Cohesion is a Force Multiplier (A Note to the Sales Leader)

Even though there are shockingly stark and dramatic differences between military operations and business, I can’t help but love much of what they share in common, not the least of which is leadership under trying conditions (albeit, what the military considers trying conditions most of us cannot even imagine).

The idea of a force multiplier is that you possess some attribute that enables you to be far more effective than you would otherwise be without it.

One of the most underrated and underestimated force multipliers is cohesion.

Cohesion as Advantage

A team or unit that is cohesive enough to operate as a single entity, with a shared vision, a shared mission, and a shared meaning, operates as if it were a far larger, and a far greater force.

When a team works together, pulling the oars in unison, there is much less friction. Cohesion results in greater trust. When everyone on the team is trusted with their individual and shared responsibilities, far less communication is necessary, and far less bureaucracy and red tape is needed. It also makes selling inside much easier.

Cohesion translates to speed in decision-making and speed in producing results.

The cohesion of a team also allows for shared outcomes, with all of the team members working together to ensure that their goals and outcomes are reached, as well as the goals and outcomes that they are working to achieve for their clients.

A cohesive team shares an esprit de corps that multiplies its effectiveness. A team that is happy, optimistic, cooperative, and mature in their business relationships has a massive advantage over a team that is rife with dissension and strife.

Your Role as Sales Leader

Sometimes you are fortunate enough for a team to coalesce on it’s own. Waiting for fortune to smile on you and give you a cohesive team isn’t a great strategy. Instead, it is your job to build and insist upon a cohesive team.

You have to provide the vision and the mission. You have to provide the meaning. You have to answer the question: “What does it mean to be a part of this team?” You have to carry the standard and set the tone for what it means to be part of the team. Does it mean that we each work in our own little silos, never considering how what we do impacts the roles of the people with whom we work?

Your role includes breaking down the walls between these silos and helping to bring the organization together as a single unit. Your role is to remove the barriers to cohesion.

A cohesive team is fragile. Installing one new element to the team can fracture—and ultimately, destroy—the cohesion. Adding a cynic, a critic, a slacker, or a burnout can easily destroy your team.

Your role as a leader includes protecting the culture and values that your team’s cohesion is built on, until it is strong enough to be self-sustaining, at which point the culture will reject any threat on its own. This means you have to remove any negativity before it has a chance to spread and destroy morale.

Maximizing the results of your sales force means building a cohesive team. Building a cohesive team is a force multiplier that will generate outsized results—for as long as you can protect it.

Questions

We often give lip service to the idea of people as our greatest assets. We also give a lot of attention to individual effort and results. Why is the cohesiveness of the entire team often overlooked?

Do you believe there are any force multipliers that are greater in producing results than a cohesive team? What force multipliers can be built on top of a cohesive team to produce even greater results?

What are the advantages of a cohesive team? What makes an aligned team so effective?

What is your role in building a team-oriented, results-driven culture? What tasks are required of you by that role?

How do you protect the culture, the esprit de corps? What are the threats to your team’s cohesion?

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