The #1, Best Exercise To Do With Your Team

Curt Fowler

Monday, April 14th, 2014

One of the hardest things about building trust in work environments is that there can always be ulterior motives to any good deed we do. We need each other at work. So, how can we do good for someone at work without expecting anything in return?

Below is a great exercise I learned from Chick-fil-A. This is the best exercise I know of to build and deepen relationships with everyone you lead at work.

How do you do good with no expectation of return at work? First, you've got to know what drives the people you work with. What are they passionate about? What do they want to accomplish in their lives both inside and outside of work?

Here are the steps you take:

1. While preparing for your staff's next performance review, ask them to prepare the following: On one sheet of paper, write the five things you want to Be, Do, Have and Help in your life. The goal is 5 items per category (Be, Do, Have, Help).

2. Promise them that you will do the same and will provide them with your list in exchange for theirs.

3. Keep the list in their personnel file and review it every time you review their performance.

4. Find ways to help them reach each of their goals.

Here is why this works. First, at review time you are looking at past performance and setting goals for future performance. You are asking for your team member's effort to meet your work goals. Yes, you pay them a fair wage for their work, but accomplishing huge goals can require a lot from your people. In exchange for them helping you meet your company goals, you will help them reach theirs. How? Any way you can think of. Give them a book that can help them reach their goal. Give them encouragement. Introduce them to someone that can help them. All of these things require very little effort, but will mean a tremendous amount to your team members.

The second reason this works is because you are opening up to your team. You are sharing with them what you really want to accomplish in life. This makes you human. It gives them something to talk to you about other than work and, you never know, they might know someone who knows someone...

Give it a try. I promise this will be one of the best exercises you ever do with your team members.

About Curt Fowler

Curt Fowler is the President and Founder of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm founded to help its clients maximize the value of their organizations. Curt is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his Masters in Accountancy from the University of Georgia. He also earned an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School at Northwestern. He has spent 20 years studying and learning from some of the best businesses in America including Verizon, Sara Lee, Cox Communications and many more.