Leaders, How Do You Inspire & Engage Nuts-and-Bolts Teams?
by Kate Nasser |
Nuts-and-bolts teams (also known as infrastructure teams) are often out of the spotlight and sometimes off executives’ radar screens.
Clearly, the work of these infrastructure teams including information technology (IT), facilities, security, training, records management, to name just a few, is integral to the daily and long term success of organizations.
Yet leaders must inspire and engage these nuts-and-bolts teams to greatness without the boost of recognition or event hooplah that bottom line teams enjoy.
The sales and marketing teams in for profit companies can easily see their contributions. In scientific research organizations, diverse scientists know how they fit into the core purpose. Programmers and graphic interface designers are at the pulse of success in tech companies big and small. There is inspiration in knowing that your work really counts.
So it is worth asking how do you inspire and engage nuts-and-bolts teams whose work doesn’t seem to be the heart of the core purpose?
Support Makes It Work
I have spent 20 years inspiring nuts-and-bolts teams to greatness and one theme continues to resonate with all these infrastructure and support teams — “you keep the organization running”. Support makes it work!
Engage with Images
To inspire these teams, leaders, initiate this discussion with your nuts-and-bolts teams. Ask them to give examples to illustrate it. Have a computer hooked up to projection and find online images of each example they give. Some common replies include: pillars, suspension cables on a bridge, supply lines for front line troops.
Add even stronger, more exciting images like:
The “catcher” in a flying trapeze act who hangs there ready to grab hold yet doesn’t get the “wow” applause of the fliers doing triple flips. Show the safety net to illustrate the importance of those teams who are providing back up and securing resources.
Electrify your infrastructure teams with images of road crews for rock bands or pit crews at a race track.
Tap their personal needs with images of cleaning crews in hospitals. Would you want to be sick in a dirty hospital?
Highlight the backstage theatre crews who are moving props, working the curtain, applying makeup, fixing costumes.
For sports success, there are many supports teams — those who maintain golf courses, drive the Zamboni that smooths the ice rink, prepares the football or baseball field.
Main Point: Very little of the bottom line or core activity in organizations succeeds without infrastructure support teams. Take pride in doing the job well for when it is done poorly or not done, it effects the bottom line. If time allows, schedule your teams to visit and talk to these teams noted in the above examples. It can re-energize a team to speak with other support type functions that take pride in their work.
QUESTION: What other images or inspiration would you add to this list to help nuts-and-bolts support type teams feel more valued?
Next Post on This Topic: The Tough Question
Leaders, how do you keep them inspired as they continue to see so much outsourcing and off-shoring of infrastructure and support functions?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, has established her reputation over 20 years as a gifted speaker, trainer, and inspir-a-tor who delivers transformational results in team spirit and performance. See footage of her in action at this site http://katenasser.com.customers.tigertech.net.