Team Building efforts sometimes lack the sustenance needed to bring the team to the winning table. But you don’t have to carry the losing flag if you understand how your team brand identifies and assumes the winning position.
Several years back, I decided to sponsor a local little leagues baseball team as part of our local promotions. The process cost $150 and 20 small size t-shirts with my logo imprinted on the front of the shirt – on the back, each team members’ last name.
Traditional team colors were all taken, but I’d found a selection of bright orange T-shirts that weren’t taken and our logo looked great on the front of the shirt. The Blue and White logo stamped on the front actually stood out well on the Orange T’s. Orange was a local high school color and I had been proud to wear it, even though it wasn’t my personal best color. I just layered it over a black turtleneck and wore it anyway. Nowhere in my personal history had I conceived the idea that orange was a BAD color. Mind you, we were in COLORADO and the Broncos are popular here.
One little girl with big blue eyes walked up to the table as I was handing out orange T-shirts and said, “I can’t wear orange.”
I answered, “Sure you can, honey. It will look lovely on you.”
She said (much louder), “I have red hair and My Daddy is a Green Bay Packers fan. I can’t wear orange.”
That little girl was already not playing on my team. No matter what I said to her from that point forward, nothing I said would change her mind and make her play on the orange team. She had to find a different place to play – where they offered GREEN T-Shirts. Straight across from my table was the local mortician’s table and I noticed his T-shirts were green. I took her by the hand and walked across the hallway to his table. We shuffled the player list and he had a new red-head wearing a green t-shirt on his team. I brought back a little Bronco Fan to wear my orange JV Enterprizes shirt with the blue and white logo on the front.
That little story taught me a lesson. A couple of them really, but one important lesson keeps coming back to me over and over again.
Little red headed girls don’t wear orange.
Is this a branding technique? Yes. Is this a branding technique we can use with our businesses online? Yes. Is this a branding technique that we can implement? Yes.
There are important concepts that just do not bear changing as we brand our team building efforts in small business. These are important concepts that we must accept and acknowledge, allowing the concepts that DO work to be used better.
1 – Make sure your team members are playing on YOUR team.
You cannot force loyalty. That little red headed girl would NEVER have been on the orange team. Her heart wasn’t in it. When you build your team, let any little red headed girls who don’t want to play move to a different team. Loyalty comes willingly, not by force.
2 – Select a TRUE brand that suits everyone on the team.
This isn’t a matter of changing your brand. The most obvious brand will be the one you represent best. If you’re working an urban business and everyone on the team has to wear a cowboy hat and spurs, not only will their uniform be unsettling, it won’t sell. Select your TRUE brand.
3 – Use the Goose Leader Principle with your team.
When geese fly south, they form a huge V to break the wind. As the leader tires, the next goose slips into the point formation and then the next. Use the same principle with your team and encourage all participants to lead in their area of expertise. Your team will be stronger with better leadership.
4 – Know your team’s destination and have a plan.
Back to the geese, they know where they’re going and they know how to get there. They follow the lead goose. Young geese follow the old geese, the old geese know the way and when they head south for the winter – they point their V south.
5 – Keep up the motivation as you move forward with team effort.
When everyone is on board, wearing the same t-shirt, following the same path, and dedicated to the purpose of the team, motivation becomes a unified effort. The little red headed girl would have thrown a monkey wrench into the program… Without her, the team can be positive, uplifting, and motivated to win because they’re all supporting the same goal.
NOTE: I have nothing against little red headed girls. I LOVE that little red headed girl. She’s a precious teenager now and I adore her. Last I knew, she still doesn’t wear orange.
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