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There’s no I in team by Jade Mansell

Jade Mansell

One of the most overused clichés in history? Possibly. One of the most pertinent and underestimated values in business? Almost definitely. Teamwork is just one value which should help to make up a code of conduct in the workplace, and this is the key ingredient for the maintenance of reputation: a clear, enforced, and well-thought out ethos.

Shakespeare’s Cassio illustrates to us the importance of reputation: “”Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial!” Well perhaps that’s a bit much…But it does serve the purpose of highlighting that reputation is key, and should remain at the heart of any business.

The British Army purports to follow a code of conduct encompassing six core values: courage, discipline, respect, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment, and this helps them to maintain their excellent reputation. A solider must exhibit and embrace the most extreme forms of trust, placing their lives in the hands of a co-worker who will cover their backs, in what is quite literally a life or death situation. It is only this trust which allows the team to co-operate and work as a unit, and to safeguard their reputation of professionalism and self-discipline. This reputation derives from, and depends upon, unequivocal commitment, self-sacrifice and mutual trust, and, like rowers on a boat, if any one member diverges from the code of conduct, the reputation is sunk.

Take for instance the recent controversy surrounding claims that British soldiers operated a regime of systematic torture, leading to the death of an Iraqi prisoner, Baha Mousa. This incident has provoked horror from the British public, and as well as offending human conscience, violates each axiom of the army’s code of conduct. Thus the validity of the shining reputation that the army attempts to promulgate is called into question.

This example can be seen as a microcosm for businesses to observe and learn from: a lack of uniformity in adhering to the rules means that the team does not face in the same direction, and does not pull together to achieve. Even in the couple of days of my work experience here at Kinetic, I’ve seen first-hand how a carefully planned message to the employees can make a huge difference to mindset. Here the mantra is based around being challenging, rigorous, moral, pioneering, and fun, and this simple code of conduct provides a focus and an understanding of the business, as well as the expectations, in a simple, memorable way. Businesses then, would do well to learn not to neglect the importance of the code of conduct in the workplace, and within that, the central tenet of the concept of teamwork.

These values come into play at every level of work: just yesterday over lunch we were discussing a situation in which the Kinetic team found themselves, which was effectively akin to the stress of a PR court martial. I commented that under such pressure I would’ve lost my head, especially since I hate conflict. Yet to know that were I to face such a situation, I’d be standing side by side with a colleague who shares and acts on the Kinetic values, would make me feel that much more confident and able to withstand the heat: here at Kinetic we are not just in it for the money. Apply the same situation to the solider who knows his colleague is only in it for the pension, and you get a sense of the kind of insecurity one might feel – it is the same in business: there’s no I in team.

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