Paddling Together: The Importance of Cohesive Teams in Business

Paddling Together

I have a good friend that competes in a sport called dragon boat racing. A dragon boat is a human-powered watercraft where two rows of ten all paddle in the same direction to propel the boat forward. The sport takes everyone being on the same page and in sync to win. It also takes endurance, strength, and teamwork. Sounds a lot like running a good business, right?

Running a good business takes great vision, focus, discipline, preparation, and accountability. It often feels like the water is choppy and you are paddling against the wind. However, success can still come when everyone is on board with the vision and has clarity around what needs done. This creates a cohesive and healthy team amidst the obstacles.
Businesses are full of challenges, but the ones that win have cohesive teams. All the leaders along with the team are working towards the same goal. Paddling in sync, focused on the things within their control, and creating positive energy towards reaching the goal.

I have a good friend that likes to say, “If you can get enough of the right people, doing the right activity over time, in the right way, you will be successful.” Here are the things I have learned it takes to do that.

1.) The Right Vision – You must know where you are going and why. The vision must be one that everyone on the team wants to achieve. Everyone in the organization must know how they contribute to the vision and the purpose of their role. They must be able to see the destination.

2.) The Right Leaders – For any organization to sustain success over time, it takes strong leaders. Leaders with the ability, desire, and savviness to carry-out the vision and serve others in the face of the messiness of the obstacles in our lives. They need to be willing to hold others accountable, have difficult conversations, be willing to receive and give feedback as well as solve problems quickly as they serve.

3.) The Right People – I like to say “having the right butts in the right seats” is the key. You must have people that like what they are doing and align with the purpose behind the work they do. This creates a great culture. I do not have to convince anyone that hiring people with talent is important, but more important than talent is having people that want and like the work they do. These are people willing to work through adversity and understand the importance of what they do.

4.) The Right Activity – Sometimes this can be the hardest thing to figure out. What is the right recipe of activity. Having the right quantity and quality needed at the right time is key. It takes solid data, documentation, processes, and the correct approach to get this right. Then it takes doing it repeatedly in the right way to win.

None of this is rocket science but it can be difficult to execute. Like in dragon boat racing, to win, it requires shear will and determination from a group of people rallying around what they want to accomplish. Keep paddling!

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