How to End the Internal Competition: Call It a Team
Mark Eaton, an NBA All Star, has great advice for chief security officers and chief information security officers who may be bumping heads over Convergence. Security Magazine asked Eaton for his teamwork advice. Mark’s inspiring journey from auto mechanic to record-breaking NBA player, combined with his practical strategies and principles, help organizations play and win in the biggest game out there.
In the NBA, when anyone on the basketball team is playing for himself rather than the team as a whole, failure is eminent. In business, when anyone in the company has an “I” mentality, it’s only a matter of time until failure creeps into the organization.
In any group endeavor, success is not about discipline – it’s about teamwork. Without teamwork, people don’t cooperate, collaborate, or innovate.
Unfortunately, many business executives are confused about what a team is and how to create one. Realize that a group of people working together is not a team. So what’s the difference between a group of people and a team? Groups are committed to an ideal, goal or person; teams are committed to each other. Where are the commitments between physical security and logical security in your enterprise?
The fact is that many have a sense of “I have to look out for myself.” People think they have to constantly defend themselves and watch their space. As such, they’re more concerned about their own status or well-being than where the company is going, what the company’s goals are, and how those goals are going to be met.
As long as people are focused on internal competition, using all of their energy in that direction, convergence won’t go far. Sure, the organization might make some short-term gains, but over the long-term, the losses will outweigh any success.
Success only comes when you play as a team. The key is to end internal competition and get everybody aligned with “this is where we’re going.” Once that happens, the individual accolades will follow.
- Create a Team Philosophy
Management has to embrace a team philosophy that if everyone pulls together, everyone will get what they want. Realize that an employee or manager’s value is directly related to bottom line success. Think about it: Who wants to promote someone from a losing department? If you want to advance, show your commitment by making sure those around you advance. Additionally, management has to reinforce this ideology on a daily basis by communicating the team philosophy regularly and by meeting with staff individually to explain how adopting the corporate goals and values and sticking together will help everyone. Equally important is to make the communication real. People want to help but they often lose the personal connection in the midst of too much bureaucracy and end up focusing on just hitting “numbers.” Since this is a behavior and a mindset shift, it’ll take time to turn. It’s a lot like turning a battleship – slow and steady progress gets you to your goal.
- Instill a Sense of Camaraderie and Team Spirit
You can’t have a true team if everyone always stays to themselves in their offices and only interacts with each other during weekly meetings. In order to consistently reinforce this sense of team, you need to have everyone come together for some group time. You can do this in a variety of ways. You will find that creativity will flow much better in the days following the events, when everyone is feeling more connected.
- Get Team Members to Commit to Others Consciously and Verbally
Once your group feels good about the members of the team, the next step is to ask for a greater commitment. Remember, to have a true team, people must be committed to each other, not just an ideal, goal or person. When everyone is connected, there will be an opportunity to take the conversation to the next level. Plan this ahead of time and get everyone to sit and discuss what the next level would look like and how to get there. This is critical to gain momentum. Discuss what the individual benefit would be if the team succeeds. Keep in mind that not everyone is focused on money or career advancement.