In September, I talked about core value 6 and the importance of creating an open and honest workspace. Today, we’re diving into core value number 7. GOLD’s seventh core value is: GOLD is one team – all for one and one for all, in thoughts and deeds. 

I have to say that this particular core value really stands out to me. When the pandemic began almost two years ago, GOLD, like many organizations, was faced with challenges. We plunged into unfamiliar territory where we had to learn to adapt almost daily. There was a degree of trial and error that occurred, but we knew we had to overcome our challenges for our Members. Not only did we overcome, but we came out on the other side stronger. Was our success thanks to my leadership as the CEO? No way! I’m only one person. A quarterback can possess all the talent in the world, but it won’t get them to the Super Bowl without their teammates.

I’ve got to tell you, the level of teamwork I witnessed then and now blows my mind. At GOLD, we work in an environment rich with camaraderie, and that type of atmosphere fosters friendship and loyalty among us. When you have a close-knit working relationship with your peers, you’re motivated to work hard supporting one another to achieve a common goal.

The Old Saying Goes … 

At the risk of sounding cliché, we all know the slogan, “There’s no I in team!” All of us at GOLD have come together through very challenging and unpredictable times to serve the greater good of our Members and community, as well as each other. But working cohesively as a team isn’t something that always comes organically and effortlessly. It’s a skill that can only really exist or be acquired when you have passion for something.

Passion … What exactly do I mean by that? Well, you have to be passionate about your organization’s mission. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, you should ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. You can try to “Fake it until you make it,” but your peers will most likely notice your lack of passion. If you’re only acting the part, you can’t expect your team to trust that you’ll have their backs. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I need a sense of purpose, and at the end of the day, I need to be able to say that I did something important that had a positive change or effect on others.

The part of this core value that stands out to me most is, of course, “all for one and one for all.” Just like Alexandre Dumas’ book, “The Three Musketeers,” where this motto originated from, your odds of success in battle are considerably stacked in your favor if you’re fighting two on one rather than one on one. Although we aren’t brandishing swords at GOLD, we are working together as one team to provide the best service to our Members. We’re all in this together. So, when one person succeeds, we all succeed! On the flip side, that also means that if one or more people on your team are struggling, it’s everyone’s responsibility to help them get back on track. Aretha Franklin said it best, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” When you feel respected by your team, and that same respect is reciprocated, the rest falls right into place.

Fostering Good Working Relationships 

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to foster good working relationships. But how? It starts with being open with yourself and others about challenges and needs and encouraging your team to do the same. It’s important to promote respectful dialogue and incorporate feedback so everyone can learn and grow. It can be hard to ask for help but having a supportive group of peers who are all motivated toward achieving the same goal can make all the difference.

The truth is that teamwork takes work and becoming more team-focused can be an adjustment for managers and employees alike. Here are some things I’ve found helpful:

  • Showcase the value of teamwork in the workplace. Specifically, that it doesn’t just benefit the organization, but it can improve any individual’s job satisfaction and help employees boost their abilities. Working as a team allows individuals to have their voices heard and share creative and innovative ideas. Ultimately, this gives us a sense of belonging.

  • Set clear, achievable goals. If you want to encourage your employees to work together, you need to set up with them clearly defined goals that they can strive toward together as a team.

  • Celebrate when goals are achieved. What good is setting goals if your team isn’t rewarded when they achieve them? Plus, it gives your employees a feeling of accomplishment and proud to know that the work they are doing matters.

  • Share the knowledge. Sometimes a lack of understanding on a project can make an employee hesitant to get involved. If there’s any information you or other team members can share with them to help them succeed at their job or task at hand, be sure to share that with them.

  • Encourage open discussions. Keep communication a two-way street and consider others’ communication styles. We’re all unique and communicate differently. What you say may come across completely differently depending on who you’re speaking to.

Teamwork can be tricky even under the best of circumstances, and there’s no one-size fits all approach that can be taught. But, when you encourage your team to come and work together as one, your organization will flourish. Remember, team work really does make the dream work!

The past year has been rough to say the least, and, at times, it’s probably been difficult for all of us to come together as one team. We’ve all been through the ringer in one way or another. I want to acknowledge the difficult times and changes that have occurred and personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with GOLD. As I reflect upon the upcoming holiday season, I remember to be thankful for the GOLD Team, our Members, our volunteers, and our community. There would be no GOLD without each and every one of you.

I’ve really enjoyed diving into the deeper meaning behind our core values throughout the past year on the blog. I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it, too, and incorporated some of our values into your own lives and workplaces. It’s hard to believe we’re coming to the end of our core values journey, but I’ll be back again next month to talk about our final core value for leaders!

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Cheryl Bartholomew

Cheryl Bartholomew

Cheryl is the President & CEO at GOLD since 2009 and has over 36 years of banking experience. She ensures the happiness of all Members through positive experiences that exceed their expectations, regardless of whether it's a simple phone call, electronic transaction, or face-to-face interaction. She strives to provide a positive work environment for her employees so they continue to go above and beyond for Members. She works closely with Member Volunteers (Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee) and makes sure they feel appreciated for their contributions in setting up our Members for success. Cheryl believes that all Members can be empowered to take control of their financial well-being, and she's proud to say that we at GOLD are confident in helping them do that.

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