The strength of a team in the workplace is an essential factor for success. With a strong team, a robust work environment will be created. From the amount of energy the group can produce, to the open and transparent communication, the passion and dedication they put behind the project. When a brand is working from the right foundation of GOOD EFFECTIVE TEAMWORK, there is nothing they can not accomplish!
When I was drafted into the NFL as a rookie in 2003, I had the pleasure of working for a fantastic head coach, Coach Jack Del Rio. I will not forget the speech he gave our team the night before our first game. He told us “guys, all we can count on this season is us. No one outside of this room thinks we can do anything this season, but it doesn’t matter what anyone outside this room thinks, WE CONTROL OUR DESTINY! If we come together as A TRUE TEAM, we are going to accomplish great things this year in The National Football League!” That speech is one of the most memorable of my NFL career. That speech transcended into my next job after The NFL, when I built my 8 figure construction business.
I would always tell my employees that our brand is a TEAM unit, and we need to treat each other like family. That doesn’t mean we have to agree all the time or tell each other what we want to hear. However, it does say that we are going to respect each other at all times and that everyone on the TEAM should be treated with the highest level of professionalism and manners.
The word TEAM has an extraordinary meaning to me. Incorporating these four characteristics, that make up the acronym TEAM, can help elevate your team, and brand to a higher level!
T: TEACHABLE Don’t think you know everything. Be willing to learn from others, and take constructive criticism to become a master of your craft.
E: ENGAGED When you are talking to people, truly be engaged in the conversation. Don’t be just present in the body, indeed have your mind, body, and soul involved in what you are doing.
A: ADAPTABLE When times change, you need to be able to change as well. Adapting is a massive part of being able to position yourself to do your best.
M: MOTIVATED If you are not motivated to be the best at whatever you decide to do, then don’t even waste your time starting the project.
The more you focus on bettering yourself as a whole, the more you will improve the overall success of the team and your brand. If you are looking to create change within a group, it has to start with YOU. If you are a leader and are not showing the others the way by living out the vision and expectations of the team, you can not expect your team to perform any different.
How do you create a TEAM that is highly successful?
Taking action in these four areas will set your team up for success, building up an individual one by one. When your weakest link is super strong, your vision and brand are bound to be successful!
Successful people share many qualities and traits, but perhaps the most important is the ability to push past all their excuses. It is easy for so many of us in life to get hung up on excuses. We tend to find excuses because we lack self confidence, we let fear take over, or we just don’t have enough passion behind our goals/visions.
Excuses do not get you results, you can’t have success if you constantly have an excuse to why you can’t do something. You have to stop using excuses as hurdles in your path to achieving success. We all can make excuses, but eliminating them or pushing past them is what separates the successful people from the non successful people.
Excuses tend to lead to procrastination and with that you end up not achieving your vision within a desired time frame.
5 years ago when I started keynote speaking I was not achieving ANY success. I constantly would make excuses for myself, to make myself feel better for not being successful. These excuses would be saying things like “I don’t need that client,” “I’m better off without them,” or things similar to make myself feel better, or shift the blame off myself. In reality I was the person to blame for not getting hired. I did not have the right marketing materials, a good website, effective videos of me speaking, or any of the things needed to show potential clients they should work with me.
Once I stopped making excuses for myself, and started to pursue my craft with excellence, things got so much better for me. I am here to tell you today, that this can be the same scenario for you! Here are a few common excuses that I use to always say when I was trying to build my career, and below each excuse are some strategies you can do to eliminate these excuses and push right by them!!!
The common excuses that are easier to over come:
1. Don’t have the money (Trade Services, Apply for Grants and Loans, Start with what you can afford)
2. Not enough time (Make a list of priorities, Break down priorities into highest to lowest)
3. Not the right time (NOW is the perfect time)
4. Fear of Unknown (If you never take a chance you will never know what your capable of accomplishing)
5. Don’t have the skills/degrees (Passion, Emotion & Drive can be equivalent to lack of educational knowledge)
6. Core group of friends/family tell you that you can’t. (You will always have the believers and non believers)
7. Not being able to have all you need right away (Start with the necessities and then build as you go)
8. Not knowing where to start (Start by writing down your vision)
9. Not knowing the right connections/network of people. (Share your vision with people so they can introduce you to other people in their network)
10. Not believing in yourself. (If you can’t bet on yourself what makes you think others will bet on you)
You can’t complain about not getting the results you want, if your not willing to put in the work. Also, you must have the work done within a specific time frame to be successful!
Who do you turn to for guidance, when it comes to your own personal growth?
It doesn’t matter how long a person has been in a position, or how old an individual is. As long as you have the mindset to wanting to see others succeed and grow, then you can be an even more effective mentor/leader.
When I think of being a mentor in a leadership role, the first thing that I feel is important is to understand you have to become a servant leader.
To be an effective mentor/leader, one must adapt themselves to the situation with an open mindset and a positive attitude. You must not force other’s to conform to your way of thinking, we must appreciate each own individual uniqueness, and let them express their thoughts and opinions without judging them. You will then begin to learn how you serve other’s first according to each individuals needs. When in a mentor role/leadership role we often try to lead others all the same with the same approach, when in reality each person is working at their level and with their style, so what may work for one individual may notwork for another. Which is why it is so critical to be a leader who gets to TRULY know his or her staff! When you get to know people and what makes them who they are, you can put yourself in the best position to serve them as a leader.
As a mentor/leader we all should be listening to voices of the next upcoming generation, hearing what they have to say can only help us grow as mentors/leaders for we were raised in a different generation. This allows you and your team to be able to develop and adaptive to new ways, which is critical to stay ahead in your specific industry and market. Everyone has leadership ability. It’s how we use our leadership abilities that decides if we are a positive role model for others.
One must have the following characteristics to be a mentor/leader:
~Awareness – must have an open mindset which allows them to be aware of all that is around them
~Commitment to growing people – must be capable of increasing others confidence and abilities, allowing each to become the best version of themselves, along with maximizing each’s abilities
~Empathy – must be able to identify with others, accept what others can contribute,embracing each imperfection of an individual as their uniqueness. Also above all else, being able to relate to them with your authentic and genuine approach
~Visionary – must be good at decision making, and keeping the focus on the primary goal. The lack of decision-making skills and visionary skills can cause then demise of any brand. This I know from personal experience
~Listening – you must be able to listen first then speak, this will build trust and true relationships
~Delegation – must be willing to use their talents to encourage others to want to do their part, you can not do it alone.
~Communication – needs to have effective communication skills which allow the message to be understood without confusion
Back in 2012, I was 31 years old and thought I knew everything. I thought I was the smartest, most talented person in the universe. Looking back on that situation now at the age of 37, I realize that I was an ineffective leader. I did not have a mentor/coach to guide me in how to continually grow my booming business. Due to that fact, I made some really poor decisions and ended up going bankrupt in 2013. Today, my passion is keynote speaking, and executive coaching others on how to look at their vision with a “clear” set of eyes. I work with my clients on how to create a strategy/blueprint to help elevate themselves and their brands to the next level!
I feel that it is imperative for everyone to have a coach to hold them accountable in their journey. When you have nobody to hold you accountable to achieving your vision, I believe it is extremely hard to reach your full potential, and experience optimal success!
Effective working relationships among employees and leadership start with listening.
Mastering your Listening Skills:
1. Give the other person your full attention
2. Maintain eye contact throughout the entire conversation
3. Reply back to their remarks
4. Ask questions to show your engagement
5. Ask for understanding of conversation if not 100% sure, so you can be able to have total clarity
Here a few things you achieve by mastering your listening skills:
1. Obtain Important Information:
A. allows you to understand a person or situation with all facts needed to help the situation
2. Developing Relationship
A. Builds trust
B. You can observe a person’s nonverbal communication
C. Become aware of an individual’s strengths
3. Maintain a Positive Work Environment
A. Eliminates tension and confusion with job tasks
B. Allows all workers to feel energized to achieve more
C. Staff can accomplish more promptly the requested assignments they have been asked to complete
4. Reduce Confusion
A. To whom is required to handle each task
B. Understanding of individual’s verbal and nonverbal cue’s
5. Satisfied & Energetic Employees
A. Understanding what inspires each employee
B. Discover what employee’s find most rewarding for them in the work environment
C. Become aware of any challenges and obstacles, and learn how to address them accordingly so they don’t potentially become a bigger problem down the road
D. Keeps communication open, allows the company to produce more profitable revenue
In the summer of 2012 I had a heart to heart conversation with my top employee, who ran the sales division of my company. I vividly remember him telling me, “Marques, if we don’t stop putting all of our financial resources into this one job, we won’t have a company in 6 months.” He tried to explain to me his reasoning for thinking this way, so I could get out in front of it and get our company back on the right track! Instead of truly LISTENING to him, I shunned him. I did not truly listen to anything he had to say, I showed him no respect, and told him flat out HE WAS WRONG. That following day, he came into the office and handed me his resignation papers. Stating he just could not continue to work with someone who does not listen. 6 months to the day my company declared chapter 7 bankruptcy.
This is a classic example of how not listening cost me my home, my cars, my assets, and almost my life. So I tell my coaching clients and keynote speaking clients this all the time… “ the best leaders are advisable!” When you are humble enough to take guidance and advice, it shows you truly have the strength to be an excellent leader!