I learned valuable lessons about mobilizing a team when I participated in a week-long workshop that included a charitable project to raise funds, procure materials, and build houses in Mexico.
When the exercise was introduced, it was presented as a competition and the one hundred participants were divided into four teams. We realized very quickly that we would be better off if all one hundred of us worked together; indeed, it was the only way to succeed.
We tapped into the power of team synergy. My first assignment was fundraising, to ask for donations, something that was out of my comfort zone. Then, during the construction phase, my job was to shovel stone for the concrete mix. It was not the role I wanted but it was the one I was given. The tough physical work constructing the houses and the fundraising challenged us in different ways. We had fun and we were successful.
As I think back on this experience, I realize that we were motivated by:
- A clear and realistic vision. We believed in the purpose.
- We understood that the power of a team working together is much stronger than small groups working in competition.
- We all had clear roles and responsibilities.
- We utilized the skills of each team member. Someone with experience was in charge of mixing concrete. Others who had building experience worked on framing.
- We were given the opportunity to develop, to get out of our comfort zone and try something new, while being supported.
- There were clear expectations and a deadline. We knew how many concrete foundations we were expected to pour, and how many homes to build within our given time frame.
- Throughout the day we tracked our progress and were accountable for the results. We knew were we stood, if we were behind the target we were spurred to tap our inner energy to achieve more.
- We received positive feedback regularly on the quality and quantity of our work, so we knew what was working well and what changes we needed to make to be even better.
- The people who ran the course provided guidance and instruction upfront about how to complete the tasks.
- As a team, we showed our support for one another, through help and encouragement.
- Together we enjoyed a celebration of success for our efforts.
It is important to create an environment that motivates and mobilizes teams. This exercise taught many lessons which can be applied to our everyday working experiences. Leaders will recognize the impact of great coaching as well. Mobilizing individuals is one of the key factors in the success of a company.