Living and Giving

Building Teams

People often speak of \”Building Teams.\”  It\’s one of the most crucial parts of any endeavor, attracting and inspiring a group of talented, smart, caring people who are all committed to the integrity of your goal.  It may also be one of the most rewarding parts of your venture, working with likeminded people with similar values, ideals, aspirations.

It\’s not just about building, however; it\’s about maintaining and managing a team. All of that entails ensuring you attract not only people aligned with your vision, but also people who work well together in the execution of this vision.  Singularly talented people simply aren\’t enough.  Adding to it, we must care specifically about each team member\’s goals and growth.  Join me as we explore the positives and growth opportunities in building, and maintaining, your team.


Know Your Team\’s Goals Outside of Work: The Beauty of Balance

I hope I believe in balance. And part of that is identifying and knowing your team members\’ goals outside of work.

That\’s right: Not for your company, not for your quarterly earnings, not for your company\’s internal vision.  Your team\’s personal goals. Do they like fishing?  Is their favorite companion a dog?  Do they want to go to business school?

It\’s important to have outside lives and interests.  You have to begin by recognizing those first for yourself.  Your team will see you modeling this balance and how it makes you a whole, fully giving person.

In my life, family is #1 for me.  I need to and want to take care of my mom, my dad, my sister and brother-in-law\’s kids.  Secondly, I adore Improv. Exploring different characters, connecting with others on stage, and following the wisdom of listening and intuition is so thrilling. It makes me a better person, as well being fun.

The beauty of this balance is that I come back energized to UniversalGiving.  My mind has had \”time off\’ and is thrilled to reengage with our efforts to serve. I look at challenges in a new light.  My energy is renewed. I bring new skills to the table; my thoughts are stronger and more helpful.

And so it should be with our team.  We try to encourage our team to have outside interests, and to share their goals. We know UniversalGiving can\’t be everything for everyone (even me :)). And so I love to hear about the other interests– how can we help further them? One person wants to be a writer. Another wants to go into aerospace. If I know this, perhaps someday I can help them. I can watch out for a person or introduction that might be helpful.  Or even in a small way, I can find a helpful article in my daily journey of reading.

We\’re all here to help each other. It can happen in so many ways.  Focus on encouraging a balanced life and sharing of one another\’s goals.  Let\’s see how much we can help each other.  It will amaze you how much it energizes your organization, and propels your vision forward.  But  most importantly, it honors the other person wholistically, just as you would want to be honored.

Know Your Goals. Know Your Team\’s Goals. Celebrate the Beauty of Balance!


Focusing on People, In-Person
Inspired by \”The Decade in Management Ideas\” by Julia Kirby

One of the least sexy, but most important \’innovations\’ of the next decade, will be in people skills and relationship cultivation. This is especially true for those just coming out of college. They\’ll need to learn how to create long-term, in-person relationships that can\’t be facilitated by Facebook, email, or texting. I am not saying the latter is bad; they are actually good to increase and enhance an already strong relationship. But they are not the foundation.

Even with all our technological enhancements and analytical tools, we\’ll never achieve true efficiency and lasting results, unless we focus on people. \”The quicker\” we get, the more we\’ll need to focus on people. We can\’t skirt over the fact that longterm relationships of trust are what make the best businesses hum.

And that doesn\’t take analysis. It doesn\’t take technology. It takes a commitment to qualities of increased understanding, excellent listening skills, and helping others achieve their goals as well as those of the organizations.

And it takes time.


Creating Peace
Inspired by \”The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations\” by Peter Bregman

Diffusing conflict in a conversation is so connected to the goal of creating greater world trust, leading to peace. The fundamentals of the situation are in some ways no different than the larger issues of world peace we face in our world…

People need to be heard. There are so many different perspectives. They need to feel cared about.  They need to be sincerely listened to…and with that comes, trust of another person, that we truly have their best interests at heart. From trust, comes peace.  I\’m not sure we can \’work\’ at peace. I do know that we can work at building trust, and building trusting relationships.

I wonder if 98% of our world\’s challenges comes from our spiritual, emotional and personal skills in learning how to communicate respectfully and kindly.  A lifelong devotion we should all take on. Practically every moment of everyday affords us an opportunity for this – the opportunities to care, listen and love abound!


Leading Together
Inspired by \”Leadership Isn\’t About You\” by Marshall Goldsmith

The best leaders are inspiring, coaching and impelling their team to higher levels of accomplishment and growth. They provide opportunities, and unleash the beautiful, unique capabilities of each team member. Then, too, your team members are inspired to contribute — and lead — impacting your business in so many, many fruitful ways.

I see it as a partnership. People do appreciate firmness in direction from the leader. It\’s what I would call the \’humble confidence\’ of defining a new, more positive future, and driving the team to help accomplish this vision. It isn\’t forceful. But it is compelling, and includes everyone in that drive. People deserve and need to be inspired.

At the same time, it amazes me that entrepreneurs are seen as such solo beacons of light in starting an organization. Absolutely untrue. The amount of people who have helped; the right timing of your venture; the hardwork and diligence of so many, many team members is what got you to where you are today. We have to be cognizant of this. We built together.

We need leaders. And leaders exist at every level, and regardless of age. I do tell our team that everyone is a leader here at UniversalGiving. I think we need to expand our definition of concept of who is a leader….
Turn Your Team House into a Team Home

Build — and maintain — your team.  If you are building your \”Team House,\” — we all know the foundation of the \”Team House,\”  the walls, the support, the roof, the chimney, need to maintained, cleaned and carefully attended to.   In our business-minded society, we pay so much attention to Building a Team, but that\’s just where it starts. The \’less racy,\’ but critically important side is the maintenance.  It keeps everything flowing, strong and beautiful as you achieve your vision.

Building a house is grand.  It\’s visionary, creative, energy pumping.  You see the progress, and immediately so.

Keep in mind that maintaining a house sometimes entails a lot of cleaning.  You might need to do a lot of sweeping; at some point, it might entail getting rid of asbestos, or, even having a termite fumigation. That\’s right: Sometimes your Team House needs to be completely under cover and thoroughly cleansed before it can advance into the sunlight and be the strong House it is designed to be.

Sometimes you may need to build on an additional room. Or you might add a joyful, transparent skylight which sheds more light on your vision.

Or, you might have to rebuild the entire house.

Be prepared to maintain your Team House with constant, caring attention. Every day is precious with your Team House. There is no day that you do not affect it; you either contribute to its strength or weakness, every moment.  Everyone in your Team House does.

So choose carefully when you begin building. But allow the rooms to change, grow, become more adorned, be gutted, wallpapered, mirrored or refloored. No house stays the same.

You are the Master Architect, and that job doesn\’t end once the house is completed.  Realize that everyone on the team is some type of contributing architect, and listen accordingly. They are building all the time, too.

The best end result of Your Team House is when it becomes what we all long for: A Home.  The values are what bind; the structure can change. The strength and commitment of the Home are wedded to the intangibles of Vision, Values, Trust, Appreciation and Results.  \”Team Home\” replaces the \”Team House.\”

Build your Team House.   Maintain it.  Then aspire to turn that Team House into a Team Home.


How Do You Build a Top Team?
Inspired by \”Shareholders Win When Employees Are Motivated\” by David Serchuk

Building a good team is an ongoing commitment. It\’s interesting that when one first hires a new team member it seems to focus on \’closing the deal.\’ But actually, it\’s about \”keeping the deal open\” and maintaining longterm, mutually valuable communications throughout the team member\’s tenure — and after.

A note to keep in mind. Each team member is different. Some are motivated by numbers. Others enjoy constant positive feedback. Some enjoy title; others working on major partnerships; some being the silent hero behind the scene; or attending to important details and keeping the \’ship smoothly running.\’

Listen to your team members and work with what motivates them specifically. Remember that they are changing. Grow with them. Grow their roles for them.  Grow together.

7 thoughts on “Building Teams”

  1. Thanks a lot for your blog, when i have many problem regarding the life and work. i always read your blog to reduce them. thank you again for your culture of knowledge sharing. it is best quality medical if everyone spent their time to read it.

    1. Dear Ponlok,

      Thank you for your kind comments… I am so grateful! Yes, keeping our hearts filled with the positive.. and constantly moving forward — are wonderful for our health and heart. By doing so I know you are helping so many, not just yourself. I bet the people around you will also feel your care.

      Sincerely, Pamela

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