The Year of the Team...and why Everyone is Preparing for Transformation

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The Year of the Team...and why Everyone is Preparing for Transformation
By Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

Next month kicks off the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, a time for reconciliation, putting aside grudges and beginning anew. Who wouldn’t get on board with that?

Rabbits, according to Chinese horoscope, like to be part of a group. And for humans, 2011 marks the start of a gathering of individuals that is much more intriguing and powerful—the Orange Team. 
We interviewed just about every kind of team for our recent book The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization. And we’d like to announce 2011 as the Year of the Team. This is the year your team participates in their most important work ever. It’s the year your team uses their fresh start as a catalyst for breakthrough results.
Here’s how your team can be energized, excited, and rebuild their potential:
Start by developing a Cause. What drives your team? When employees clearly understand how their team contributes to the success of the organization, more than 75 percent of team members are engaged. And when they realize how their personal efforts contribute to the team, well, the results will amaze you. Giving each team member a voice in the cause gets everyone invested—fueling pride and creating momentum that builds as team members reach milestones along the way.
Strengthen your personal competence in the Basic 4 + Recognition. Based on the ten-year research study we highlighted in The Carrot Principle, leaders who achieve enhanced business results are significantly more apt to be seen by their employees as stronger in the following areas: goal setting, communication, trust and accountability. Add recognition as the accelerant to fuel the flames of productivity. Leaders who employ these skills realize greater return on equity, higher team morale, greater customer satisfaction, retention...and the list goes on.
Follow the Rule of 3. The path of transformation is not particularly complex. Following simple ground rules, coupled with consistent effort, will get you there. The commitments great teams make are captured in the Rule of 3: Wow, No Surprises and Cheer. Simply put, wow your clients, customers, and coworkers. Keep surprises out of the workplace; and cheer for each other along the way.

Oh, and here’s the one you’re waiting for in 2011…
Create Breakthrough Results. Richard Adam’s famed novel Watership Down places a band of rabbits on a journey for a new warren. One rabbit with the gift of prophecy convinces others they must leave their settled life to start anew. For the community to function as a whole, it required strengths from each individual to survive the expedition. Without teamwork, the structure faltered. Stepping out of a comfort zone and trying something new can be difficult but the ideas and innovation generated by the team will take us to new heights.
And, of course, rabbits love Carrots!

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