Building The Best Team

Business can be tough. The mortgage business these days is really tough. So, how do you succeed? One way is by having the right team and motivating that team to perform. In an article that I read recently called “Top 10 Team Building Ideas” by Jon Gordon, he shares his ideas about team building. Here’s what he advises:

1.) If You Really Knew Me. If you really knew me you would know this about me_________. Gordon recently took a leadership team through this exercise and at first they shared very shallow comments like “you would know that I’m very generous and wonderful” with him. But after challenging them to go deeper and sharing something vulnerable about himself they started sharing meaningful stories and feelings that connected the team in a deep and powerful way.

2.) Share a Defining Moment. When a leader and each team member share a defining moment in their life you learn things you never knew before. Immediately you know your team members a whole lot better and feel more connected to them.

3.) The Safe Seat. Gordon recently wrote about how Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the Clemson University Football team, put a “safe seat” in the middle of the team meeting room and had each team member sit on the seat and answer questions about his life. It’s called a safe seat because what is shared in the room stays in the room. This makes it safe for each person to be vulnerable and transparent.

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4.) Hero, Highlight, and Hardship. According to Cori Close, the UCLA women’s basketball coach, sharing hardship is important. With this exercise each person talks about one of their heroes and why they are their hero. Then they share a positive highlight as well as a hardship from their past.

5.) The Hard Hat. As a team, discuss and identify the characteristics of a great team member. What does it mean to be a great team member? Write all the characteristics on the board/wall. Have each person choose the one that resonates most with him or her.

6.) Get on the Bus Together. Rhonda Revelle, the University of Nebraska Softball coach, paired up her team and had each pair present to the rest of the team 1 of the 10 rules of The Energy Bus book in a fun and creative way. Some made a video, others sang a song, some gave a speech, some made a painting, etc. Rhonda said the team took on a whole new life and energy after these teammates brought the rules to life for each other. She said this energy propelled them to the College World Series that year.

7.) One Word. Have each team member choose one word that will help drive them to be their best and bring out the best in others. You may choose a word such as: connect, commit, serve, give, help, care, love, tough, relentless, excellence, selfless, and so on. Each person should choose a word that is the right fit for him or her. Once you choose your words you can make a team poster, sign or image that features all the words of the team.

8.) Fuel up the Tanks. The Brown University Women’s Lacrosse team gave each player a manila envelope with a picture of a bus and their name on it. The envelopes represented their energy bus tanks and were placed on a table in the locker-room. Players were also given index cards where they could write something positive about a teammate and place the card (positive fuel) in their teammates manila envelope (energy bus tank). After practices and games players were encouraged to write positive comments and fill their teammate’s energy bus tanks with positive energy. The exercise created more positive interactions and generated appreciation and encouragement that fueled the team throughout the year.

9.) Leave a Legacy – Have each team member create and share a legacy statement that includes the kind of impact they want to have on their team. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want others to say about you year later? Knowing how you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live today.

10.) 20 Questions – Make up a list of 20 questions. During each team building session pair up with a different team member and ask/answer the questions about each other. This will help you get to know your team members and become more connected.

Now go out and build your team.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to creating a power team.

About The Author

Michael Hammond
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.