The following is a letter written by T.E.A.M. CEO Bob Sturges to his approximately 1500 associates when he was CEO of Nevada Gold. The letter appeared in the spring 2011 edition of the company newsletter.
There are many words and clichés in our business vocabulary that have become so over-used and frequently quoted that they have ceased to have any real impact or meaning. Sometimes I feel as though the word TEAM may have fallen into that category. What I would like to briefly discuss is the true meaning and importance of that word as it applies to our business life.
There is no I in TEAM.
T.E.A.M. stands for Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
Although most of the above quotes are quite true, we have all heard them so often that we have tuned them out- much like the word “team” itself. Let’s look at the literal definition of the word “team”. Webster’s dictionary says the word simply means “a number of persons associated together in work or activity”. That is a pretty uninformative explanation that certainly does not inspire the kind of approach to our daily work that we need in our casinos. We are not simply “associated together”. We need to be far more than that.
Being on the team at our casinos is much more about attitude than the fact that we work in close proximity in the same facility every day. A true team concept is what we should try to instill in everyone with whom we work - everyday. What does it really mean to be a team?
First and foremost it means “awareness”. By awareness I mean an understanding of how our particular function relates to the function of others. We cannot walk around with tunnel vision only focused on ourselves and only caring about how we are performing our particular set of responsibilities.
Secondly it means “cooperation”. This means not only thinking about how to be more effective in our own jobs; but also how we may be able to make the job of our co-workers easier and more productive. With everyone helping one another in the spirit of true cooperation, our work environment becomes a happier and more productive place.
Last but not least is “respect”. This involves the recognition and appreciation that everyone’s function is important to our success. Many of us have far different functions from other associates with whom we are in daily contact. Understanding and respecting the role and importance of other team members is an important element of true team work. Everyone works better and feels better knowing that they are appreciated and respected for what they do.
Although clearly important, better productivity and efficiency are not the most important reasons for establishing a team concept in our casino operations. The most important reason is the dramatic impact true team work has on the guest experience. For instance, it does not matter to a guest that they may have asked a team member for assistance with something that is beyond that person’s job description. Guests expect and deserve to be taken care of. And we need to make sure that it happens by either helping the guest or by finding the team member who can best be of service. In every interaction with a team member, guests need to feel our respect and appreciation for their business. While interacting with our team, guests will quickly get a good sense of whether this is a happy and cooperative team operating our business or a cold and disconnected group of people who just happen to be working in the same place. Which environment would you rather visit as a casino guest?
So working as a team with a true team concept, will not only result in a more congenial, less stressful and more efficient casino operation, it will make our property far more appealing to our guests. It is truly a “win-win”situation.
Our company expects that team members will always conduct their daily tasks with these principles in mind. Please make it your business to be aware, to be cooperative, and to respect the role of all members of our team. With this approach we will all have greater job satisfaction, happier guests and a more prosperous business.
The principles set forth in this letter are some of the guiding principles of T.E.A.M Hospitality Management – awareness, cooperation and respect for everyone’s role. These are the same principles used by successful coaches in team sports. As a result of CEO Bob Sturges’ extensive experience in team sports at the high school and collegiate level, as well as his own coaching experience, he has seen the tremendous productivity and satisfaction that comes from true team work. Most recently he has enjoyed watching the Miami Heat, of which he is a limited partner, win NBA championships, in part, because of an unselfish and team oriented attitude.
How many times have we observed in sports a collection of “all-stars” unable to realize the true potential of their team and win a championship? This is especially true in sports like football and basketball. The same can be true in business. If we are only concerned with our own “turf” and obsessed with our own particular set of responsibilities, then the business in which we work will never be able to realize its full potential.
The excellent group of professionals who comprise T.E.A.M Hospitality Management all understand the importance of working together cooperatively and insist on the same from everyone we manage. You can be assured that any operation for which we take responsibility will be built on a strong foundation of T.E.A.M. work.