Team building is a buzz phrase these days, but it’s truly something many of us need to think about, plan, and implement. Typically we’ve been taught to approach team building from the outside-in: games, challenges, and other usually kinesthetic activities where people can have fun while getting to know one another. This method has merit, and it works in many ways. But how are the participants selected? What are their traits and strengths? What about the people who don’t like group activities? Do they have value to the team? (Keep reading- there is a shortcut way to figure out all of this.)
First, our friend Katie at the Adulting School has written a great, informative, practical blog about the essential professionals you may want to have on your adulting team. Let’s face it, though we may not feel like “adults” at times, there will be times when we’ll need to take action, and often we’ll need the advice, service, and expertise of others. It’s stressful to not know where to look, and Katie has done a fantastic job of putting together this list! (Find out how adult you are with the Adulting School’s quiz!)
How would you go about assembling a functional, productive team? Many people have created a mental list of people they’d want on their zombie apocalypse team should the unthinkable ever happen. Maybe you’re already one of them, but if not let’s go ahead and make that list now. I don’t know your friends and families, so I’ll suggest some types of people who may be valuable to your survival. Following this line of thinking, you’re able to create teams from the inside-out, focusing on the intrinsic strengths & characteristics that will best suit your needs, no matter what they are.
A Taker. This person is highly instinctive, and when a stick snaps in the woods, the Taker will be the first to react. A Taker lives in the moment, able to act quickly before too much thought gets in the way. They’ll just do it, whatever it may be. Debate, improv, taking the hail-mary shot at the buzzer, the Taker is able to act within chaos. Think Katniss Everdeen.
A Spender. This person is connected to human emotion and makes decisions based on their feelings. This may not be someone you’d want to drop off at the Mall of America with your debit card for “retail therapy,” but this is someone who will keep your team from devolving into pure animalistic survivalists.
An Earner. This person gets things done. Hard work is not an obstacle, and the Earner will make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Diligent, driven, and often organized, the Earner will make sure tasks are completed. Build a shelter, inventory the weapons and food, write a report, create a presentation, work overtime- the Earner will do it often without thinking about taking a break.
A Saver. Naturally you’ll need a Saver on your survival team. Savers save people, things, money. They want to be prepared for any situation, avoid risk, and will unconsciously seek to insulate themselves- and you- from harm. Marge Simpson, with all the stuff in her hair, always has what she needs when she needs it.
An Investor. This person is able to create something they need from what they have, or in other words, they can “trade up,” trading what they’ve got for something of greater value. They don’t shy away from risk when the reward is good. They’re inventors, innovators, and are often successful. Think Tony Stark/Iron Man, inventing what he needs to be a superhero.
A Lever. This person is all about teamwork. They seek to collaborate, to bring their best to the table with others who do the same. They want things to be easy and will look for ways to make a situation, a challenge easier. They also naturally let go of things that don’t serve them and can help a group let go of what weighs them down so they can reach a higher, better level.
A Giver. This person makes decisions based on what is best for others. They are visionaries, leaders, teachers, and they inspire others. They can see past immediate obstacles to what comes next, and it’s that vision that will motivate any team, no matter the mission. Think Yoda- Givers are connected to the flow.
If you’ve engaged with our message these types of people are very familiar- they are the 7 natures. Each one has specific value to the world, to our communities, schools & workplaces, families, and relationships. Knowing the natures takes much of the guesswork out of creating and/or developing a team. For example, when I was hired my boss, a Lever, knew he needed an Earner on the team, and in 2.5 years our organization has taken off.
Here’s how you can put this into effect:
A. Identify your own nature. HERE
B. Think about why you’re creating your team and what intrinsic characteristics you need for it to be successful. Take a look at the natures above, (or here), and determine which natures are the best fit. If you’ve already got the people together, you’ll be able to know the best roles for them and for you.
C. Share our survey with others so that you and your team, (or partner, spouse, family members, classmates, colleagues, etc.), know what strengths you each possess and how they can come together to raise your game, meet the challenge, get the thing done, or simply how to relate to one another.