Momentum Podcast: 840

The Key To Team Cooperation

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

As an entrepreneur, one of the skillsets you will develop for leading your team is to create cooperation over competition. While some healthy competition among team members can be beneficial, competition that becomes systemic can lead to destructive forces such as politics, silos, and turf wars. Instead, entrepreneurs should create opportunities for cooperation with their team to create a strong culture.

In the companies I ran in my twenties, cooperation was nonexistent and competition was rampant. At the time, I thought that dealing with infighting, lack of clarity, and conflict was just part of being a CEO. I learned an important lesson that lack of clarity creates competition, and clarity is the key to creating cooperation on a team.

In this podcast episode, you will learn the three areas that I focus on in order to create a performance culture within a team: clear outcomes, radical responsibility, and constant communication. By establishing clear outcomes, assigning radical responsibility to team members, and fostering open communication, a team can create a culture of cooperation and achieve greater success.

Full Audio Transcript

If you're an entrepreneur with a team, this podcast is going to be immediately relevant to you, especially with you with a larger team. If you're someone who is just starting out and maybe you have a few people who are helping you, then this podcast is also critically relevant to you in understanding how to build an organization where you create cooperation over competition. Competition is so challenging in an organization when it becomes systemic. This is how we get politics. This is how we get silos. This is how we get turf wars. This is how we get a team that doesn't talk to communicate with or cooperate with each other. I want to help you with this issue today. If you're an entrepreneur who has a team or is starting to build a team, then one of the key factors that you want within that team is cooperation. You want your team supporting each other. You want your team to have each other's backs. You want your team to communicate with each other when they need something, and you want them to be working together in a way that they are all working to grow the business and serve your customers and move things forward together. Now, that's not to say that if you have a sales team, some healthy competition through the sharing of who's doing well and who's really performing is unhealthy. It's actually healthy. But when competition in a company becomes systemic, it can be an incredibly destructive force. You've probably heard terms like silos where departments or teams are not talking to each other. They silo together. They're they're kind of closed off from each other or politics. When people in the company start being political, they start rather than performing and trying to show how much they performed. And rather than helping each other, they start trying to help themselves rather than the organization or turf wars where one department starts fighting with another department. And all of these conditions can be incredibly frustrating on a team for you as a person running the team, but they are just as destructive, just as challenging, and just as frustrating for the people working within the team. In fact, if you have really high producers, really high performers, what we call “A players”, they won't stick around very long on a company, where there is, or in a company where there is silos or politics or turf wars. In fact, they'll go looking for somewhere where they can cooperate with people. They'll go looking for somewhere where they can feel like they are members of the team. And here is a high-level explanation. And, you know, this is simplified. There's other things that are necessary in order to create true cooperation in a team. But I want to give you one of the most important aspects of or one of the most important functions of being the CEO of a company and creating cooperation. Let me tell you where this comes from. So recently I was meeting with one of our consulting clients, and I don't do a lot of consulting, but right now I've got a couple of clients that I'm helping at a high level with their businesses. And we were talking about some of the challenges that they're experiencing with their team where there are some people talking poorly about each other. There's some rumors going around. There is some frustration within team members. There's departments that seem like they're competitive and they're not really helping each other. Like when a project isn't done, one department will say, “Well, we did what we needed to do. It's really that person's department”. And then the other department will say, “Well, we didn't have clarity from that department”. And so there's this contentious environment on the team right now that is challenging. And when we as the CEO, as the person running the business, is the person in charge of the vision, is the person in charge of moving things forward, have to deal with that type of contentiousness, that type of competition, that type of lack of cooperation. It is exhausting. I know. I know how exhausting it is. When I was younger, I'm 50 now, and when I was younger in my twenties, I ran a large team where I didn't understand this concept, and cooperation was nonexistent. In fact, competition was rampant, and I didn't even know I knew how frustrating it was. I knew how challenging it was to run my team. I knew how much conflict we had, and I knew how often people seemed to be stabbing each other in the back. But I didn't understand why. And when I was younger, I thought this was just part of having a company. As a CEO, you have to deal with the infighting. You have to deal with the people pointing each other's flaws out. You have to deal with the lack of cooperation. And what I didn't know, and I'm willing to admit now, even though it's kind of painful, is that it was my issue. It was my fault. It was my responsibility to clear this up. I just didn't understand that lack of clarity on a team creates competition. And all of the symptoms that I've just mentioned and clarity creates cooperation. That's the key. When a team is clear as to where they're going, when they're clear about what their responsibilities are, when they're clear about what is happening and what is what is the outcome. That's when you create massive competition. And I have three areas that I look at in a company or on a team or in any organization to understand and say, “Hey, do we have what it takes to create massive clarity here?”. It's what I call creating a performance culture. And the equation for a performance culture is clear outcomes, radical transparency and clear accountability. And here's what I mean by those three. So first, clear outcomes, that means there is a clear definition of what is expected from every person on the team, what is expected from every successful project on the team, what is the operating capacity and expectations for every department within this team? And then what is the outcome for the company as a whole? And you want clear outcomes in all four of those places with clear outcomes for people, projects, departments and the company. Now the second part of this performance equation, radical transparency. Here's what I mean by that. There are clear scoreboards. Give that give your team perspective as to whether they are doing the right thing or not, whether you're making progress, whether things are going well or not going well. Now, it's not always important that the scoreboard shows that things are going well. It's just important that there's a scoreboard that gives you and your team perspective. And again, I would run these through the same thing. Does every person on your team know what you're using as a scoreboard to see if they are successful? Does every project your team is executing have a clear list of milestones that you can check off to say, “Hey, we're making progress along the way?” And does it have clear measurements like this is what the successful project looks like? Does each department on your team have clear scoreboards as to what is happening in the department and what metrics you're tracking, what milestones you're tracking for them as a department? And does the company have clear scoreboards? Do you have a critical number? And if you don't, you can look up my podcast called Critical Number. It's one of the most important measurements in a company. But does everybody understand the financials? Do they understand whether you're profitable? Do they understand where you're making money? Do they understand the important scoreboards in the company crucial to create massive cooperation on a team? And then the last part of this performance culture– clear outcomes, radical transparency and clear accountability. Does each person on the team understand what they're responsible for? Does each project have a list of responsibilities for the people that are involved? Does each department understand what the dividing line between them and other departments are as far as responsibilities go so that departments aren't reaching in, you know, competing with each other and inadvertently sometimes trying to do the right thing, but ending up doing the same thing in two different departments or overlapping on responsibilities, it makes it incredibly challenging. And then the last one is clear accountability within the company who is doing what in the organization as a whole. See, when you create an organization where there's clarity, here's what happens. People pull together, they support each other, they have each other's backs, they communicate more with each other. You tear down silos, you eliminate politics. You don't even allow turf wars into the equation. And you get to a place where the team is functioning as a team. When you look at incredible coaches of any sports team. And by the way, I'm not a big sports person, but I do watch documentaries about sports because it's so similar to running a company. And when you look at any sports team that has been successful, here's what happens to get on the team. There's competition to get your place on the team. Sometimes you have to knock somebody else out, but then once the team is solidified, once the team is pulled together, they create radical clarity. Good coaches create radical clarity as to where the team is going, what the clear outcomes are for that team, how each person is being measured and judged to know that they're fulfilling their duties on the team and what each person is accountable for, not only only in their position, but in the workouts that they're doing in the preparation they're expected to do in the way that they support the rest of the team. And you can do this same thing in your company. And so if you have a team where you're starting to see some finger pointing, where you're starting to see some blaming the other person, where you're starting to see a lack of communication or a lack of cooperation, you can look at the people and say, Hey, it's their fault, but it's so much easier and far more productive to ask yourself, Do I have clear outcomes for every person, project, department and company? Do I have radical transparency in the form of scoreboards, metrics, milestones for every person, project, department and company? And is there clear accountability down to the human being, each person, the project, the department and the company? And if you as a CEO sit down and just take this framework I've given you of clear outcomes, radical transparency and clear accountability, and then ask yourself, do I have this for each person on my team? Even write down the person's name and say, Here's their outcome. This is their scoreboards. This is what they're accountable for. Here's what I think you'll find. Because every CEO I've ever worked with, almost every CEO finds this: There's places where there's a missing scoreboard. There's places where accountability isn't clear. There's places where maybe the outcome is clear to you as the CEO, but it's not clear to the entire team. Going through this process of asking these three questions. Do I have clear outcomes, radical transparency and clear accountability for each person, project, department and company? And where you have deficits, filling those in will completely shift the energetic of your team. You will see cooperation, pulling together mutual support and a ton of momentum and moving towards your vision and your greater goals. This is one of the most important thinking exercises, contemplation, exercises you can go through as a CEO. So if you haven't done this recently, take a minute today, find some quiet time for yourself, hydrate, maybe walk before, sit down and go through this thought exercise. And where you see deficits, start filling those in and you will see an amazing shift towards more productivity, transparency, cooperation and momentum on your team. I'm excited for you to do this. And if you are a CEO who's running a business and you've just started building a team or you have a team, we would love to help you. I run a company called Simple Operations dot com. If you're a podcast listener, you already know that if you're new to the podcast, welcome. And as a means of introduction, we help visionary entrepreneurs grow the businesses that they want without ever having to feel like they are doing it all themselves. We show you the simple operations system that will help you create everything that I just talked about, this podcast on this podcast and so much more, where you have a team of true believers that get out in front of you, help you achieve your goals and get you to where you want to go. If you're interested in understanding more, go to simple operations dot com. Take a minute, register for a call with my team. We'd love to see if we can help you, And remember, lack of clarity creates competition and all types of other symptoms on a team. Clarity, radical clarity, intense clarity across the. The framework that I shared with you creates massive cooperation and even better, massive momentum. Thanks for being here today.

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