I hope you don't think I am being too intrusive with this question. It is my hope that you do believe -- for your sake and for the sake of others around you.

When we believe, we are connected. When we believe, we will depend on others and others will depend on us. When we believe, our true strengths will come out. When we believe, we will want to help others and we will want others to succeed.

Believing is about having faith and confidence, It is also about seeing the possibilities. Believing doesn't mean there is certainty. But believing does summon the positive energy around us. I know some of you don't believe and that is a shame. It must be difficult to be yourself -- with all that negative energy around you. You probably are skeptical of others and you probably lack the trust that is needed to achieve special things. Not believing is unfortunately way too common. As we approach the Holidays, this question is especially relevant.

I know I might be making you uncomfortable discussing this but I feel like I need to share my thoughts with you no matter what your affiliation is. Some affiliations may have consequences if you don't believe while other affiliations think open questioning and learning will help lead you to believing.

This, of course, is not about religious affiliation or a belief in a higher power. This is a question about whether you and your team members BELIEVE In Each Other (a key teamwork competency.) "BELIEVE in Each Other" is one of the 5 teamwork competencies in my recently introduced teamwork model - TeamScene.

I know that when I believe in others, it energizes me to achieve, and make a contribution to the larger effort - the team's goals. When I believe in other team members, those team members draw on my optimism, hope and faith in them. They in turn tend to achieve more because of a greater bond we have as team members.


Some questions you may want to consider with your team to assess whether you, as team members, BELIEVE in Each Other:

Are team members confident in each other's competency and character?

Competency and character provide the foundation for team members to BELIEVE in Each Other. They are minimum, prerequisite requirements to BELIEVE in Each Other. It is great for me when I work with team members that truly respect each other's competency. There is a certain inspiration that comes from working with those who are good at what they do. Unfortunately, when a team member doesn't do their part to contribute to the team, you as a team member, feel like your effort is wasted.

In my experience in working with teams, most team members don't look for character flaws. They assume they can trust one another's character -- unless they are given a reason to doubt the honesty, integrity and principles of that individual. Like one team member who couldn't acknowledge a mistake and his defensiveness caused others to wonder whether he was hiding something. Like when a team member was habitually late to work and whose whereabouts during the day were unknown.

Do team members believe that one another's true intentions are in the best interests of the team?

"I can't trust George because he will step on anyone to get ahead", "Mary just wants to hear herself talk" and "Bill and Robert have their own agenda." The people who said these things made some assumptions about anther team member's intentions. It may be based on what was said or what wasn't said. It may be based on actions taken or actions not taken.

Some team members communicate in a corporate or political manner. They use so many cliches and so much consultant speak that even I can't take it (and I'm a consultant). Others tend to be more reserved, reflective or analytical. If I have to wonder what someone is really thinking and what their real intentions are, I may begin to assume their intentions are not in the best interests of the team.

Do team member working relationships provide a team advantage?

Building working relationships that provide a team advantage involves not only getting to know each other but also contracting with one another (one-on-one) about information/deliverables/behaviors that can leverage what that two-person team can deliver together. Every working relationship is a two-person team with the team. The challenge is to create an advantage from the way that two person team works together in delivering on their interdependent objectives. That active, conscious effort might be to invest time in "process" around how the two work together. It also means that team members will communicate their concerns about each other directly to each other.

A team advantage from strong working relationships might result in faster initiative implementations, ability to take more business risk for potentially greater returns, resolution of process issues between the departments of each leader, etc.

Do team members "root" for one another?

According to the dictionary, "root" is defined as "To encourage a team and lend moral support by applauding or cheering enthusiastically." We think of "rooting" in sporting events. The song Take Me Out to the Ball Game includes "root, root for the home team...." I believe "rooting" for each other is just as important in a team at work. No, I am not suggesting that you do the following cheers at the next team meeting or outside a team member's office:

  • Front to Back
  • Left to Right
  • Finish it, Jim,
  • That Power Point Tonight


  • First Debits, Then Credits
  • Go, Go, Brooke
  • You Won't Let Them
  • Cook the Books

Rooting for each other starts with valuing one another for their unique capabilities while accepting their shortcomings. It's also about having a short memory regarding one another's mistakes or errors. Helping one another when they need it sends a message that you want them to succeed. Investing that time to help one another shows you BELIEVE in them.

Rooting for one another can be infectious and create a Boomerang Effect. Your encouragement of another team member results in another team member providing encouragement to you when you need it.


The following are some of the activities that I use in helping teams BELIEVE In Each Other:

The TeamScene Assessment

I recently developed this assessment to help leadership teams consider their teamwork competencies in 5 areas - one of which is "BELIEVE In Each Other." The TeamScene Model was designed based on observations of leadership teams that work well together because they:

  • Deliver on their business objectives
  • Make better business decisions
  • Gain a business/market advantage from working together effectively

Teams can utilize this assessment to identify the team's view about areas of BELIEVING In Each Other that are strong and areas that could be improved. It can also help identify if the team should consider investing time to improve how it BELIEVES In Each Other, and if so, what areas for improvement can be pinpointed.

Team Member Histories

This process helps team members get to know each other. This process can not only can help others understand more about a team member's competency and character but can help "open the window to a member's true intentions" so others can determine whether those intentions are for the best interests of the team. The more each team member can learn about one another as a person and a professional, the more they will likely build a stronger bond -- as two person working relationship teams and in working together collectively.

The Birkman Method

The Birkman Method is a personality profile product of Birkman International. I was first trained in the Birkman in 1986 and have used it as a key tool to help teams improve how they work together. The Birkman Method helps team members explore one another's strengths/areas for improvement as well as what they need from others. Team members can learn what uniquely drives each team member, what each team member might struggle with and how to accept other team members when you see some of their characteristics as shortcomings.

Investment in Relationships

I recommend several approaches for teams willing to make an investment in their working relationships. Those approaches include:

  • Relationship Assessment - focus on importance and effectiveness of each two-person team (working relationships)
  • Relationship of the Month - focus by each team member on building one two-person team (working relationship) for the month
  • Team Member for the Month - focus on one team member's relationships each month

I worked with a couple of senior executives on the same leadership team. One was in a very precarious position on the team while the other was seen as highly valuable to the team by other members. Their working relationship had been very dysfunctional for a number of years and they were not taking advantage of working together around some pretty significant interdependencies. I can remember one meeting where they "had it out" where they raised their voices to put their concerns on the table and displayed some emotion. Neither of these individuals wanted that type of meeting, but looking back, it was a breakthrough because they began meeting and developing a relationship that leveraged their unique expertise to focus on some interdependent challenges.

Team Pep Rally

I know some of you may want to bring in the NFL cheerleaders to your pep rally but that is not necessary. This Team Pep Rally is an opportunity in front of others for members to communicate the excitement of opportunity in front of them, describe what success will look like/mean, and talk about why they are confident in each other. In addition to your team, invite direct reports, internal/external customers/vendors and superiors/executives. Teams need morale-building events if you expect them to root for each other and BELIEVE In Each Other.

*      *      *

BELIEVING In Each Other helps drive a team to make better decisions, unite with a more effective game plan and deliver results as promised. Take advantage of the Boomerang Effect when you focus as a team on BELIEVING In Each Other. What can you do to influence your team to BELIEVE In Each Other? Get their attention on this teamwork competency. At your next team meeting, ask the team a question, "Do You Believe?" After a pause and maybe some strange looks at you for asking a religious question or for asking whether they believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, just add, "In Each Other, of course."

© Michael R. Goodfriend, Goodfriend & Associates, Inc., 2010

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