TEAMWORK: A Heartfelt Message from the CEO

 

I’ve been thinking….

… about teamwork and how critical it is to an organization’s success. The strongest and best companies have a very deep understanding of teamwork; they know how vital it is to their personal success, organizational growth, and customer satisfaction.

Let’s say you have a choice–

…Play for a championship team OR
never come close to making the playoffs.

…Work for a high-performance company OR be part of a mediocre outfit just getting by.

…Grind away at a job where the group never seems to click OR be part of a high-powered unit that produces record-breaking results.

Odds are you would choose the champions. Why? Because winning is more fun. Job satisfaction climbs sharply when your team gives a “shoot the lights out” performance. High-performance teams are also safer. People look out for each other. Jobs are more secure, too, because good results protect the people who produce them.

This year, teamwork has been more important (and more difficult) than ever. Teams have been stretched as we all adjust to a new way of life. That’s why I recently took the time to remind my own Standard Bank team of the key attributes organizations build into their fabric to support teamwork and foster success. I hope you can pass along the same reminders to your team during this difficult time.

 

Teamwork means every part is vital.

Every person in your organization must understand that every employee has something to offer (none of us are so good that we can fill every job in the organization better than anybody else). We all have our own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some are good at sales and some don’t have a sales bone in their body. Some are very detail-oriented people and some just have a knack at being able to make things happen. Some can read and better understand financial statements and some have a gift for managing outstanding customer relationships.

The interesting thing about running a business, is that it requires teams with a vast array of talents to produce an end result. If a business solely hires a bunch of look-alikes, everyone may get along perfectly; however, the business would be highly unsuccessful (a dozen drummers wouldn’t create much of a marching band…). Diversity adds depth in mindset, allows us to see points of interest through different eyes, and creates a stronger and deeper organization. The greatest challenge we have is to encourage people of different mindsets to work together.

 

Communication keeps teamwork alive.

Communication breathes the first spark of life into teamwork and communication keeps teamwork alive. Nothing else is so crucial to coordination of effort and no other factor plays such a precious role in building and preserving trust among teammates. Communication is the make-or-break issue. There is no hope of orchestrating a coordinated team effort unless good communication precedes action.

 

Play your position and play it well.

Know your job and get really good at it. Learn the extra details or master a new skill. Teamwork, by definition, implies interdependence. What you do affects others. Your team depends on you for their success, so make sure you are physically and mentally available to them. As we have all been working crazy hours and our lives have been turned upside down during COVID, this has certainly been challenging.

 

Spend time with those whose opinions differ from yours.

As I mentioned previously, diversity is vital to your team. That’s why you should work to understand what makes another team member click and understand their point of view because, odds are, you need it. It’s OK that we are not all alike. In fact, it would be very detrimental to any business if all employees thought alike! Successful teams have members that think differently, which gives the team more holistic, in-depth discussions and problem-solving skills. Your customers are likely comprised of a vast array of individuals with varying opinions and they simply want to know that your business—AS A TEAM—will care for their needs. Their experience with your business has to be seamless, just as your teams need to be seamless.

 

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Good teams focus on ALL of the above issues ALL of the time and monitor their success. No team ever reaches “the end” because there is always something to improve on. A team’s ability to adapt, change, and become better is what makes the team great as a whole.

 

Last but not least…

BE PREPARED TO SACRIFICE FOR THE TEAM.

Things won’t always go your way; even if you are the overall decision-maker in your company or firm. Occasionally, we are called upon to make change for the betterment of the team despite our longstanding desires to keep things the same. Change is inevitable; however, we should never sacrifice moral and ethical values as we gravitate into a new way of running the business, managing personnel, or caring for customers. Ultimately, we do what is best for the business as a whole. Sometimes individuals sacrifice for their local team, and sometimes local teams sacrifice for the company team as a whole.

 

This year, the business community and American people have also been part of a great team amid the pandemic. Know that Standard Bank supports our local businesses and are an integral financial partner for our customers.

We’re here for you, and from one local business leader to another, I wish you well in the last quarter of 2020. May your teams stay safe and strong and may you find creative ways to grow your business successfully in the years ahead.

 

Andy Hasley
Standard Bank President and CEO