Building a team culture doesn’t happen overnight

By Matt Nicholson

With two senior nights back-to-back, I heard a difference that got the wheels turning for this week’s column.

Like always, though, before I share that difference, let me tell you some of the highlights from my week.

Congratulations to Emerson Elementary School second grade class President Hillian. If I am not mistaken, this is the second time in school history that a girl was voted second grade president.

A few weeks ago, before the election, I was invited to come and share a little about my role serving as mayor, and this week, I had a chance to drop off the presidential street sign provided by the Department of Public Works. Good work to all the second-graders as they learned about government and the election process. Again, congratulations to President Hillian on your hard-fought victory.

Wedding No. 39 is in the books for me. When you call city hall and request a wedding, we will share that we have two people who can perform the ceremony.

Floyd Amburgey takes care of most of the services when someone doesn’t have a preference. Every now and then, I get someone I have known for many years who wants me to perform the service, and I get to be the first to congratulate them, like in the case of Kevin and Amy.

The city council heard compliances from several companies recently. Many don’t realize that each abatement that goes out comes with a requirement to provide an annual report to the city council for the length of the abatement. This creates a busy season this time of year, but it is good to see the updates and know that investment usually comes in above projections and what the jobs numbers are.

Back to the difference in senior nights. Most things were the same: Thank you, Mom and Dad, thank you, coaches, and the athlete shares future plans. One of the nights, though, the players shared they were proud to have been a part of the program. The future of that program is bright when it has built a culture that makes the players proud to be a part of it.

This doesn’t mean the other program has been a bad experience for the players. I would guess they have had fun and gotten to enjoy the game they love. I would venture to say they have even won their share of games, but it concerns me that they aren’t looking back on those years and being proud of being a part of something bigger than themselves.

When someone feels like they are proud of being a part of something bigger than themselves, they want to share that with others. They want to invite new people to be a part of the excitement. Building a team culture like this doesn’t happen overnight, and it cannot be achieved by just one voice. One voice setting high standards in a leadership role, though, can be all it takes to turn the right direction.

As leaders, we have to lead by example and hold ourselves to a higher standard. When we don’t reach a goal, we have to reevaluate the process and find a way to reach the desired outcome.

If the team you are on doesn’t trust each other enough to talk openly with one another, then it is time for the leaders to step up and start a conversation with members. Remind them the standards that are expected and encourage them to talk to teammates about issues before they become a problem.

Mother Teresa reminds us that great things are possible as she says, “I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. Together, we can do great things.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]