There are 2,920 days in 8 years. In those 2,920 days, I have run over 2,000 events. That averages out to an event every 1.5 days! It is impossible to achieve what I have if I am doing it alone.
I have a great team supporting me every step of the way. When I first started 8 years ago, I was completely new to the industry. I had just returned from Dubai, where I was working on a higher management level. It had been a while since I got in at ground zero and built a team. I met with my fair share of struggles, but thankfully I managed to get a great team together.
The first step to building a great team is a strong culture. Havard studies have shown that teams with a more robust culture produce 7% higher profits per year. There are three critical elements to building a culture for your company — Safety, vulnerability, and purpose. Ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This is a motivational theory that says humans will only strive for the next level when their basic needs are met. For example, if you are hungry, you will think of getting food before thinking of making money. The same goes for building a team culture.
Everything starts with safety. When people feel safe, they are more honest. They put in their best efforts because they feel connected to the team. As a leader, I often feel the pressure to lead. I try to get my thoughts across more than I listen. This book taught me to create a safe environment by listening. That gives everyone in my team a voice.
Being vulnerable might not sound like a healthy culture. However, it is vital as it helps the team admit their flaws. I was reluctant to be vulnerable because I felt I had to be the support for the team. However, once I started accepting that I need their help, my team started contributing more. We started feeling like we can achieve anything together.
Finally, you need a purpose to complete the culture code. Ask questions like “what is all these about?”, or “why are we doing what we do?”. Having a higher calling will become your North Star. When it comes to hard questions, your priorities and principles will guide you through. In turn, you will not be lost as your company evolves with the time.
Different companies need different cultural design. For instance, a creative company like Pixar will not try to build a culture the same way as Dell. The steps above for creating a culture is flexible enough for anyone to apply to their businesses. I believe it will be equally applicable for you.
My team is the foundation for my success. You can imagine the kind of crazy pace we work at to produce 1 event every 1.5 days. I could have never done this if my team is not giving their all for our company. If you need some guidelines to bring your staff together and build a team out of it, start with building a great culture.