If you are athletic and grew up playing a lot of organized sports, or if you were involved in your school’s student council or theater productions, you already may be very familiar with group dynamics and working on a team; however, if you didn’t, working on a team may be somewhat new to you.
I can assure you that if you are intentional about developing these skills now, it will greatly influence your success not only with DECA, but with your future career.
Teamwork is a key part of our success at Vector, we always say you’re in this for yourself, but not by yourself. In some sales organizations, individuals may feel hesitant to help others on their team, or share some of their keys to success, for fear that a fellow teammate may pass them by. However, we’ve always believed that if the team is strong, the individuals become stronger, and while we certainly take part in some healthy competition, I don’t know anyone in our organization, who would hesitate to help out someone else. It’s just ingrained in our culture.
I remember learning so much my first summer as a Vector representative from the group of top performers in our office. They challenged me, and supported me, and offered me tips to keep improving. Due to that relationship, the two of us finished in the Top 10 in the entire country, earning ourselves scholarships. I know Michelle and I both did better, because of the friendly competition we had amongst each other and the drive we had to help our team succeed.
There are four keys that I believe are important to a team’s success.
1. Play to Each Other’s Strengths
When a team is going after a collective goal or has a project to complete, there are going to be various roles that will need to be filled. Strong teams play to each other’s strengths.
For example, we’ve had numerous reps who have gained incredible public speaking experience with us, and it has been a great asset for them back at school. Other group members have taken the lead on research or crafting the paper, and they’ve been able to do what they thrive at, present in front of the professor and the class.
Imagine using the experience you’ve gained in DECA presenting to judges, to free up some of your time in the early stages of your group work, and offer to be the one who does the public speaking, which can be the most nerve-wracking aspect for many.
2. Listen to Each Members’ Point of View
In a group, it is not uncommon for there to be more than one point of view or multiple strategies for accomplishing your goal. It is important to go into it with an open mind, acknowledging that your experience just offers one point of view, and there is a great benefit to having various people, with various experiences, bringing their thoughts to the table.
Remember, that everyone just wants to be heard. I remember learning from Oprah, that we all ask, “Did you see me?, did you hear me, did what I say matter?”
3. Find Common Ground
Our local offices often go out for “Team Nights” after their weekly meetings. These team nights may just be gathering at a local restaurant to share some appetizers, it may be playing some beach volleyball, or going bowling. The byproduct though of these team nights, is that the reps get to know each other on a more personal level. They get to find commonalities with each other. Once you have that bond, you’re willing to go farther for the group, because you don’t want to let anyone down.
4. Have Rewards or Pay-Offs for the Successful Completion of Your Goals
Some goals and projects can be more of a short-term nature, while others are more long-term. However, one way to ensure that the team’s enthusiasm carries through is to have a team reward you’ll share when you achieve your goal. Recognize that for a team to succeed, you’ll need everyone to contribute. Everyone may not contribute the same amount; there’s usually someone that will step up in a leadership role. However, knowing that you’ll celebrate together and recognize that everybody played a role, is a great way to keep up the momentum needed until completion.
Our teams at Vector often have contests or pay-offs to go mini-golfing, or team BBQs, or a night out at a baseball or hockey game as a reward for hitting their team goals.
This journey we’re all on is seldom solitary, so the sooner you can learn the keys to effectively working on a team, the more success you’ll inevitably find.