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What's the formula for great teamwork?

May 16, 2017

foosball2 (1).jpegA successful brokerage is only as good as the people behind it—and a lot of that success depends on how smoothly those people can work together as a team.

So what's the secret to great teamwork? Of course, experts have been pondering this question since the beginning of time. And, predictably, there are countless opinions on how to make teamwork happen—just stroll through the business section of your local bookstore!

But we wanted to know what our already successful clients thought about the topic. What helped their teams do their best work, and how did they respond to common challenges? So we reached out to Scott Hensley, Partner at Piedmont Properties/CORFAC International, and Lee Wheeler, President of Wheeler Commercial, to see what they had to say.

Here are their thoughts on how to make teamwork work:

Remember the 100/0 principle—but forget about the ‘self'

“Remember the 100/0 principle,” Wheeler says. "That is to give 100% of yourself to others and expect nothing in return. When team members get this, breakthroughs happen. When the entire team gets it, there is no stopping them."

He adds, “To be a good team, everyone has to forget about ‘self.’ All things we do are for a higher calling and not for our own gain. When that concept is fully understood, the team functions well beyond what the mere individual or ‘team of individuals’ can accomplish."

Openly share what you know

"Communication and open sharing of information have been vital to our success,” Hensley says. "We feel strongly that by freely sharing market information, including potential off-market opportunities, we all are more successful."

"You have to take a long view and realize information you share with a coworker may not lead directly to a deal for you in the short term, but by continuing to share information, dividends will come in the long run,” Hensley adds.

Make the time to meet regularly—and do it in person

"With the current market velocity it can sometimes be difficult to keep team members up to date on recent developments,” Hensley says. "Because all of our team members are so busy, we have to be deliberate about making time to meet on a regular basis so everyone is up to speed on each transaction."

While his team does have weekly meetings in order to share information, Hensley says that a lot of knowledge is shared simply through daily interactions at the office.

“We feel strongly that being ‘physically present’ is important in our industry, or at least in our office,” Hensley says. “We all have the ability to work remotely but in doing so you lose the value of the impromptu conversations that naturally happen when you are in the same physical space as your teammates."

Choose your teammates wisely—and then trust them to do great work

"You have to have complete confidence in your teammates,” Hensley says. “Not only in their ability to perform but also that they will do so on a timely basis. My reputation is only as good as that of my teammates because their actions and the way they handle themselves have a direct reflection on me. Be selective in picking your teammates!” Hensley says.

Be clear about priorities—and then uphold them

“I think every team must have a priority list,” says Wheeler. “Ours is, in this order: God, family, church, work and then recreation. Note that work is fourth! If any of the other three prior to work get thrown behind work, the individual loses focus, thus derailing team efforts." 

While your priorities may be different, what’s important is that you are clear about what they are—and that you then uphold them on a daily basis. For Wheeler, that means putting team members’ spiritual and family lives before work.

“That means that when one team member has to leave early because they have a child sick or something along those lines, you don’t just let them go, you encourage it,” he explains. “You want their spiritual life and family life to be running at optimum levels. When it does not, work suffers drastically. Support that effort and encourage it! The team will grow and actually step up and fill in for each other because they know that the other members will do the same for them." 

The big picture: it’s about a shared vision and shared knowledge 

Wheeler and Hensley’s insights align with those uncovered by the Wharton School’s Martine Haas and INSEAD’s Mark Mortensen, who write in the Harvard Business Review that, “Modern teams are vulnerable to two corrosive problems—‘us versus them’ thinking and incomplete information.” 

In other words, it’s important to establish a shared mindset that brings your team together (like adopting that 100/0 principle and staying true to priorities) as well as freely sharing knowledge—in person whenever possible.

What are some of the things that help your team function at its best? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Irena Ashcraft

Written by Irena Ashcraft

Irena is a freelance writer who works with innovators, educators, explorers, and changemakers. From brave nonprofits to frontier-straddling startups, she helps clients connect with their biggest fans through writing that's fresh, relatable, and fun.

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