A code to live by. A set of principles and standards that guides actions and decisions. In the old west, a cowboy’s code is what helped build trust and collaboration amongst the other riders on the trail. This way, they were a team working for a common goal. And a cowboy without a team wasn’t often successful, or safe, for that matter.
In some instances, success of a team can be measured in the output of the individuals, but it can always be traced back to the foundational principals of the organization. The structure of the team stems from these guiding principles created for the team. Work ethic, team allegiance, collaborative ability, problem solving and trust; all key factors for shaping a team and developing a code for the team. And by showing your workforce a decisive and unified set of standards, the development of loyalty and honor will be a natural progression.
Initiating the Team Bond
A loyal and honorable workforce has to be cultivated from the onset. The process will be an investment in the individual and begins with the initial interview process. Don’t be afraid to lay out your overarching plans and principles. Inform the candidates of your position on what you are expecting, as a facilities management team leader. By being upfront and honest about your expectations, the individuals come to understand what to expect of you and what level of candor they can, in turn, have with you and upper management and fellow facilities team members. Cowboys were straight shooters to make sure there was no confusion on where and how 10,000 cows were moving from here to there. This kind of approach, although adjusted for the times, is exactly what still works for the modern team.
Stacking the Deck
“This is why you must have a keen eye for talent that can evaluate people not only on their ability to play a particular role – but even more so on whether they fit the workplace culture, the system and will be a team player.” -Glenn Llopis
As team members are added, your continued use of guiding principles helps to quickly establish their place in the organization. By being able to feel inclusion from the onset, the team works to better their performance standards. Ask any winning athletics team about how they got to the top and they will tell you it came from challenging themselves to be better, never resting on their laurels. The old adage of the team being only as strong as the weakest link could not be more true, too. As new members are added, your job as the FM is to see how they fit and make changes as needed. Have the courage to make bold and decisive choices for your team to show your continued commitment and they will do the same.
Make the Most of Your Work Environment
Just like teams develop winning plays and strategies, cowboys also sought out effective methods to increase their working conditions and abilities. There was no shame in learning from others and borrowing good ideas.
When the team feels successful, loyalty and honor become badges of honor for the members. Again, this success is often derived from the leadership. Be a constant presence and promoter without appearing overbearing. Encourage the sharing of ideas with each other, both individually and departmentally, and the team will see the value of working together for the benefit of the whole organization. In addition, encourage feedback from the team members to identify areas of improvement. The trail boss needed all of his hands working together and communicating to be successful. Don’t leave a man lost on the trail because they don’t know where to turn next.
Ride for the Horizon
As mentioned previously, there is little time to sit back in today’s work environment for danger of being left behind. Cowboys always had to be on their toes, watching each other’s backs and anticipating what was around the next corner. The modern FM must also keep an eye to the future to anticipate shifting trends and emerging technologies. Being able to adjust and grow allows for and encourages improved tools for the team, as well as a continued push for better results, which keeps the competitive fires burning for the team. Tools for managing space, increasing communication or tracking assets can be especially effective in organizing the team and increasing the overall ease of collaboration and customer service.
The code or set of principles you follow and set forth for your team is critical for fostering the loyalty and honor in your team, which is sought after by so many businesses and organizations alike. Your team wants to know you are watching and taking note of the hard work they are putting in and the results thereafter. You want them to give their best efforts and work with fluidity and a spirit of community. Fortunately, these desires can mutually benefit each other, but the initiation comes from the leader of the team. Make sure your code is appropriate and will foster the true results you are looking for.