How to Inspire Teams to Pull Together Rather than Fall Apart

I asked a group to talk about a time when they saw an organization pulling together. They talked about shared problems and crisis.


Give people a shared problem if you want them to pull together.

10 powers of solving great problems:

  1. People feel important.
  2. Energy goes up.
  3. Teams pull together. Differences become less important.
  4. Day-to-day behaviors have more value.
  5. Effectiveness – doing the right things – eliminates busyness.
  6. Efficiency – getting better at doing the right things – gains value. (Doing the right things comes before process improvement. Get out there and do the right thing. Improve as you go.)
  7. Inaction becomes intolerable. “We have to do something.”
  8. Priorities – doing what matters now – seems simpler.
  9. Peripheral activities lose importance.
  10. Shared resources flow easier. Silos go down. Collaboration goes up.

5 ways to find the right problems:

  1. Stop making excuses when you hear complaints.
  2. Step outside established channels of communication. Have conversations with new people. Bring the outside in.
  3. Invite customers to speak up. 
  4. Avoid quick solutions. Wallow in the mud awhile.
  5. Spend time on the front-line.

Ask your team, “What problem are we solving?” If the answer is making money, start again.

Create useful solutions:

The future belongs to problem-finders who develop solutions. It’s not enough to simply find a problem. You have to solve it.

The difference between a complainer and a leader is passion for solutions.

  1. Avoid small problems! You need something compelling.
  2. Choose a problem that ignites emotion.
  3. Ask, “What might make this better?” Start with ‘what.’ You’ll figure out ‘how.’
  4. Develop solutions that serve others, bring value, and make you feel good. Emotion is energy.
  5. Implement imperfect solutions quickly. “Shoot bullets before cannonballs.” Jim CollinsPerfect as you go, not before you go. Embrace the power of small imperfect beginnings.

How might leaders find the right problem to solve?

What motivates teams to pull together, rather than fall apart?