Thursday, September 11, 2008

Keeping an Organization Unified

Most successful sports teams always point to their cohesiveness and unity as the biggest reason for their success.

In business, this is no different. Behind every successful company is a unified group of people. You will find a consistent language, atmosphere and expectation when talking with the employees of that company because they understand that a team not unified isn't a team.

There are some things to be aware of that contribute to the unity of a team. They are mostly intangible things that could go unnoticed to the untrained eye, but if you are to be successful in business you just learn to pick up on these things immediately. A close monitoring of the occurrence of these things will help you understand what keeps a team growing in unity and what breaks the trust that was previously established.


This is probably the most important aspect of any team's success. A unified team is always in edification. The word edification means "to build up". It is important for the leader of the organization to be the best example of this as it will duplicate throughout the organization.

Build up and praise your people in public, not behind closed doors. Talk about all their strengths and tie those strengths to the success of the organization. Make sure to shine spotlight on high performers, but remind the organization that spotlight is to highlight people producing results so that others know what to do.

Edification makes people feel better about what they're doing and why they're doing it and a leader who edifies his people will create an environment where everyone is looking to shine the light on someone else. A famous quote by Michael Jordan exemplifies this: "Players win games, but teams win championships".

Avoid gossip and negative talk

As people get closer to one another, familiarity sets in and this can start to be dangerous if not monitored closely.

The old saying is that familiarity breeds contempt. In laymen's terms, the closer you get to someone the more you notice things you don't like about them.

Make sure to stay away from meetings outside of the office. Any discussion outside the office or place of work is gossip and gossip is never productive. This is one of the first signs that the unity of the organization is starting to dwindle. If possible, make sure to talk to the people spear-heading the gossip sessions and find out what the topics of conversation are. It is usually some dissension among some of the employees and can be rectified with the proper attention.

Never mess with anyone's ego

This is especially true with men. It doesn't take much to get someone's ego out of whack. The safest way to go about keeping this as a rule is this: if it's not positive, it's negative. In other words, if you're not sure something you're about to say is positive it probably isn't, so don't say it.

Stay away from off-shade jokes about race, gender or beliefs of any sort. Stay away from personal comments both in private and in public on topics like weight, relationships or personal issues. You never know what will hurt someone's feelings or set some emotions off that they didn't realize were still sensitive.

Crystallize the vision

When people are distracted it is mainly because they at that point in time are either lacking focus or have lost sight of the objective. Revisit the vision for the organization as often as possible to remind them why they're doing what they're doing.

Sometimes the drudgery of work can be the biggest obstacle to unity. When people feel bored and idle they start to look for other things to distract them, and most distractions are never positive.

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