Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

October 2008

October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Current Trends of the Industry

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans

A special thank you to the Annual Conference Sponsors:



Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.

Why do teams fail? Because they fail to…

By Laura Benjamin
Colorado Communication Coach

1. Thank each other. They believe that recognition is only their manager’s job and don’t realize that appreciation from their peers is often more important. When you work side by side with someone who you respect, their word of thanks or “good job” means a lot. Don’t be stingy with your appreciation.

2. See the value in each other’s roles. They fail to recognize that if they don’t have a strong “idea person” on the team, or a strong “executor/implementer” that their team would be lopsided - certain tasks would not get done or even started.

3. Discover each other’s strengths. At the beginning of each project, teams should take time to go ’round the table and state, “here’s what I’m good at” or “here’s where my strengths lie”. That way, people are very clear about which roles they should play and have a better idea how to achieve the tasks before them. They’ll be using their resources wisely. Too often, we don’t even know whether a teammate is left handed or right handed, much less recognize what they’re good at.

4. Practice diversity vs cloning. Teams tend to clone themselves and select participants who are “just like me”. They often fail to see that someone with a radically different approach may bring a perspective that makes the team smarter, stronger. Granted, these people will rock the boat and question groupthink. But if we’re looking for innovative and creative thinking, it doesn’t serve the organization to play it safe. Focus your efforts on diversity of thought - not just skin color.

5. Recognize the Informal leader’s power. There are those who command a great deal of respect and informal authority because of who they are and how they conduct themselves vs what rank or title they hold. These folks have the ability to influence others and get things done in ways that others cannot.

6. Stop disrespectful behaviors as soon as they appear. There is no reason to allow someone to disrespect others on the team OR to disrespect those who are not on the team! It weakens everyone’s credibility, causes hard feelings, and overall impacts performance and productivity. If you don’t call them on their behavior early on, you also allow a pattern to develop, which may get in the way of achieving your goals.

7. Form friendships. When Gallup Organization identified employee 12 top needs in their book “First Break All the Rules”, they found that having a “best friend at work” was one of the important factors that contributed to high performing teams. While it doesn’t mean that each team must be made up of “best friends”, it does mean that teams who ARE friends tend to spin circles around the rest. Most people hesitate to let a friend down. There’s a higher sense of obligation and commitment.

8. “Fire” people who refuse to “play”. We all know the one’s who sit back, arms crossed and let everyone else do the work. They are there in body only, they don’t contribute and they make it clear through their non-verbals that they can’t wait to get out of there and back to their “real” work. These folks should be invited to leave the team and it should be reflected on their performance reviews under the Team Player category that they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

9. Give each other permission to start over. (Kinda like the diet) It’s okay to admit that something didn’t work as expected, but it’s not okay to hold it against the person who came up with the idea in the first place. Make it clear that mistakes are expected and are just another way to eliminate what won’t work in order to get to the successful strategies. This takes patience and guts, by the way.

10. Appreciate how powerful they really are! Highly functioning teams can be very influential when they learn to leverage the knowledge, skills, relationships and energy of those with a single purpose. The momentum they bring to any problem, decision or direction can be unstoppable. Just like the power of a hurricane, successful teams may take time to grow, but once they’re “spinning”, they’re a formidable force indeed!

From: Colorado Communication Coach, an entertaining blog on interpersonal communication, careers and personal change by Laura Benjamin, Colorado communication and career coach, facilitator and professional speaker. http://laurabenjaminsblog.com/subscribe/

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