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Employee passion drives results.
That’s the title of a blog post I wrote back in 2012. Without question, that statement still holds true today.
When employees have a real sense of pride in their work, when they take ownership in what they do, the business benefits and thrives. When employees think and act like they own the business, when they’re passionate about what they do and for whom they are doing it, and – especially – when they work together toward a common goal, there can only be positive outcomes.
I saw a video recently in which Dodgers’ baseball legend Tommy Lasorda said: Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. (Be sure to watch the video – it’s quite inspirational.)
That got me thinking about employee passion, employee engagement, and teamwork – and the resultant business implications. It might seem like an odd question (maybe not), but do employees primarily focus on themselves and their own career success or are they also focused on the success of the business? How do we get them to play for the name on the front of the jersey, not (just) for the one on the back? How do we get them to work together for a common cause?
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. -Andrew Carnegie
Where to start? It’s important to ensure we have the right employees on the team. How do you know you have the right people on the team? There are a variety of factors, but consider this: employees want to work for companies with which they are aligned. Consider that a hiring criterion because that’s where passion comes in. How can you be passionate about doing something or being a part of something or driving success for something you don’t care about or that doesn’t fit your values, purpose, etc.? Alignment is huge.
Next, encourage creativity, collaboration, and teamwork. I think this quote from author Vince Pfaff says it well: To promote cooperation and teamwork, remember, people tend to resist that which is forced upon them. People tend to support that which they helped create.
Working together as a team – for the team – employees can build or achieve something better than a single mind alone can. Especially when you’ve got a group of people who are all passionate about the same thing, all aligned with the organization’s values and purpose, all excited to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And all ready to do whatever it takes to make that “something bigger” successful.
In order to work together, they all need to be playing from the same playbook, with a clear vision and a solid definition of roles. A couple months ago, I wrote about how to get everyone on the same page; in that post, I listed some great tools to get you started. Absent that (everyone on the same page), people will work and act in ways that protect their own interests. (One thing to note: in teamwork, not only does everyone have to be on the same page but also carry their own weight; this is often the thing that frustrates people most about working with a team.)
What’s the track record at your company? Do you feel like most (or all) employees are playing for the name on the front of the jersey?
Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. -Vince Lombardi