Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Team Relationships

Now that it is clear to you the kinds of people that you require for an effective team, how are you faring?  Just looking at the subject of teams in isolation makes us feel like the team is all that we need for our Visions to be effectively fulfilled or actualized.  I wish it was that easy. The truth is it is not.  But remember that as long as you are determined, you will have to give all that is required to get moving until you reach your destination.

Today I want us to look at one issue that stems from putting a team together.  And that is the issue of relationships!  As long as you have a team, even if it is only of two people, a relationship is bound to evolve.  Now what I am trying to pass across is the fact that a team is only as effective as the relationship that they have amongst themselves.

What is a relationship? It is a state of ‘connectedness’ between people who have mutual dealings within a family or a team.  So for your team to effectively perform and deliver, you have the need to ensure that you model a great relationship module for them to follow.  Let’s look at a few ways by which you can enhance relationships within your team.

1.      ENSURE EACH MEMBER UNDERSTANDS THE VISION:  A team is a group of people travelling in the same direction towards a common goal.  How will they know what direction they are required to go except they are conversant with the vision?  That is why the first rule of getting your team to deliver is to ensure they know and understand the Vision inside out!  You can never share the Vision too many times!  Write it out, let them know what it is that the team is seeking to achieve together.

2.      COMMUNICATING:  One of the greatest challenges within teams is communication!  What I mean by communication is an ability to not just use words but use words that mean something to each member of the team.  A lot of people, depending on their temperament, tend to say one thing but mean another!  When I say the words ‘nothing’ to my husband for instance, he tends to stick around to ask more questions. This is because over the years he has learnt that in my mind, nothing means ‘you have to prod deeper’ or ‘something is wrong but I don’t want to say.’  One effective way to go about ensuring that what an individual is saying is what you are hearing is to repeat to them, in your own words, what you are hearing.  When I ask a team member what they think of an idea and they say things like its okay, or nice, I want to go on and ask them, what they mean by okay or nice.  I can go further and ask which part of it do you like? What this does is it forces the individual to give more thought to the issue before he or she responds to me.

3.      ENCOURAGE AND EVALUATE FEEDBACK:  Once the individual states what he is thinking or feeling, it is usually safer  and wiser to take time out to evaluate his contributions before you agree or disagree.  I used to tend to disagree immediately I hear something I feel is not what I will rather hear, and the way I disagree, I find, usually puts the individual on the defensive and depending on how they react, not come back to me with feedback next time.  However, I am beginning to find that even if I will disagree with a team member’s feedback, it is usually better to take a few moments and think it through so I am able to pick my words carefully.  This usually will enable me debate the issues rather than give in to emotions, and enable me ask intelligent questions that can move the group forward.

4.      LISTEN:  One more way to enhance relationships within a team is to model the ability to be a good listener.  I find that when I am able to listen objectively and intently, I am able to catch what the team member may be saying but not as clear as he should and my ability to repeat his thoughts can usually clarify them. This helps me generate the right questions, which invariably leads to the right answers and of course effective dispensation of responsibility.

5.      RECOGNIZE THAT EVERY ONE BRINGS SOMETHING TO THE TEAM:  Finally, for this post, every one who has made it into the team has made it because they have something to contribute.  If you will allow each person to work from their strengths and give each one the opportunity to express themselves how they know how to, they will be a lot more effective when they make their contributions.

The truth is that no man can work a vision on his own, what is the essence of putting together a team, if each one works on a different agenda?   Relationships help team members find a way to connect with each other to move the dream forward.

Till next week, your dream will come to manifestation NeverTheLess.


Sistar B

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The trouble with most of us is we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. – Norman Vincent Peale

“Mummy can I open this bottle?”

“No, Josh you can’t.”

“But why not? “

“Because the liquid will pour.”

“So what will happen if the liquid pours?”

“It will stain the carpet.”

"What will happen if the carpet is stained…?”

My son was three years and he already was full of questions and will not stop until he is satisfied or you probably get irritated and send him off somewhere. 

At this age we can tolerate them; these are the people called the Investigators.  These people, on any team, are the ones who want to know what can go wrong; they never jump at any idea with enthusiasm, because it is their gift to see things that others may not perceive.  You may probably call them pessimists or skeptics, and decide not to invite them to join your team.

I can understand that you want the right kind of vibe and energy around you while you work your dream; however, every team needs an investigator as I choose to call them.  They are not the most encouraging people you will find, but they help me see possible pitfalls and allow me ample time to either work on averting them or prepare myself to work round them.   Either way these personality types can add value to your dream and vision if you know how to react and take on board their opinions and observations.  The question is will I pay an investigator to stay on my team and spread bad vibes? At face value maybe not, but if you have developed yourself to be objective in viewing their issues and taking into perspective their opinions, they can save you a lot of unnecessary pain and setbacks.

The other set of people I recommend for every team are the Critics, especially those who never give constructive criticism. Now this group of people I may not go looking for but they also have their use and like they say ‘every dog has its day’.  When we started publishing Effectual, it wasn’t perfect but it was a product I was proud of.  I took it to show to some friends of mine and I solicited their ‘constructive’ criticism. But there was this one guy who had only negative things to say. In criticizing he had no respect for the vision, did not seek to understand the goal and just went to town telling me how the magazine will not do well ‘unless’ I made some changes.

Now for me the things he asked to be changed were part of our Vision and Unique Selling Point!  His stance tore me to shreds on the inside but it also helped me to resolve to give it my best shot and make all the required sacrifices to prove that what we had was a worthwhile Vision.

The critics you don’t need to pay, but they will come find you, and when they come, I encourage you to understand that they have their use too.  If Judas had not colluded with the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers, Jesus would not have been killed.  If he didn’t die on the cross, we would not have received redemption.

In the words from a tweet by @BishopJakes ‘If the belligerence of men can kill your dream, you have no right to obtain it. You have to withstand insults and keep on moving.’

Your team will not be complete and functional if these two sets of people are left out.  Your dream will go as far as your resilience even in the face of senseless criticism.  Remember, your dream is worth the fight! You will make it NeverTheLess.

Love you lots

Sistar B

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


“The freedom to do your own thing
Ends when you have obligations and responsibilities;
If you want to fail yourself – you – can
But you cannot do your own thing if you
have responsibilities to team members”. Lou Holtz

Welcome! Like I said the last time, picking your team is a big deal, and you must ensure that no matter what the circumstances are, you do your best to pick the right people.

However, before we begin to pick other people today, let me quickly ask that you pick YOU, yes YOU! This point has become vital because I have had some feedback from the last few postings and one that has stood out is that a lot of people do not understand that even though you cannot work your dream alone, you need to be the first member of the team.

Let me explain. A man has a dream to build an estate and has counted the cost, he will need land, he will need building materials, he will need some building permits and he will most definitely need other professionals in that industry.

So he sets out to begin to assemble his team, he picks everybody including the person who will donate the land, and the one who will pay for the building permits, but forgets or refuses to assign to himself any responsibility other than that of issuing the orders and commands!  My question is; what is wrong with this picture?

The man has called people to make all kinds of sacrifices for his dream but has refused to make sacrifices of his own. He misconstrues the ability to dream as the only prerequisite for success! Being a part of a team who will work a dream takes SACRIFICE!

And everyone on the team must make PERSONAL SACRIFICE especially the one who has the dream!  Your sacrifice may not have anything to do with giving up your resources even though I know it almost certainly does! 

The greatest sacrifice is that of giving up the liberty to do things your own way without consulting with your team! John C. Maxwell says the word TEAM is an acronym for Together Each Achieves More!  As the team leader, you will have to lay aside your personal nuances and likes to accommodate others so you can move your Vision closer to destiny.

A wise man told me recently that the Bible says “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me” but that what most of us do is take up our crosses in the form of our dreams and visions and begin to follow.  Forgetting that it begins with denying yourself!

In essence, to walk/work a dream with others, you must pick YOU, deny yourself the luxury of having the final say every time, take up the cross of making your own sacrifices and head out towards destiny.  Like I always say, the road may be full of mountains and valleys, but if you will stick to the plan and the process, you will make it Nevertheless!

God bless and keep your dream alive.


Sistar B

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who is on your Team?

Now that you have shared the Vision, did you have any buy-ins?  What do I mean ‘buy-in’? I mean how many people seem excited about what you have shared?

The mistake a lot of us make is we employ people and expect them to fall into our team.  I know this might sound like reverse psychology. I have found out, with most of the things I do, that those who walk up to me after hearing me share a bit of my Vision and tell me that what I have said resonates within their hearts, if we get to transition into a team, are usually the ones who stick and go the long haul with the dream irrespective of situation or circumstance.

When looking for a team, a few things must come to mind, my first litmus test is to ask someone who seems to fit into your team to share the Vision you have shared the way they understand it.  This usually makes things clearer for me because you will be able to tell right away whether they believe in the integrity of that Vision, or just need a job.

Also, there are those who in the process of sharing the Vision the way they have understood it, end up amplifying what you want to do sometimes even into horizons you were probably not looking at.  These I will call co-dreamers and they are a must for every Vision.

Let us move to those who are there to solve the issues and problems that might arise; these ones when you ask them to share the Vision the way they understand it, will almost always be very empirical and surgical in how they want to approach and deal with the seamless working of the Vision.  These are for me the problem solvers. Their job, it seems, is to look for what might go wrong and so have a solution ready. These are also extremely important as well.

The next set for me are the ones whom when you ask them to explain the Vision, come at it from the angle of how it will add value to society.  Now this is the catch, because we are moving from organizations that create businesses to make money to organizations that do business by first identifying the Value they can add to society. These set of people form the conscience of your business and as long as you have them, your business is bound to remain relevant. 

Finally, for this post please remember that every Visioneer has a need for people who will inspire them, people who will be willing to tell them the truth and people who bring something different to the table.

Your dream is your life work as I always say and it doesn’t matter what you think right now, you need others to make it happen for you.  In the words of my Coach John C. Maxwell, “the size of your dream will determine the size of the people attracted to it.  If you have a very big dream, you have even greater potential for good people to help you.”  Just know that you will not be able to do it alone, so pick your team carefully!


Sistar B

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Build your TEAM, Share the VISION

To achieve all that is possible,
We must attempt the impossible.
To be all we can be,
We must dream of being more.
To reach our dreams,
We must reach out to others.
John C. Maxwell

One of the most difficult things I have had to deal with in living my dream was to pick teams and stick with them. This is because I am pretty much a lone ranger and love to work alone.  I am my best when I dream and execute alone, or so I thought.

I struggled with teams because I am told I am predominantly a choleric, and that means I find it difficult to wait for others to get a handle on the vision before I set out.  But working and living a dream has started to cure me of that trait and hopefully, I will be cured totally to be all that I can be because of my team.

As I have come to learn, to pick a team, especially in a society where the value for hard work and process is totally disregarded, you may have to look very closely and judge by a number of traits.

When your dream is in its initial stage, you find out that you are still scared of expenses and overhead, so you tend to pick people who may not be bringing the required skill or value to the table.  So it becomes a case of ‘cheap’, but I can tell you from experience that cheap will produce cheap.

The first thing I now look for when putting a team together is a determination of how much of the VISION they understand. Now because you are picking a team that will not only work, but can contribute to your dreaming process, the first responsibility will be yours, to share the VISION.

Sharing the VISION is never too much. What I mean is you can never share your VISION too many times. They say repetition is the best form of emphasis, and in the case of picking your team you cannot share your VISION enough.  In Habakkuk 2, the Bible says that the VISION is for an appointed time, that we ought to write it down so those who read it might be able to run with it.

Does your team understand your VISION enough to be able to share it in their own words? 

Competence, complimentary skills or talents, commitment and so many other traits we shall be discussing through this month are important, but I dare say none of these is as important as an accurate understanding of the Vision. 

So before you pick your team, ensure that your VISION is simple enough for them to grasp and run with.

Till next time keep living your dream.

Love you lots

Sistar B