These notes are based on a talk I gave on how people develop and how the development of the individual team-members results in the growth of the organization.
Simply put, “as the team members grow so does the team.”
I found it to be true in the case of growing teams from scratch (more on this later) and I think it is also true of large organizations but not so easy to see.
These eight factors, in my view, add up to the fundamentals of personal and company development.
1. Physical Performance: A person needs to be in good physical shape to perform at the optimum level. Deterioration in physical well-being will likely result in mental letdowns. As job responsibilities increase with time and promotion, the physical challenge also increases. A healthy diet and fitness program are therefore essential to individual and team development.
2. Attitude: Everything really starts here. With a positive attitude, problems become challenges and lead to opportunities for success. Difficulties are often unpredictable so the need to be ready to work on overcoming them is constant. And therefore the attitude must be constantly alert and positive. We have to develop the ability, through whatever spiritual or thinking process we best function in, to dig down and respond to problems whenever they occur, whether they are day-to-day things, or cataclysmic life-changing events.
3. Skill Sets: With good physical shape and attitude, the next area is the development of the skills needed to fulfill our personal, family and career goals. This has a number of sub-areas including the technical knowledge related to the work, the human relations needed to be successful, and the skilled judgment to know what is achievable in a practical sense and what is not.
4. Relationships: A technically proficient person needs to build working relationships with the majority of people he/she works with. Without this, teamwork — the key to success in most human endeavors— suffers, and the progress of the individual and the organization are stifled. The need for continually developing good relationships is vital. However it can also be difficult to achieve, particularly in the rough and ready world of construction, when it is sometimes necessary, in the interest of progress, to “stand toe-to-toe” and oppose others on important issues. Skill and integrity are needed to command respect in such situations so as to maintain worthwhile relationships. Again, good judgment is needed to know when to cut off a negative situation, and when to work “one-more-time” to attempt to turn it around.
5. Communications: This is one of the keys to really boosting career and personal success, if and when all the other qualities are being improved. Effective oral and written communications, demonstrating a high level of interest in others, energizing our commitment to goals and objectives, and maintaining dedication to daily excellence are all needed. Part of this, in the construction business, involves presentations, including one-on-one and group activities, because most issues involve multiple levels of details to understand, prioritize and present in a lucid and effective communication. Often, pictures, graphs and other visual aides are an essential element of getting one’s point across and/or understanding others. With the growth of digital information and the tendency to communicate in “sound-bites”, the benefit of improving our communication skills is even greater than before we had all of these presumed advantages. In construction and many other fields, the globalization of the industry adds further risk due to mis-communication, and we all need to strive for better “connecting” on the technical and the human level.
6. Drive: For top performance, there needs to be an innate power, a life-force that drives the individual so that he/she knows when to make the extraordinary effort needed to achieve a major milestone. This drive starts with a “gut feeling” of what is really important. When we have to go the extra mile and work weekends, nights or take other measures that call for temporarily re-prioritizing our personal life, that is when drive and determination are needed to recognize the situation and “get it done”, although it may be unpopular and unpleasant in some respects.
7. Compassion and Generosity of Spirit: A true team must be based on respect for every team-member, with visible appreciation and recognition for jobs well done. This means that unselfish behavior is the rule. When generosity and community thinking are evident, at-the-top and through all levels of the organization, teamwork is at its very best. On the other hand, if a potentially talented-but-selfish team-member is undermining others, it must be recognized and acted on. If and when reasonable notice and opportunity to change attitude and behavior have been unsuccessful, the non-team-player is best removed. Wisdom to recognize the problem and courage to implement the decision are required to be developed in team members and leaders.
8. Dynamic Growth: With the passage of time, all of the above aspects of professional development must be continually monitored and enhanced so that complacency is avoided. New skills and techniques need to be implemented so that team-members and the team are strengthened, not diminished with time.