Every team contains people who can make the difference between cohesion and conflict. I call these individuals game changers. When I facilitate for intact teams, they are easy to spot because their peers listen to them more closely. They have an impact and it is usually significant.
Allow me to use as an example my favorite sports team. The San Francisco Giants seem to invite successful analogies for teamwork. Consider the Giants catcher Buster Posey. Here is a young man, age 25, a candidate for the esteem-laden title, Most Valuable Player. Last year an injury kept him sitting on the sidelines all season. Yet he came back strong, insisting on keeping his catcher’s mitt, despite the catcher’s vulnerability to reinjury. His dedication to a rigorous workout during his recuperation and his current victorious year have earned his teammates’ respect. His positive attitude and example have inspired the entire team’s performance. Buster intuitively understands that good game changers make others feel important.
Change management experts report that in any population, 30% will resist change (vocally) regardless of the change. These are usually the same people who are chronically and vocally unhappy. Another 50% are fence-sitters and will get on board when the change is in full swing and successful.
A meager 20% see change as an opportunity for improvement. I would suggest that this same 20% are the game-changes who can make the difference for your team. Research further indicates not wasting time convincing the 30%, but rather utilizing your 20% to get the 50% off the fence and engaged.
If you have a team where morale is suffering, who are your game changers and how can you encourage them to inspire your team? Oh….did I mention that the SF Giants just won the National League Division championship?