Team members have to hold each other accountable. If there's a meeting, all members have to commit to be present and to help one another; they can't just check out when they feel they're not getting any benefits.
Clients don't expect perfection from the service providers they hire, but they do expect honesty and transparency. There is no better way to demonstrate this than by acknowledging when a mistake has been made and humbly apologizing for it.
The fact is, employees cannot make breakthroughs if they can't openly and honestly disagree with their peers and their leader. Indeed, great leaders don't just permit conflict; they actively try to elicit it from reluctant employees as well.
Some companies simply aren't meant to be bigger than they are. They provide products and services that satisfy their customers in a way that pays the bills, produces reasonable profits, and allows them to keep their people employed and fulfilled. And there's nothing whatsoever wrong with that.
I have yet to meet members of a leadership team who I thought lacked the intelligence or the domain expertise required to be successful. I've met many, however, who failed to foster organizational health. Their companies were riddled with politics, various forms of dysfunction, and general confusion about their direction and mission.
Meetings are the linchpin of everything. If someone says you have an hour to investigate a company, I wouldn't look at the balance sheet. I'd watch their executive team in a meeting for an hour. If they are clear and focused and have the board on the edge of their seats, I'd say this is a good company worth investing in.
There is almost nothing more painful for a leader than seeing good people leave a growing organization, whether it's a priest watching a Sunday school teacher walk out the door or a CEO saying goodbye to a co-founder.
You have to build trust among team members so that people feel free to admit what they don't know, make mistakes, ask for help if they need it, apologize when necessary, and not hold back their opinions.
When team members openly and passionately share their opinions about a decision, they don't wonder whether anyone is holding back. Then, when the leader has to step in and make a decision because there is no easy consensus, team members will accept that decision because they know that their ideas were heard and considered.
I know that any group of people can become a team if they do the right things, but I came to realize over time that if you acquire or develop the right kind of people, that process of building a team is going to be much more effective and easier.
What's amazing is that so many leaders who value teamwork will tolerate people who aren't humble. They reluctantly hire self-centred people and then justify it because those people have desired skills.
Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder, because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity. And they loathe the idea that they might be perceived as slackers.
Values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But coming up with strong values - and sticking to them - requires real guts.
When leaders throughout an organization take an active, genuine interest in the people they manage, when they invest real time to understand employees at a fundamental level, they create a climate for greater morale, loyalty, and, yes, growth.
At its core, all authentic growth depends on more customers wanting more of what your company offers. Any other drivers - pricing gimmicks, heroic marketing efforts, forced acquisitions - are ultimately destructive.