Want to build a winning team?
Take some tips from the SEALs.
Shawn Parr is
the CEO of Bulldog
Drummond, an innovation and design
consultancy. For more
business and career
tips, follow him on
50 southwest april 2015
Navy SEAL teams are famous for their
ability to achieve the seemingly impossible. While not all of their methods
are appropriate for the rest of us, we
can certainly learn a lot from their culture of teamwork.
First of all, SEALs emphasize demeanor. This means displaying confidence in
your ability to contribute to the team.
Managers should coach their teams the
same way: not about you. about
what you bring to the team. This makes
sense in business as well as battle. While
talented individualists are great at personal ventures, team-oriented people do
more for the collective effort.
Another factor in SEAL success: trust.
Each SEAL must believe that the teammate behind him is capable of saving
his life. Company leaders should instill
the same trust in their teams; the livelihood of their employees depends on it.
Training and regular evaluations should
emphasize the culture,
and managers should praise supportive
kind of effort that makes
another person succeed.
Individualized training is part of the
SEAL mission, and it should be central
to every business. Too few employees
get all the training they need; time and
money tend to limit opportunities for
education and improvement. Leaders
should go out of their way to learn about
each member of their team and develop
individual talents. And direct reports
should get praise for asking questions
and seeking guidance.
Finally, businesses should learn
from SEAL team interchangeability. While each SEAL gets training
to achieve his personal potential, he also
gets thoroughly trained in every other
task demanded of the team. That way, the
rest of the unit can carry on a mission
even when one is lost. Similarly, business
specialists should receive additional
training in other tasks the team requires.
Each member should feel responsible
for carrying on the mission even when
another is absent.
Any business that can successfully
incorporate these four factors into its
culture will find itself with a revived spirit, greater productivity, and increased
employee retention. As every SEAL will
tell you, not just a job. a mission.
ILLUSTRATION BY DAVIDE BONAZZI