My parents were both born and bred in Belfast, Northern Ireland; they moved in the 60’s to avoid the “troubles”. I have been back many times as I still have a lot of family there. I happened to be back a couple of years ago when Northern Ireland qualified for The European Championship. Obviously, being Irish, I got on the band wagon and it was a lot of fun.
I have never felt so much a part of anything in my life. When Northern Ireland scored a goal, everyone broke out in the well-known song SWEET CAROLINE by Neil Diamond – you know the one, everyone does.
The fact is, everyone finds unity in being part of a team, club, country or culture. Demonstrating it by singing a song from 1969 in unison is a testament of how much people just want to belong to something.
Belonging is just as important in the workplace and something business owners should encourage. You want to build team spirit and a culture of hard work, dedication, focus, reliability and loyalty, but how do you go about doing that?
The first step is to connect with your people. You should get to know where they are and where they want to go. If they are not sure where that is, you could help them out by educating and encouraging them to reach for the stars. I will never forget and am eternally grateful to every single person that has helped me and believed that I could and would be better. They say that if you train and grow people they then get up and leave, but what’s the alternative, don’t train them and they stay? I don’t think so. Richard Branson said, “train people so they can go anywhere, treat them so well enough so that they don’t” and he is absolutely correct.
But creating a cohesive workplace culture is not easy with all the different personalities, cultures, creeds and demographics that come into play. How do you maintain harmony and happiness? It’s like any relationship, you have to work on it. It has to be part of the office’s annual plan.
One of the best ways to get people united is to encourage them to have fun together. The plan needs to include social events and team-building exercises as well as allowing time for them to connect and find common ground.
On that day in 2016 the Northern Irish, with all their trials and tribulations, found solace and unity in their soccer team scoring goals. If you want some goose bumps…