The Ideal Team

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

I admit it. And I’m proud to admit it. I’m a sucker for business books – especially those dealing with leadership and culture.

It hasn’t always been that way. When I was in my twenties, I definitely considered anyone to buy these (what I called) “self-help” books as true suckers.  Not anymore.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that these authors might actually know more than I do about some things.

The Ideal Team Player

These books often get shared among the leaders and managers of companies who endeavor to improve their culture or business processes.  The book The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencione was recently given as a gift to our Executive Vice President, Parker Young. Parker read it almost immediately.

It’s a quick read, which made that easy to do. The book focuses on the three main attributes people must possess to be great team players.  They must be hungry, meaning self -driven in the constant pursuit of excellence. They must be humble. They are more concerned about the team and share credit in times of success. They also generally accept blame when things don’t go so well. And finally, Ideal Team Players are smart. They understand how to read people and work with them based on the situation at hand. So, of course he wanted to share the book with the leaders at Straub.

This is not a summary of the book, The Ideal Team Player. Rather, it’s a short story about how the entire company came together to share ideas on how to be great team players. To be great, every employee – in the office and at every job site – must approach their work with ownership and the mindset of a leader.

Rolling it out to the company

Straub Construction: Ideal Team PlayerSo, we kicked the process off with an all company meeting to introduce and distribute the book to all employees (all leaders). As with all meetings, Ernie shared some great stories about what the book means to him and how it relates to the culture he and his father envisioned when they took over the company thirty plus years ago.

From there, employees were grouped up into teams of 7, including a facilitator.  All were tasked with reading the book in preparation of a follow up small group discussion. The book and assignment were well received, as lots of employees were asking questions and getting engaged right away – even before reading the book.

Fast forward to two weeks later, and we conducted our small group discussions. These groups were designed to foster diversity and inclusion. Each group had a mixture of field, project management, operations and support personnel. This provided a tremendous opportunity for all to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of just about every position in the company. In small teams, we talked about how to work better together, and everyone was sharing ideas. The takeaways from the discussions were invaluable, and we are in the process of implementing many great ideas from these conversations.

Always building the team

I’m proud to work for a company filled with Ideal Team Players. It’s not only rewarding, but it makes my job easier. When speaking with customers, I have the confidence to ensure their projects will be delivered by an entire team of people who are hungry, humble and smart.  Finally, if this type of culture appeals to you… we’re always in search of more Ideal Team Players. Pick up the phone. Give us a call. We want to talk with you.

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