Building a team consists of a great many activities, but I would like to highlight a simple and subtle way of creating a sense of unity and shared purpose by creating a “uniform” for your organization.
The first 2 steps is putting a successful team together.
1. Choosing your people
2. Uniting them emotionally and in purpose.
In athletics, a team is unified with a uniform, see the commonality of the prefix ‘uni?’ And that is the first step the getting everybody to work for a common goal. In professional sports, players are traded and have often been opponents before they are teammates. The uniform becomes a bond that joins these varied players together.
Beyond athletics, uniforms are normally required when an organization’s staff is working with the public, and need to be identified as a member of the team, and not just another customer. Uniforms are present from fast food restaurants, to grocery stores, to airlines, to first responders.
In the corporate world, uniforms are not typically required on a daily basis, but there are times when a uniform is beneficial. Public marketing events are effective times to use matching shirts with an embroidered corporate brand, golf outings or other public relations events can also benefit from the identification of individuals who belong to a particular organization.
In the non-profit or fundraising sphere, like walk-a-thons, teams often dress in similar t-shirts to show unity in purpose. Many times these teams are subsets of corporate fundraising arms. The printed t-shirt not only shows unity of purpose at that particular event, but will also serve as a reminder of a good deed done when worn after the event has long past.
Sometimes when on-boarding new employees, one of the first gifts a corporation will often give is a printed shirt with the company brand or slogan. This handing out of a uniform is the first signal to the new hire, that this person is now part of the team. That purposes have merged. The individual will then wear the shirt around town, or in the office signaling to all who see her, that she is part of your organization.
Printed or embroidered apparel like shirts, hats or jackets are a key component to building community and teamwork within an organization. If custom decorated apparel is not part of your team building program, you really need to examine how it might help unify and strengthen the bonds of your people with one another and the organization at large.