The Archbishop of York Is Keynote Speaker At Event Sponsored By Tribe 365

19 Oct 2021

The importance of praise and unity were two of the key themes that The Archbishop of York focused on during his recent keynote speech at the North East Chamber of Commerce President’s Lunch, sponsored by Tribe 365.

And those themes chimed with the introduction Tribe 365 co-founder Oliver Randall gave to a room packed full of industry leaders about ‘Awesomeness’ and helping companies achieve the ultimate organisational goal of ‘High Performing Everyone’.

What Do We Mean By ‘Awesome’?

Sure, ‘Awesome’ is a word that’s overused and misused.

Skateboarding and surfing types stopped using it largely because it was co-opted by mainstream society and desperately uncool parents.

The other day, someone on A Place in The Sun described the majestic seaview offered by a flat in Spain they were being shown around as ‘awesome’. Which would have been apt if they hadn’t already (mis)used it 100 times to describe contents ranging from a decent-sized second bedroom to some, in truth, rather outdated kitchen cabinets.

And, of course, ‘awesome’ – or ‘awe’, at least – often crops up in The Bible: usually when an acolyte or future convert is being terrified half-to-death by something like a burning bush or sword-wielding angel.

But ‘Awesome’ definitely has its uses. Good uses. No less so when it comes to performance. Because when people – or a group of people – start to deliver excellence on a consistent basis, it really can be awe-inspiring… and therefore AWESOME.

But how do you get to a place where not just individuals but whole teams regularly achieve awesomeness?

Putting The Team First

For too long, workplaces have focused on optimal performance from individuals

Organisations have relied on superstars to make up for the supposed deficiencies of their fellow team members.

And you can easily see why there has been such a focus on individuals. It’s in a lot of people’s natures to want to compete with one another and stand out from the crowd. To be the hero or heroine. And companies can get the best out of their best people by harnessing these instincts and desires.

I mean, we’ve all seen the classic 80s films about testosterone-filled men and ambitious women trying to outdo each other by almost any means, right? 

Hey, maybe academic systems are set up to facilitate ‘the cream rising to the top’ too? You only have to look at the nature of all-powerful business schools and the Holy Grail that is the MBA to realise how centred they are by personal achievement. 

But here’s the thing: superstars leave. And it’s not always possible to replace them – and certainly not without considerable expense and time spent on recruitment.
And here’s another: no individual, however talented, can deliver anywhere as much as a united team full of individuals pulling in the same direction and delivering high performance.

High Performance Requires The Right Environment

Michael Jordan is unquestionably one of the greatest sports stars to have ever lived. Some actually consider him to have been the very greatest – and it’s hard (although not impossible) to argue.

But could he have achieved all the superhuman things he did without a great team culture? Absolutely not.

Have you seen the Netflix documentary series The Last Dance

Honestly, you should watch it, even if you’re not into basketball or sports at all – it’s a phenomenal story about human achievement, failings and what goes into creating and maintaining incredible success.

Sure, the superstar Michael Jordan is ostensibly the main focus – but what’s most striking about it is the theme running through the series like a pulsing vein: how crucial the team and organisational culture was to the success (and eventual fall) of the almost mythological Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.  

At times, it seemed that Michael Jordan could pretty much walk on air. His personal performances were the stuff of Greek epic poetry. So, you’d think he’d spend his retirement reflecting on those magical moments etched in the minds of millions across the world and captured in genuinely iconic (another overused word!) images. 

But, no: the man was – and is – utterly fixated on not only the importance of the team culture that divisive coach Phil Jackson built but also the culture of the Chicago Bulls as an overall organisation.

Now, some aspects of that culture are rather jolting. It takes mere seconds for that fluffy Space Jam and Air Jordan brand image to be laid bare, revealing in its place a man with a monomania for personal and team victory that manifests itself (as Jordan himself freely acknowledges) in some fairly unpleasant behaviour. 

We’re not in any way advocating behaviour of that kind. But it’s crystal clear that Jordan believed that he couldn’t do the seemingly superhuman things he did without a team around him united in the same purpose. And woe betide anyone who came into that team culture that didn’t 100% believe in what the Bulls were doing and how they were going to do it.

Building A Great Team Culture In 2021 And Beyond

Now, are we saying that the environment the Chicago Bulls built is the right kind for your business? Of course not. 

Sport is a brutal and 100% results-focused business. And we’re pretty sure that you couldn’t get away with a lot of the behaviour they displayed in the 1990s, either from an HR or ethical perspective!

But a key lesson that every business can take from The Last Dance is that, yes, individuals count for a great deal – but you need to build an environment that gives everyone the opportunity to be awesome. 

In that Chicago Bulls culture, the troubled Dennis Rodman was able to achieve awesome; Scottie Pippen achieved awesome; Steve Kerr, Luc Longley and Jed Buechler achieved awesome. Not necessarily because they were the very best players in the NBA – but because they (and Jordan with them) 100% believed and were totally committed to what Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls were trying to achieve. 

Now, try to apply that thinking to your culture. Your business is probably about as far away as it’s possible to get from slam dunks and last-second three-pointers. But it’s the same in the respect that, to achieve awesomeness as a team, everybody in it needs to completely believe in what they are doing and be fully aware of what the others around them are doing.

And culture isn’t just about what we do at work. It’s also about what we’re able to do away from work because we’re able to achieve the right balance in our lives. Let’s have a brief look at that in the next section.

Awesomeness Requires Balance

Work can become an obsession that makes some managers or leaders expect things from their people that they shouldn’t expect – or even expect. 

Work can be something people grow to resent if it gets in the way of them doing other things in their lives, like being on time for parents’ evenings; taking some time out of their day to recharge their batteries without fear of reprimand; or going on holiday without the anxiety that their inbox is filling up with loads of things that will cause them immediate stress when they get back.

And sometimes people will just have too much on their plate at work – but won’t say anything for fear of being seen as lazy or a moaner.

No!!! Stop all this! It’s in no way healthy or conducive to awesomeness.

People need balance in their lives. They need to be free of stress. They need to feel supported.

Awesome teams pick up and comfortably manage tasks when individuals take time off. Awesome teams keep talking to one another and asking ‘if everyone is ok?’ so that problems can be nipped in the bud or overwhelming workloads shared out fairly. Awesome teams pull in the right direction so that each and everyone can enjoy their life outside work NOT WORRYING ABOUT WORK.

Build a team like this, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by happy people who in turn perform better because they feel valued, cared for and supported. 
Want to find out more about how to build an awesome team? Visit our How To Build A High Performing Team page and get in touch with Oliver today

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