Wild Madness and What We Can Learn from It

We are “high-fiving” a lot at our house these days.

The hand slapping began on Monday, July 2, with news that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the two biggest names on the free-agent market, had the Wild on their short list of teams. We’re “high-fiving” even more now that both have signed with “our team.”

You see we’re hockey fans at our house.

Our rabid interest is rooted in my husband’s childhood, when he started playing the sport. Our son, Nick, also started playing as a child, and we followed him through his college career at St. Thomas. And we’ve warmed bleachers at more than a few University of Minnesota and Wild hockey games.

So it stands to reason that we’re pretty excited about these acquisitions.

Clearly, the Wild have shown us they are willing to invest in their team to create an exciting brand. You’ve probably already observed this new excitement. Previously disheartened fans have started snapping up season tickets in hopes they will see an exciting playoff team. And unlike just one year ago, the Wild prospects scrimmage attracted 7,500 buzzing, excited fans to the Xcel Energy Center on a mid-July Sunday morning.

But here’s where the story—at least to me—becomes most interesting and relevant.

The way I see it, the Wild have given all of us in business a lesson. Let me tell you why.

With these two players in place and with the signing of team captain Mikko Koivu for six seasons, the Wild likely have their leadership in place.

Further, they are creating a team-building culture that they expect will take them to a Stanley cup. In this respect, there are three additional things I’d like you to notice:

1) Both Suter and Parise are highly engaged hockey players. Before signing -- in fact, while the two tossed about teams to sign with -- they talked about trying to make the Wild a bona fide Stanley Cup contender. We know that engaged employees influence other employees to be more engaged and productive. So insight #1 is that by signing engaged players, the Wild will increase engagement levels among all their players.

2) Both Suter and Parise have a track record of leadership. Parise was a captain in New Jersey; Suter an assistant captain in Nashville. Additionally, Parise is a known Pied Piper. On July 8, the St. Paul Pioneer Press quoted his skating coach Diane Ness as follows: “He has, like, a posse that wants to work out together and shoot pucks together. It becomes very contagious. If you have a bad player and the cancer grows within the (dressing) room, Zach is the exact opposite. He’s very positive. …It’s going to be exciting to see how he blends all of these Wild players together.” Influencing team members to play together as a team…that’s big. It’s big because how a team works together directly affects its success. So that’s insight #2.

3) Players like Suter and Parise raise the standard for the rest of the team. And that’s insight #3: By signing these two players, the Wild have communicated a clear vision of what they expect of all their players and a clear vision of the future.

Now think for a minute. Are you creating a team-building culture in your organization? Are your employees engaged? Do your leaders lead? Do your employees know what you expect? Do you and your employees have a clear vision of the future?

Here’s the bottom line: Creating a team-building culture starts with individual, engaged employees. Engaged employees are happier at work. They get more done, and just like Parise and Suter, they routinely go above and beyond their job descriptions. Also like these two, they encourage other employees to be more engaged and productive if only because they lead by example.

In other words, it’s in your best interest to create an atmosphere that fosters engagement if you want a team-building culture for your organization.



Tips: Consider These Five Areas When Creating a Team-building Culture


If you want to create a team-building culture, you need to work on it every day. If you work on it once a month or when the spirit moves you, it will forever elude you.


So what should you work on? Here are five areas to pay attention to when building a fully-engaged team:

  1. Your employees - Evaluate your employees. Who is fully engaged on the job? Who consistently exceeds your expectations? Who not only meets his own goals, but improves the performance of those around him? Assessments will help you identify which employees stand out. Knowing that, you can communicate with them to identify what you should improve, what they need, what you should adjust and what you should start or stop doing.
  2. Your leaders - Evaluate your leaders. How are they doing? Are they engaging employees? Seek feedback from each leader’s boss, peers and direct reports. Do they possess the leadership skills that most effectively engage employees? Do their behaviors and leadership skills align to your organization’s expectations? If any fall short, close the leadership gaps through feedback and coaching.
  3. Your team - Evaluate your team. How do members interact? Do they work together well? Get to know your team members. Each brings something unique to the team, and it’s important to understand their individual talents and how those skill sets interact. You should also discern where strengths and weaknesses vary. Knowing that, you can adjust the work environment to maximize efficiency.
  4. Your culture - Create a culture that values engagement. Is the culture in your company stimulating? Does it reward your employee’s investment in your company? Does leadership come from people your employees respect? If you answer yes to these three questions, you are likely ensuring that your employees will remain engaged and productive.
  5. Teamwork - Recognize and reward teamwork. Collaborative ideas and practices create a team-building culture. Are you encouraging team members to work together toward the very best ideas? Do you reward them when they do?

Here’s the thing: If you create a workplace atmosphere that fosters engagement, you create a company that people are proud of and where they likely will stay a long time.


Your Solution Toolbox: Use This Tool in Putting Together Winning Teams

Are you putting together a new team? Trying to keep one from falling apart in the wake of a difficult employee? Profiles International’s Performance Indicator can help.

Profiles' Performance Indicator (PPI) is a DISC personality style employee performance assessment test. (DISC personality assessment is the most universally accepted test for determining human behavior.)

The PPI is easy to administer: You can deliver it to your employees over the Internet. It measures productivity, quality of work, initiative, teamwork, problem solving, and response to stress and conflict.

In short, it will give your managers an objective inside look at an employee’s behaviors and motives so you can get the best from them and from all members of a team working together.

The PPI generates several helpful reports including an Employee Performance Report and a Team Analysis Report.

The Employee Performance Report will help you comprehend how to understand, motivate and manage your employee to improve his performance. The PPI also recommends ways to improve employee performance including:

• How to respond to job-related stress, frustration and conflict
• How to stimulate employee motivation
• How to conduct effective performance appraisal
• How to determine whether the employee is internally motivated or will need external stimulation

The Team Analysis Report will help you form new teams, reduce team conflict, improve team communication, improve your ability to anticipate problems, and enhance your team leadership skills.

Are you interested in learning more about Profiles International’s Performance Indicator? Call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to mgorski@mgassessments.com.



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