Compensation programs aren’t substitutes for good management. That means choosing the right words for driving teamwork. They set the context. The context drives cooperation. Teams can’t thrive without cooperation.
Words drive people’s thoughts. That’s clear. What’s not is how free ranging those thoughts are. For instance, the word “team” not only causes people to think of the group. It causes thoughts about their relationships with specific persons in the group. These could recall emotions, experiences, events and more.
Avoiding The Wrong Words For Driving Teamwork
Choosing the right words though does not work well if we’re also choosing the wrong ones. Thus, just as words exist that drive thoughts of team, words exist that undermine team.
These words cause people to think more about their self-interest. Money words are tops here. When people start thinking about “money” they think more selfishly. They also become less happy.
Now, this does not mean tossing out comp plans rewarding individual work. It just means don’t talk much, if at all, about them. Let them exist in the background.
It also means not talking about money, finances and incentives in a general sense. That means team bonuses or how much the team drives revenue for the company. Again, money words drive selfish thoughts.
Choosing The Right Words For Driving Teamwork
Choosing the right words for driving teamwork means focus on “time” words. Saving time, enjoying time, creating time and more cause people to think of relationships. They think about others.
In other words, rather than say, “Our financials drove the company’s profits this year,” say something like, “Our work gave the company more time to focus on its future.” Since “time” words shift focus to relationships, relational words work too.
For instance, “Our work together created new opportunities for the company. This means we helped to secure its future for our co-workers in other areas.” In this case, “together” and “our” are relational. “Future” and “opportunities” relate to time.
At first, choosing the right words can seem to limit our word choice. Yet, many words exist. Here are more money-related words to avoid and more time-related words to use. They also help us to think of other words beyond these.
Finally, words affect each of us differently. Over time though, our words will subtly construct a context for teamwork. They won’t influence everyone. They will influence almost everyone though unless we picked people with a very strong self-interested drive.