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No ‘I’ In Team…but What About Me?

No ‘I’ in Team…but what about me?

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: ‘There’s no ‘I’ in team’ because it’s used a lot. Usually to describe how being in a team is the best and to be a team player you have to lose your ego and forget about being an individual for the good of the team.

But is it true? I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  When you’re developing a team, any team, in any sphere, don’t you look for the best individuals you can find?  I’m pretty sure most of us would answer yes and the best people for the job come in all their glorious diversity.

In a sales team, people need to be confident and knowledgeable with leadership ability.  Every time a sales person is with a prospect they are building rapport, listening, guiding, informing and ultimately providing their customer with the perfect solution. The confidence required to get back up after a setback is huge. It’s easy to conclude that a sales person must have a big ego to be able to handle staring down possible rejection each time and therefore might be rubbish at being a team player.  Perhaps, but that’s only if you subscribe to the ‘no I in team’ school of thought.  If you think about the ‘me’ in team and extrapolate it to ‘what’s in it for me?’ that is really something to think about.

There are many reasons why we all do what we do but the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) always figures somewhere.  People who sell are usually in teams, even if the team is small.  We know that people who sell have to be confident so why do they do so well in teams if the very nature of team work is at odds with the classic sales person?  It might be the money – we all need it to live, it might be the warm and fuzzy feeling helping a customer, it might be the camaraderie of working with others, it might the feeling of having back up when it’s needed, but it’s probably a combination of all these things. Every individual has their own unique WIIFM. Imagine a team where everyone shared their WIIFM, openly said what gets them out of bed every day.

Teamwork is at the centre of achievement and good teamwork means success for all the team.  Good team members celebrate their own skills and those of their colleagues.  Positive culture in a sales team allows collaboration, upskilling and cross-skilling to happen easily.  Regular sales meetings with a set agenda that includes training and contribution required from all the team will ensure that everyone feels valued and valuable.

The relationship between a sales person and their customer is one of trust and communication, it should also be this way between members of the sales team. When the sales team are secure in their sales structure and process, knowing what works, what’s expected and what’s to be achieved, there is room for what’s important to them.  Operating with a consistent methodology gives the team confidence and selling is becomes more enjoyable and takes less effort.

So are the two sayings ‘No ‘I’ in team’ and ‘What’s in it for me?’ really very different? Perhaps they’re two sides of the same coin. Suppressing a huge ego is definitely good for a team, but acknowledging there is a healthy touch of ego in our WIIFMs is good for the team too. When we hit that sweet WIIFM spot of achievement, our confidence soars, our performance improves and, having no need to pump up our ego, we give more to the team than we take.  Now that’s a win win!

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