Years ago, before I had kids, I was at a friend’s home and remember watching him with his little ones before sending them off to school. The whole family put their hands in the circle, hand over hand, as they shouted altogether, “Gooooooo TEAM!”
I thought: Well, that’s corny. But cute, too.
Now with my little kids we do the same thing, except we say, “We Are HEWLETT’s! Hewlett’s Don’t Give Up! Hewlett’s Do Their Best! We Are Hewlett’s – ba-ba-bump-ba-bump-bump-bump!” (jingle for “We are Farmers…”)
In other words, we have taken corny and added hokey to obnoxious and created our own version of sappsville. It would make the Von Trapp’s, Brady Bunch, and Partridge Family get in a fist fight.
And the kids LOVE IT.
There are 2 types of families: Personal & Business
If you are a business owner, you know you lie awake at night during the tough times attempting to figure out how to feed the families you ultimately care for of the employees that work with you. If you are the manager or executive of any sized company, your promise is to treat those that report to you and under your watch with the type of trust, care, respect that you would an important member of the team.
The Team may feel like the better, more comfortable word for this principle of The Promise, but I prefer to call it The Family, since that denotes a higher level of care, tolerance, always there for one another no matter how bad things really can get.
But let’s start with TEAM. And why not start with perhaps the Greatest Sports Team I ever saw play basketball?
Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls ruined my childhood. As a Utah Jazz fan all I prayed for was one Championship for Karl Malone, John Stockton, my favorite local players. Running into the Greatest Basketball Team in Basketball History didn’t help.
No one could stop Michael Jordan. In fact, as much as I hated him for always winning, and at the expense of my own team, I also loved him because he was the most incredible athlete in my lifetime.
His team was comprised of quite the Who’s Who in basketball lore:
The Coach – Phil Jackson – Mastermind of the Zen culture of winning and strangling the entire NBA
The Superstar – Michael Jordan – 6 MVP’s, the man was a freak of nature
The Wingman – Scottie Pippen – All-Star and arguably another All-Time Great
The Stopper – Dennis Rodman – Greatest Rebounder in History & All-Time Defender
- These top 3 players have since been honored with much deserved Hall of Fame status
From here there were the Supporting Cast of:
Luc Longley at Center, Ron Harper at Guard, Toni Kukoc who could play all positions, and 3-point Specialist Steve Kerr.
This TEAM was stacked, locked and loaded to destroy other teams. During my youth in the 1990’s they won more games than any other team in history, recently to be eclipsed miraculously by the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
1997 my beloved Utah Jazz finally made it past the Houston Rockets and get to our first NBA Finals. Jordan has now 4 championships and is about to face their biggest challenge yet in the Finals against the Jazz. Up 3-2 coming down to the final few seconds, score tied, all Jordan needs to do is score one basket and they win his 5th Title.
Everyone in the world knew the ball was going to Jordan. And it did. Clock ticking down. As he makes his move the Utah defenders collapse on him, leaving a wide open Steve Kerr at the free-throw line where he was a career 92% free throw shooter. Michael Jordan, known for his game-winning prowess, instead does something he had rarely done before –
He passed the ball to Steve Kerr.
As the ball swished through the hoop and the Bulls won yet another Title, it was both devastating to Utah Jazz fans, and also enlightening to this author in a moment of defeat: Jordan trusted his teammate to hit the shot.
The definition of TEAM is trusting others to do their job, keep their end of the bargain, to keep a Promise.
The same is true in any industry, whether the charity event is still being organized and team members remain late into the night to set up chairs and tape posters, or the deadline for an assignment and presentation is happening at 9 AM as co-workers burn the midnight oil preparing the powerpoint that could launch the company to a new level. It’s the teachers who collaborate in an effort to guide young students to learn dance moves for the play, the video editors re-shooting the footage that didn’t work because it’s not the kind of emotion they needed for the final edit, it’s the distributor who stays on the phone an extra hour talking the latest sign-up not to quit because the industry is so tough.
The TEAM is a concept that means The Leader makes sure, in a real crisis, everyone else is taken care of, they are all paid, Christmas will still happen, and then he can hopefully eat, too, even if that means taking it out of his personal savings to cut his own check. I have seen this happen but only with the best of the best leaders.
Leaders trust their People. Their People trust their Leaders. And if the ball is passed to them to make the game-winning shot, the specialist, the worker ready to shine, is ready for the opportunity.
This is when TEAM becomes FAMILY becomes a Promise.
A Family sticks together when things get more than tough. They hang in there in dire straits. Even if hate creeps in where love should abound, which give anyone any semblance of a TEAM or Family environment and there is bound to be jealousy, disappointment, and broken promises.
But a FAMILY hangs in there.
Family in the workplace is not just people working late and doing all they can to make miracles happen, although that can play a part, but it is amazing people doing their jobs well, right, and fixing mistakes quickly. Trust abounds in an environment where expectations are exceeded often. Meetings are attended, calls returned, emails done promptly, respect flows from one cubicle to the next. Sales guys are out pounding the pavement, trusting full well the customer service team is standing by, shipping is ready, installers at the post. It takes a TEAM that becomes a FAMILY when success becomes apparent.
What is The Promise to The Family in the Business sense?
It is knowing someone has your back.
I recommend consider changing the wording you currently use. Instead of calling them your TEAM they are now YOUR FAMILY.
It is acknowledging your commitment, your honor, your respect to that person you consider more than just a colleague but a member of your FAMILY. It’s saying that someone else may have a better Signature Move, or talent and gift, than you do, and so you pass them the ball to handle the next step while you keep doing what you do best.
When the TEAM works like a real FAMILY amazing things happen. People get raises, promotions seem automatic, everyone is happy for the success of everyone, awards come pouring in.
Another example of a TEAM that became a FAMILY is the story of The Jersey Boys.
Most people think they were brothers and related, but not so. They were just pals who made sure everyone was protected and allowed the talents of each to be highlighted, thus their historic and beautiful sound as Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Hits such as, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, and “Oh What a Night!” topped the charts.
After a few years of touring one of their band members got into financial trouble. Rather than throw him to the feds they said they’d make the money up on his behalf, since they were “family”, and paid off every penny even though it took many years on the road to do so.
In sports, entertainment, or any industry, the principles are the same: Consider your TEAM as your FAMILY and you will succeed.
Don’t just commit. Make a PROMISE!
- CLICK HERE to read Part 2: Your Promise to The Family (Personal)
~ jason hewlett
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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