I was having a conversation a week or two ago with a couple of friends about growing business, teams, and the challenges each presents. We got to talking about how to specifically challenge team members to be great and having each member feeling fulfilled in their career path. Two big challenges for everyone. The goal is a team of magnets, pulling each closer together and growing in strength while working with one another.
A question was posed, “How can one person make this happen for 5, 10, 20+ people? That’s a huge undertaking!”
My answer was three simple and short words.
“Give a shit!”
If a person truly wants to build a lasting team, they’ll give first. If a person wants to complain about what they’re not getting from their team or team members, I will always challenge to look internally first. Own up to what isn’t happening and start caring more.
If you’re thinking the answer is too blunt, it probably is.
The great owners, entrepreneurs, leaders, teammates, and coaches, who make great progress with their units, CARE unconditionally for their team. They invest and don’t always worry about what they can get in return. There is enough shared confidence in the unit to pay it forward.
Over the years I’ve seen many teams grow, and many die slow deaths with selfish leaders. The teams who experienced tremendous success and growth looked after one another. In one powerful instance, I saw a very close team pray together. If you’ve ever seen this and stood admiring, it is quite a site! Good work Tim & Corey!
In other successful instances, I’ve witnessed teams push one another toward a shared vision by pulling each other closer to the mission. In each instance, the team had tremendous vitality and magnetism. This vitality and magnetism crushes every challenge, competitor, and opportunity in its path. To push through a challenge, pull the unit together.
In every instance, the successful gave a shit and limited selfish thoughts.
What does this look like in the business world working with cynical consumers everywhere? There is a story circulating the internet about Southwest Airlines. Maybe you’ve seen it. If not, it’s worth the read. Plane has Already Left the Gate, Receives THIS News, Turns Back Immediately. Someone at Southwest with a heart made the really simple choice to care.
I frequently listen to the audio book, Hyper Sales Growth by Jack Daly. Jack tells a wonderful story about a time when he was much younger working in a supermarket. He had an elderly woman shopping for a specific vegetable, and the supermarket was out of stock. She asked young Jack, “Can you please help me find the fresh spinach?” Jack’s response (knowing they were out of the leafy vegetable), “Of course, can you give me about 10 minutes and I’ll meet you at the checkout with the spinach?”
What did Jack do next?
He immediately took off to a competing supermarket. Took money out of his own pocket, bought the spinach (2 bags just in case), and quickly made his way back to the supermarket to meet his patron at the checkout. “Here is your fresh spinach Mrs.,” said Jack. This one is on us. Thank you for the continued support and patronage,” smiled young Jack ear to ear. He knew he’d done the right thing. His manager had taught him well.
Is there an ugly side to caring too much?
Of course there is. Not everyone will care. You will get your feelings hurt. Move away from these people quickly and get them the hell away from your unified team.
Have you ever seen a good sports team go out and buy the newest high-dollar free agent on the market, hoping to be great with the addition? What happens next? The superstar wants to do it their way, and the culture suffers. The team is actually worse off. I’ve seen it too many times. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work.
ACTION ITEM: You can choose to be the asshole and get what you want…(for a while). I hope you’re prepared to be hopelessly lonely. Why not choose caring instead and build something that lasts?