Our ability or inability to forge relationships with groups of people creates the juice in our life. Think about how much time you spend in one sort of group or another. Whether it is your family, church, department, company, or social club, we all spend a large amount of time being a part of and leading groups of people. The question is, how do you create and build those group relationships to create spectacular?
1. Core Values and Rules
Every group of people, whether in a classroom or a church, needs a core set of values and rules to guide them. The best groups have thought through these values and rules and made conscious decisions what those look like. Obviously, these tend to be well spelled out in a church setting, but what about in your family or department at work? What are the core values of your company? Values are things that do not change. They are the bedrock of your group. They are what you stand for. For example, at HealthCARE Express our Core Values are: 1. Amazing Customer Service; 2. Financial Success; 3. Awesome Place to Work; and 4. Great Medical Care. These don’t change. Strategies change, ideas change, business changes but our Core Values stay the same.
Rules are how we treat each other. What things are we willing to tolerate, and what things will we not tolerate. We call these “above the line” and “below the line” behaviors. Above the line behaviors are things we aspire to, and below the line behaviors will see you removed from the group. Our above and below the line behaviors are:
Above the Line
-Serve your team and customers
-Everything is our job
-Always looking for ways to improve
-Honesty and accountability
-Take responsibility for your actions
Below the Line
-Self-interest above team
If you want to build great group relationships of any kind, you need to define and abide by your rules.
We build our best bonds in groups when everyone has a spirit of service. When we make the decision not to have our own best interest in mind, but that of the group, everything changes. Suddenly what we do and what we think about is how to improve the lives of others.
Lauren Lane is a perfect example of this. Lauren is a Kiwanian, and has served in many capacities in that organization. Her commitment to service is staggering. If there is anything anyone needs, (time, money, or leadership) she is always there. That commitment to service draws people to her. It also creates cohesiveness within the group. The greatest teams or groups of any kind are those with a service-first mentality.
Every group, whether it be a family or a company, needs to define its culture. Culture means what traditions that group of people have. What things do they do to make people want to be a part of their team?
When I became a Green Beret, one of my most enlightening moments was when I realized the culture and tradition that amazing group of people have been steeped in. I became a part of that culture. I took on those traditions and it changed who I am. I became more disciplined and worked harder, because that is the culture of the Green Berets. You do not complain or whine about your circumstances. You deal with it, and move on. This is an example of what culture looks like. So many times, we do not spend enough time in our groups, our culture, and what we represent. Recently, my youngest daughter, Sydney, was telling me about a friend who had dropped out of school. During the conversation, she said “I just don’t think she was raised the way I was. That kind of thing is not an option in our family. That’s not our expectations of each other.” That is culture.
I’ve often had business owners come to me and say, “We just don’t have a culture.” My response is “Oh, you definitely have a culture. It’s just not one you want.” Every business, every club, every family, every group of people has a culture. So, ask yourself a question. Is the culture you have now the culture you want and have worked for, or the culture that appeared because you didn’t?
4. Bonding and Fun
We tend to take life too seriously. We get stuck in our head, and not in our heart. We make up a story about why we are not successful, instead of facing the fact that we are just scared. The key to great group relationships is creating experiences that promote bonding, fun, and friendship. This is important as a couple, as a family, and as a business or social group. Create a time to just let it all hang out, and have some fun. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. Even in the most serious of times, a little humor and fun is appropriate. While working as an emergency room doctor, I often found I could help the stress of the staff during a very hard case or time with a little humor.
We currently have a leadership meeting once a month for all our business leaders, and they can be serious events. Because of that, we always try to include a few fun activities and bonding moments whether it be a game or just taking the afternoon to go bowling. It makes us all look forward to being together and having a good time.
Creating spectacular in our group relationships really comes down to committing to making them spectacular. It is about deciding we want to be a part of something greater than ourselves, and then pledging that we will work and serve to make it amazing. Everything has a price. Being part of a group that has great values and rules and culture has a price, but so does being part of a group with crappy ones. We get to decide which one we want.