end of the day…the Goals and my Plan are both set to give me what I want and when I look in the mirror I can honestly say that I am proud of what I have accomplished!


Now how does a leader take this inward focus of an “individual like me” and then both foster the individual goals while supporting the broader Team Goals…simple it is about achieving Synergy.  When we look at the purpose of a Team, it is about this over arching function that a Team has a purpose to combine the strengths of individuals and by functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.  The old addage “The Sum of the Parts is Greater than the Whole” still to this day sounds really hokey but in fact if you look to dynamics that build a strong team…that is exactly what happens but it does come from the focus of the individual members of the team looking to the Common Goal.


In Sales this may be a Quarterly or Yearly Sales and Growth Target.  In Manufacturing it may be Quality or Production Standards.  In IT it may be Service Levels, Project Completion or End User Satisfaction.  We are all members of Teams.  If you are not setting Goals I strongly suggest you take some time, find some focus…write down your first Goal and then set a plan in motion to achieve that goal…don’t make the big goal today…start small…Goal Achievement gets very very addictive!

When a Group is all moving in the same direction, working together for a common goal…guess what…you may find your 48 – 0 in your life and when that happens you can look to your right and look to your left and know that it was together that success happened…now that is a satisfying feeling at the end of the day!




Chris J Powell

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