Recently, my publisher sent me some complimentary download codes for the audio version of my book Smart Teams (shameless plug warning – you can download on Audible here). I decided to gift them to people who supported me by writing a testimonial for the book when it was first published.
I was surprised when one of the recipients, my good friend and mentor Peter Cook, ‘returned’ the gift. He said he really appreciated the gesture but did not feel he would listen to it because he prefers reading paper copies. He wanted me to give the code to someone who would actually use it. My initial reaction was one of mild indignation. It was a gift, why didn’t he just take it?
Then I thought about who Pete was – a man who values honesty above most other things. He could have thanked me, never activating the code, and I would be forever none the wiser. But his integrity called for him to be honest no matter what the situation. My thinking went from indignation to deep respect. I emailed him back and suggested that I would ‘pass it forward’ to one of my clients who works for a charity. So it went to a great cause, rather than being wasted.
Pete chose to exhibit the qualities of honesty and integrity in deciding how to act, and it reminded me of how important it is to possess the right qualities when it comes to working productively as a team. I reckon there are four key qualities everyone in your team needs to live by:
Purposeful – They ensure everything they do has a clear purpose, whether sending an email, calling a meeting or collaborating on a project
Mindful – They are always aware of how their behaviours positively or negatively impact the productivity of others
Reliable – They can be trusted to do what they say they will do, or renegotiate if they cannot
Punctual – They turn up on time, finish on time and deliver on time whenever humanly possible
Most people aspire to exhibit these qualities at work, but unfortunately there is often a gap between our good intentions and our actual behaviours. That is why I believe all teams should spend time creating team agreements or protocols, which the team ‘own’ and use to drive day-to-day behaviours. Team time spent on an initiative like this would see a lasting reduction in email noise, poor quality meetings, and ineffective collaboration.
Do you see the qualities above consistently exhibited by your team? If not, let’s have a chat about how our Smart Teams program could help.