Inspire Olympic-Size Team Spirit in Your Employees
BY Janine Popick
Creating a real team-oriented approach, where everyone is rooting for the same thing, is crucial to any company.
I have a ton of respect for Olympians, no matter what their sport of choice. It's a lot of hard work that you mostly do because you're passionate about it, and you do it for your team and your country.
Growing up I had the opportunity to be a lifeguard at a local YMCA. It was a great gig because I got to save lives, but I was also able to coach our swim team. It was an eye-opening experience for me as a 16-year-old, because we also got to compete against other teams and win medals. Some of my proudest moments included getting a 7-year-old boy to dive off of the dock, a 10-year-old girl to perfect her kick, and a 14-year-old girl to get her butterfly stroke down. And by the end of my time with them, they all pushed themselves to do a really great job not only for themselves, but mainly for the success of the team. Two years in a row, we won gold!
Watching this year's Olympics, I see this familiar team-oriented behavior. Even though the U.S. women's gymnastics team captain didn't make the all-around, she was there in support of her teammates. And how amazing was it to watch the men's swimming relay, where the team rallied to get Michael Phelps yet another medal to become the most decorated champion of all time?
As a CEO, I recognize this same type of behavior every day at my company, VerticalResponse. Here are just a few ways my company (an online marketing platform for small businesses) roots for the team:
Our company can't always release new features or functionality to our customers, so the marketing and sales teams step in to create great marketing programs like money-saving sales or contests.
When we have a service interruption, our customer service folks take the brunt of the heat so other departments, from marketing to engineering, try to help out to lighten the load. The marketing team corresponds with our users on social media networks about what's going on, and the engineering team adds messaging in the application (which is the dashboard that pops up after a user logs into our platform) with the latest updates.
If we need to increase our revenue in order to hit our goals, all hands are on deck to try to figure out how to accomplish this.
Part of our engineering and product teams have been working on a huge project for the last five months, so we've been operating with half of those teams gone. The other halves have really been overcompensating by putting out some great new features for our customers.
Creating a real team-oriented approach-where rooting for the same thing creates a more close-knit group-just makes your business better! Do you see this happening in your business?
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick