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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 12: The Team

Elta Foster, Alice Ferris, Jim Anderson & Tegwin Tiffany
Unless you're Kanye West or Donald Trump, you'll probably admit that you need other people to support and collaborate with you to in order to achieve your full potential.

I've been fortunate to be a part of many great teams from my undefeated High School Football team to record breaking corporate sales teams to the nonprofit organizations I serve today. But one of the most collaborative, supportive, fun and empowering teams I've ever been a part of was the Development Team at KNAU Arizona Public Radio. Together we achieved great things including producing the first, and only $1,000,000 fundraising year in the station's 30 year history.

The team begins with Elta Foster, the Membership Manager and the "foundation" of our team. Alice Ferris, ACFRE was the Development Director. She had just lost 1/2 her staff "overnight" when she hired me as Sales Manager. For about six months it was just the three of us doing the jobs of six people. That kind of challenge either brings you together or tears you apart. It cemented our relationships and they thrive to this day. Tegwin eventually joined us as Development Coordinator and Maddie (Synnott) Stansell rounded out our team as Development Assistant. Together we broke the records set before us and created new milestones. None of our accomplishments would have been possible if not for the strengths and sense of common purpose each person brought to the team.

We're taking Elta to dinner to thank her for being our "rock" and for her leadership and kindness. We're sending a care package to Colorado for Maddie and maybe we'll Skype to share "in person" how much her contributions and support empowered our success. Sadly, Tegwin is no longer with us, but we'll honor her contributions as well.

I've said before that all you need to create a successful team is cooperation and enthusiasm, but here are a few other characteristics that help create effective and highly producing teams.

Common Goals: Team members understand shared goals and agree that they are important and attainable.


Emotional Commitment: Everyone is personally invested in the success of the team and cares about their teammates' experience.

"We" Mentality: The team thinks in terms of "we," working together toward the same goals. Teams find ways to "pitch in," overcoming challenges and maximizing opportunities. It's unacceptable to say "It's not my job." Instead the question is always "How can I help?"

Specialized Skills: Individuals within the team each have unique valuable strengths and skills that they bring to each task and are recognized and valued by the team. Each has independent responsibilities that contribute to the common goals.


Clear Leadership: Leadership may change depending on projects, circumstances and events, but there are not battles for control during transitions.

Celebrations of Success: Long term goals can be draining. Strong teams find reasons to celebrate small successes in order to improve morale and provide motivation.

Thank you to the people that create teams that work. It isn't easy and takes time to mature, but when it works the end result is exponentially more than what you could have accomplished alone.

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