What I Learned About Initiative and Team CMVA

Let’s spend some time talking about what drives us, what holds us together, and what creates vision for us over here at Team CMVA. It’s not the caffeine, although that’s pretty plentiful, and it’s not the laughter, although that too is readily shared. We operate with a shared vision. Our shared vision is communicated and embraced in our core values.

Our core values aren’t just clever slogans but they are rules we live by and visions we work by. Our first core value is one that focuses on empowering the individual to take initiative.

Initiative is one of those words that has lost its mojo. Not because it’s no longer important or powerful, rather it’s been used in so many job interviews and obscure conversations that the very word causes many eyes to glaze over. But we still value this word over at Team CMVA. We still understand the depth of its meaning – it’s not just a buzz word to us. At Team CMVA we believe in having initiative and empowering it in each other. Our first core value illustrates this.

Core Value 1
Empower Initiative – We feel confident and capable of achieving great results with minimal supervision. We know where we are headed as a team. We can help each other succeed.

First, there’s the confidence. Confidence in your own ability and confidence in the abilities of those you work with are both integral to our ability to “empower initiative” in each other. We know what we are good and can move in confidence towards completing our job and then some. We also completely trust one another allowing everyone around us the freedom to work with confidence as well.

To “empower initiative” in ourselves and each other we must think as team member and not as an employee (or employer).  Being able to own your work and see where it fits with all the moving parts of the team as a whole allows us the ability to see where we can best be of service and then, with confidence in our capabilities, step out and get it done.

We also aren’t afraid to speak up. This is less about complaining and more about seeing a need and being prepared with a recommendation to improve. If there is a process that isn’t working, we say something with a focus on what we can do to make it better. Speaking up is always embraced; since we are all a part of the team we are all responsible for its success. Speaking up also means we aren’t afraid to ask a question. If we don’t understand, we say something! It’s pretty simple – an informed team is an empowered team. And an empowered team is a successful one.

And when we are successful, we know exactly what to do to keep the ball rolling – recognize it! We toot our own horns or, better yet, toot each other’s. We like singing “toot, toot” when someone does something awesome! In fact, we have a whole system for it! It’s called Bonusly and we use it to recognize and reward each other for being awesome.

With Bonusly you give “points” to team members with a note about how super they are. The points accumulate over time and can be used to redeem gift cards… real gift cards! You can get gift cards for places like Amazon, Starbucks, and Target. Or, if you’d prefer, you can send a donation to one of a few select charities.

We all like to be recognized for our awesomeness, but when recognition and reward are built into the team structure then the great work and initiative will grow. We feel even more empowered when we get a little pat on the back or have the opportunity to say more than a simple “thank you” to a team member we appreciate.

And this “initiative” matters because it directly affects our clients. We are able to think “outside the box” and “own our work” in increasing measure. Initiative in ourselves and our fellow teammates means we are bringing the very best of ourselves to the clients and inviting each other to bring out the very best of themselves. By empowering initiative in each other, we create a vibrant team that lives outside the boundaries for our clients. We are equipped to fill their needs. And we basically feel like rockstars.