When we started Eagle back in 1996 one of the big decisions we made was to have a team based environment. We believed that a team could serve our clients better than any individual and that the result would be a positive atmosphere for ourselves and our employees.
We built our measurement and reward systems around the team concept and we even have the Team concept as one of our core values. (Team, Integrity and Excellence).
I am right in the middle of one of our two day training/networking sessions that we run twice yearly and I am reminded of the power a team. Our sales, recruiting and management team are here working together to learn, improve and keep Eagle at the top of our game. It is a great demonstration of the power a “team” can bring.
I have read all kinds of academic literature over the years about the theories of teams and “high performance” teams. The practical implementation of a team structure always seems to be so far from the theory that I wonder if we are talking about the same beasts. The fact that teams are comprised of individuals, who are also motivated by their personal interests makes the challenge a lot more than an academic “lab test”. If the lab test fails then you just try again … if the reality fails then your company is in trouble!
When the team “gets it” they motivate and support each other, but they also push each other. They know that as a team they can achieve their best results so when members of the team are not operating to their potential it is in everyone’s best interests to help them get there. The reality of reaching this state is harder than the theories would suggest! The “team” is an interesting dynamic and over our twelve years in business we have seen dysfunctional teams, disruptive influences and the affect of “bad apples”. We have sometimes had struggles to get teams to “gel” and it is hard for more junior team members to “push” their more senior colleagues.
Despite all these challenges I would not have it any other way. Almost twelve years later the team solution is still the right answer for Eagle. “Team” is entrenched in our culture, reinforced as a core value and events such as these couple of days just reinforce their power. If I was starting this company again today I would do exactly the same thing again. The Eagle Team is great … and it is made up of a super people who buy into the team concept, which why it works! Great people, common goals, measures and commitment … what could be better!