We Are Sunshine

Building a Team Starts With You

Thursday, January 4th, 2024

By Scott Nichols

In today’s world, most of us watch video clips online. If you’re like my son, you watch sports clips of athletes making the last-minute shot, touchdown or goal. What’s not shown is the other 99% of the game that allowed there to be a game winning shot. It’s easy to idolize a player and forget about the team. An interesting question to ask someone would be, “Is it the playmaker that wins a game or the team?” I am not sure what the results would be but, in my opinion and experience, the correct answer is the team.

This article is going to be a little different than the rest. I have a list of questions I am going to ask and answer about creating a winning team. I am doing it this way because I want to lay out exactly what it takes to create a team and identify the benefits of a team.

Why is it important to build a team?

This is probably the first question we need to answer. The simple answer is because you can’t do it all on your own. You can’t be at 100 different places 100% of the time.

I understand you might have systems in place you are able to control, and that way works, but it’s only part of the success. No matter what system you have in place, it takes people to run those systems and the success of those systems relies on the person running them. Building a team that has the same goals and mindset as you will allow you to be in a 100 different places 100% of the time.

I coach soccer and I can tell you it takes every single player on the field to win a game. In the game of soccer, you need 11 players per team on the field at once. If you are missing just one player (and only have 10) the other team has an advantage. Imagine if you only played with 9 players or 8?  The odds of winning dramatically drop. I think you can connect the dots when it comes to having a strong team in your stores.

But it’s more than just that. Once you build a strong team, others want to be part of it. I know I do!  Have you ever walked into a store and saw a staff you loved? Or ate at a restaurant and had great customer service? You think to yourself, “Gosh, I want to be part of what they are doing.” But it’s not just the one or two individuals; it’s the team they are on. The team has set the rules or boundaries that are established of what is expected. Sometimes this is verbally mentioned, sometimes it’s written down (goals) and sometimes it’s through actions. To fit on the team, you must abide by the rules.  If you don’t, you will be off the team before you know it. If 9 out of 10 employees have the same mindset and the other one doesn’t, then it’s a team of 9. The 10th person just happens to be there.

My daughter has a gluten allergy, and she has to be strict on her diet or else she gets sick. This means she can’t have anything that has wheat, such as most pizza, bread, dessert and pastries to name just a few.  The good news is there is a gluten-free bakery about 30 minutes from where we live. Whenever we are near the area, we stop in because of their delicious bakery items. Along with the great feeling of getting my daughter something sweet she can eat, what also draws me in is the team they have behind the counter. They are knowledgeable, happy and fun. Every member of the team does a fantastic job in helping us select the best bakery items.

I don’t know who the leader of this team is, but he/she has done an amazing job. They have built their team so well that I couldn’t pick out who is the owner, manager or employee. They were all on the same level because they all have the same goal in mind. It’s probably a good thing I live 30 minutes away because I would probably be there on a daily basis.

In terms of this article, what is a team?

I can give you a dictionary definition of the word team, but that’s boring and, in my opinion, meaningless. Instead, I am going to give you a few examples of the team around me and how we made it through Covid-19.

  1. During the Covid-19 shutdown, we had to cut whatever expenses we could. This meant only expenses that are vital could be paid. For example, we had a monthly subscription to a scheduling program and we had our electric bill. We paused our scheduling program and paid the electric bill. When everyone is feeling down and out and negative news is everywhere, a group of us stood strong and reduced our monthly expenses. It took us a few days to accomplish this, but we did it. Because of those involved we were able to cut back on our expenses dramatically!
  2. We had two employees who answered phone calls from customers who had questions on their memberships – if we were shut down, when we would open and much more. Our goal was to communicate with the customers and ensure them we were caring for them and their membership the best we could. We did just that!
  3. When we were allowed to open back up, our staff stepped up to ensure that each customer felt comfortable coming back in. We had someone create signs to show how we were taking extra steps in our cleaning, we had a small group go around and help ensure the stores were clean, and we had team meetings via the internet to help with communication, sales, cleaning and training. Our goal as a team was to ensure we got our business back in the safest and most efficient way.
  4. The shutdown happened right during our busy season. We lost a big opportunity with our EFTs. EFTs, as you know, help tremendously during the slow season. It took a while to get our memberships back, and there is no way possible this would have happened if it wasn’t for our team.

Each of these examples had their own set of struggles. There wasn’t a manual or book to tell us what to do. This all came down to having an awesome team that stuck with us. This team helped make the decisions that needed to be made and implement a plan that was successfully carried out.

How do you start to build a team if you don’t have one?

The first thing you need to do is understand it starts with you. If you are the “builder” or “captain,” then you need to look at yourself and determine if you are someone that others want to follow. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and determine your characteristics. Some key characteristics of being on a team are compassion, kindness, humility, and strength. If you have any of these, have you shown them?

If you look at yourself in the mirror, have an honest conversation with yourself and you’re not liking what you hear, then it’s time to change. Can you change right that second? Not necessarily! It’s one thing to say you want to change and another thing to actually change. Changing who you are will only come when you have been tested. How will you handle yourself when there is a conflict? How will you handle yourself when things aren’t going your way?

Building a team starts with you, and when you start leading by example, others will become attracted to you. It’s these people who will be part of your team, but it can’t happen until you are willing to make the changes necessary to yourself.

If someone doesn’t fit as part of the team, usually they leave on their own. Building a team will require having the same mindset and goals and if someone doesn’t share them, they won’t fit in.

I want to be clear on something: If you are looking to build a team, it’s not going to happen overnight.  It’s not like the NFL draft where you get to select certain people to be part of your team. If you keep working on yourself to be the best you possibly can, one day you will look around and realize you have your team.

Teams will change all the time, and you may have different teams for different aspects of your life. You may have a work team, a workout team, a church team and so on. That’s all great! Creating a team or being part of a team is something that is important for success. If you are going to take anything out of this article, please know this: With a team you are much stronger than by yourself and what you can accomplish as a team is limitless.