Creating a Team Culture While Inspiring Individuals
Being from the south, my mom wanted me to be more “cultured.” Much to her chagrin, I was a tomboy as a child, however that’s not the culture that I want to talk about here.
“Culture,” is the new buzzword. From video blogs, headline news, magazine covers and book titles, creating culture is on everyone’s mind. But, first, what is culture and why do you we want it and second, how do you we create it?
Culture is commonly defined as, “the product of the individual and group values, attitudes, competencies and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to and the style and proficiency with which things get done.” Certainly, every team, organization and company has a culture – the real question is, is the culture that is currently in place in my office one that inspires, develops and encourages me to be the best me possible
Creating the desired culture within any organization should be conscious and intentional. After taking Quantum Leap, a Keller Williams curriculum on creating a life by design, not one by default, I knew that I wanted to incorporate the concepts I learned there into my business model. The concepts of Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and Perspectives weren’t entirely new to me. I just hadn’t thought of incorporating them into my business.
As I began to grow my team two years ago, my thought was, “Okay, I’m in my late 50’s, what kind of team would l want to work in?” Ultimately, I went back to what I’d learned along the way from the likes of Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Michael J. Maher, Bob Berg, Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield and others, and decided that I wanted to be on a team where people felt validated, heard and supported not only by the team’s goals but also in reaching their own individual, personal goals. So, if this is the team I would want to work with, how do I create that same culture as an agent Team Leader?
Being crystal clear about my own values and beliefs was the first step of the process. Part of the introspective journey was also knowing and refining my personal and business “Big Why.” Going through this sometimes painful and arduous experience allowed me to then create the conditions for others to also learn, grow and define their own values and beliefs. We had two 4-hour team planning meetings where we defined corporately what our Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and Perceptions were, which ultimately led us to define our Team’s Culture.
Crafting Purpose Through Value
At the beginning of our planning session, I handed out a word list for business which we referred to when culling down our statements of purpose called Value Words. It’s basically a whole page of adjectives. We circled the ones which were important to us individually, and then again when we wanted to see them within our team. One thing I learned in this process, which I didn’t know before, was that whenever I lose patience or become angry with people it’s because a core value has been violated. Violated. That’s a great word and has proven to be useful in helping me get to the root of what made me so frustrated in the first place.
Next, we handed out individual sheets to each team member entitled, “Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and Perspectives.” Once we worked our way through identifying what our personal values were, we then tackled some of the other categories. It took two sessions of meeting together to get through the entire list and now we each have a document we carry around to remind us what our commitments to each other are.
Setting Goals Individually to Succeed Together
The next category we worked on was our personal and professional one-year, three-year and five-year goals. This was easier, it seemed, and most of us flew through this part of the exercise. The key here is to check back in with each other throughout the year to see how we’re doing on not only our business goals but our personal goals as well. A team with culture knows what each member’s long- and short-term goals are and hold each other accountable to achieving those goals. Each team member has a vision board in front of their desks which also makes for a great reminder when we talk to each other about how we’re doing on our vision for the year.
Once we got through all these exercises, the team felt very positive that they were just as important individually as they were corporately. We also experienced the power of synergy where the accomplishment of several, focusing together, exceeds what the individuals can achieve alone. #togetherweachievemore #teamworkequalsdreamwork
Learn to Learn Well
I believe another desired aspect of creating a Team with Culture is to be a learning-based team. We read and have a lending library in our office of over 30 of the industry’s top suggested books. I love it when someone on my team teaches me something new based on something they’ve just read. We each have a growth plan, by month, and our Productivity Coach keeps us accountable to following through on our commitments.
Another thing we did for our team was to have everyone take the following assessments:
- Strength Finders 2.0
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0
- The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
I then put each team member’s scores on a piece of paper and framed it for the office as a reminder of how best to communicate with one another. This is not the only way to create and accomplish a team culture; this is the way we did it. However, as we head into the third quarter of 2017—perhaps it will inspire you—if you are an individual agent or if you’re on a team, to take this road less traveled, as well. Taking the time and committing to yourself and/or your team’s growth by going through this process is extremely rewarding in the end.
If you’d like more information about our process and or any of the handouts we used, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-793-2929.