New York Times bestselling authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton have written a new book, The Orange Revolution: How one great team can transform an entire organization . As an author who also writes about teamwork (and has written Teambuilt: Making Teamwork Work), I’m picky but I really like this book. I believe you’ll find the examples and ideas very helpful in your own efforts to create or improve teamwork.
In the following excerpt, Adrian and Chester share four of 101 secrets to building a better team:
Ever been part of a great team? Then you know the sense of pride everyone experienced. The French call this concept, esprit de corps, or the spirit of the body of people. It’s about pride and satisfaction in the accomplishment of a team.
Now for a moment, imagine your own team at work.
Do you they display esprit de corps? Maybe Jimmy’s grouchy now and then, or Susan takes every sick day and personal day she can, or maybe Ryan gossips about teammates behind their backs. Perhaps your team is not the sleek vision of the esprit de corps ideal you might have hoped for, but you know they’re all talented. If you could only get them to work together, you know you could create breakthrough results.
The question is how?
Over the past two years we’ve been studying the “how” of teamwork as we wrote our new book, The Orange Revolution. We commissioned a 350,000-person research study to determine the characteristics found in the most profitable, productive teams. In other words, we wanted to know how you get a team of people to love what they do, and love doing it together. It’s a puzzle for many who want to instill a sense of camaraderie, unity and excitement in work teams. In every story of success we found, there was a moment when a team decided to be, well, a team—to like and respect each other, to work and play together. …yes, we said “play” together.
Think about it. How would you rather spend your days? Working with a bunch of buttoned-down stiffs whose idea of fun at work is rolling up their sleeves, or with people who have fun at work like the teammates at Lego America who zip around campus on scooters, or at Principal Financial Group where employees arranged mini golf courses in their offices, or Ben and Jerry’s where factory workers take home a couple of pints of ice cream a week, or the team at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition where employees … well, we don’t know exactly what they do for fun, but we’re pretty sure it’s not “buttoned-down.”
If people are having fun together, they’re going to work harder, stay longer, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of the organization. And that leads us to one of the ways great teams succeed: They lighten up and enjoy the process.
In our new book, we unveil some of the mystery behind team esprit de corps with a compilation of 101 great ways to spark camaraderie among your teammates. Every idea was supplied to us by either a member of a revolutionary team, or by the leader of a larger organization that has exceptional esprit de corps. Here are just four of our favorites:
1. Mix things up by switching from a team newsletter to an audio CD or a podcast that employees can listen to on the way to and from work. Include industry news, market trends, messages from your CEO, benefit information, etc. Of course, don’t forget to add a little levity. Put on a catchy tune, tell a funny story or bookend with a witty trivia question. You’ll be surprised how a simple change of format can change the response to your communication. Plus, you can get all team members involved—sharing a rotating spotlight on the show.
2. Adopt a team mascot. In our travels we’ve seen stuffed monkeys, rubber chickens, GI Joe dolls, purple buffalos, and many other interesting talismans. Once you’ve identified your mascot, plaster it everywhere, on t-shirts and awards, coffee mugs and pens. Fun follow up: Once teammates have had time to acquire mascot attire, host a “Mascot Pride Day,” where they are encouraged to wear their mascot gear to work.
3. Play work bingo by filling in a square each time your team completes a task or has an achievement. When you’ve completed four in a row, the team wins a prize: a shiny, new Volvo! Or possibly a new team stapler, it’s your call.
4. Set up a team page on Facebook and encourage employees to become friends. Great follow up: To learn more about each other, encourage employees to create and post funny lists such as, “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me, But Were Too Disinterested to Ask.”
Ready for more ideas? Ready to create breakthrough teamwork in your organization? Take part in The Orange Revolution promotion running this week only, September 20-24. We’re offering additional tools, insights, free teamwork training videos and webinars and even on-site presentations to the teams that want to participate in the book launch.
the book launches tomorrow and if you’d like to get a copy (or several for your team) as well as some other great premiums, just go here and follow the instructions.