Ever since we were little, we’ve been trained to be a success, to be the best in class, to win every game, to lead the group. Teachers, mentors, even our parents and friends reflect their understanding of success in a way that things should be done as there is a generic user manual for every individual. An individual…interesting word isn’t it? It says so much about how we need to approach this subject. We live in a world where successful people are respected, admired and trusted. Those individuals make a significant impact on society and shape our vision on how to be successful or simply to be more like them. For example, if the father is a football fan, every kid’s dream is to be like that perfect player that dad always cheers for. He’s the one that leads the team and scores perfect goals in every game. He’s the one that makes tons of money and has a clear future ahead. Who wouldn’t want to be like him, right? But there is another question that we need to answer first. Is this what we really want? Success? Yes! But under our own terms! 

What makes us professionals?

Individualism is the key factor that makes us who we are. What we want to achieve, where we want to be in life, and how we plan to get there. Our individual approach to success is our own footprint that makes us uniquely successful. What we bring with us as a personal characteristic says much more about our success life story than what we know, mastered or practiced during our professional career. What does it mean when someone says: “He is a complete professional” Does it mean that he spent years practicing his skills? Does it mean that he used his knowledge and experience on big projects? Or perhaps it means something completely different? In fact, all statements are not far from the truth, but the most important aspect of all is that “personal touch”. How we do our job is what makes us professionals, not for how long. 

During my professional career, I’ve witnessed individuals that lack experience but are eager to learn and grow. They strive to help colleagues to share their humble knowledge but also ask a lot of questions and seek advice. On the other hand, I’ve worked with experienced people that work in the field for many years, but have no interest in expanding their knowledge or helping others whatsoever. So, let’s ask ourselves…who is the professional here? Being professional  doesn’t only mean doing your job well, but it also means being an exemplary colleague. As George Shinn said: “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals, only with the help of others” In today’s modern world, companies are constantly seeking experienced professionals, rather than team players that can mentor on professionalism. Why is that? Learning takes time, time costs money. Unfortunately, the strategy is completely wrong. Successful products require teamwork, individuals that are team players in their core. Without that, no product is successful and without a successful product, there can’t be a successful company. Individual success is important in building employees’ “checklists” that recruiters often use. But incorporating individual success in a team and building team success is the real challenge. As a People Manager, my focus in Keitaro is exactly that. Individual success, incorporated in team success. Of course, there is no goal that  is unreachable if the company breathes team spirit. That’s exactly what makes my job perfectly interesting.

How can teams work together better and grow their productivity?

I would say, the company’s culture is what is crucial here. If the company supports and promotes team spirit, people will constantly seek challenging team opportunities. People build company cultures, that’s completely true. Being a “cultural fit” is the crucial part that every company should base their interview process on. Building a team of team players is the most powerful weapon that one company can have. Imagine the value that a team player can bring into one organization. Team players are people that own a growth mindset. They enjoy being mentored, they love to grow as part of a team but also they contribute to the team’s success every day. 

Value! That’s what teams need to be productive. What does it mean to be a valuable team member? People that focus on team goals! People that show responsibility and accountability every day! People that are reliable, positive…and most importantly..People who communicate, in a timely manner, clearly and openly.

Regardless of the field that you work on and master to achieve as part of your individual goals, you first need to keep your values in check. Value is what brings productivity and productivity brings success! So, strive to be of value, every day!

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About Simona Jovanovic

was part of Keitaro