Pizza Franchisee Shares His Strategies On Building A Strong Team

Building a Winning Team

Some two decades into the business with Domino's Pizza, Dave Melton has acquired quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to building a great team around him. The franchisee, who has 4 units in Manhattan and 2 in nearby Connecticut, loves to use metaphors when he talks about building a great team. Here - from his book Hire the American Dream - are 12 strategies that have worked for him over the years. If you don't already do these things then you might give them a try.

Get to know your teammates

The more you understand about a person, the easier it is to accept his differences. It's easy to be critical and negative about a person you don't understand. Take time and listen to the person with whom you're having trouble. Try to see through his eyes. If you can do that, your feelings toward that person almost always improve.

Give positive feedback to your teammates whenever you get the chance

Simple statements like, "good tackle," "nice try," "great job," "super" or "I knew you could do it" help build strong, positive relationships. Be positive and supportive verbally to your fellow players, and avoid the critical, negative feedback. In other words, get into the habit of saying things to your teammates that build them up and avoid saying things that put them down. This is particularly true in adversity. Remember, everyone has the tendency to retreat into himself and protect "number one" when things get tough. When you're part of a team, that strategy spells trouble for you and everyone else. Work extra hard to be supportive, positive, and constructive with your team during times of adversity. By helping them, you end up helping yourself.

Give 100% effort in practice and work hard on your weaknesses

In our business, you can't prepare for the rush during the rush. The time to practice making pizzas fast is...every time there is a pizza to make. Being able to perform the job perfectly when it's slow prepares the team to be able to provide great service and pizzas when it's really busy. Working hard to improve yourself and giving full effort is a powerful team unifier. When you are dedicated and committed, you encourage others to do likewise by example. Never underestimate the power of your example in building team spirit.

Both negativism and positivism are highly contagious

Don't be fooled into believing that your negative attitude isn't affecting your team. Negativism can spread through a team like a disease. Carefully guard what you think and say. Start an epidemic of enthusiasm and excitement on your team by being optimistic and positive.

Resolve conflicts with teammates or coaches as quickly as possible

Don't let conflicts build up inside. Take action to resolve them. Express your complaint or resolve your conflict with the person who is responsible for the situation and can alter it. Don't gripe or complain to others, venting your feelings - that just spreads negative If you respond to a conflict responsibly and immediately, it will have a little effect on your inner state and performance. But the longer is persists, the more you endanger your inner state and, hence, your performance.

Get your attitude and disposition right before going to practice or games

Once you arrive for play, it's often too late to adjust your attitudes. The real pro arrives with the right frame of mind, ready to play his best.

Don't be a loudmouth or show off

Neither one will produce many friends on a team. Quiet confidence, sincerity, and the ability to listen will serve you much better. The experience of team spirit is most generally described by players as the feelings of closeness between team members. Removing your facades and allowing others to know who and what you are is an important step in feeling close.

Go out of your way to help your teammates whenever you can

Being mutually interdependent on each other stimulates team spirit. When you help someone, they feel closer and more responsive to you.

Be fully responsible for yourself

Don't get into the habit of blaming others for your poor performances. Blaming the coach or your teammates when things don't go well serves no useful purpose. Work within positive and constructive channels to produce needed changes. Blaming only serves to frustrate team harmony-building efforts.

Be your own best igniter

Don't rely on others to push you from behind to keep you going. Self-starters are extremely valuable team members. They often become the triggers for positive momentum. Be a model of positive energy.

Communicate clearly, honestly and openly with your coach

To achieve a high level of team harmony, the communication between you and your coach must be healthy. The better you understand each other, the better your chances are of performing well.

Don't forget to have fun!

Being able to laugh and to loosen up a little often breaks down barriers and helps people to relax and feel closer. Remember, when you can enjoy, you can perform.

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