What a 7 Year Old Taught Me About Team Spirit

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“Dear Future Me, I hope I work at Aha! And live at the beach. Love, Carson” An Aha! teammate recently shared this note with the company. It was from his 7-year-old son’s school journal. And I was blown away. Aha! is the type of company our kids aspire to work for? Mouth-wide-open speechless.

And then a deep sense of responsibility set in. We have a lot to live up to. But it was not just the expectation of life at Aha! that blew me away — it was the team spirit. Carson’s dad clearly has so much that it has overflowed into his family life. And now his son wants to work at Aha! too.

How many kids say they want to grow up and work in enterprise software? I bet the list is short. And surely it was not our business strategy or product roadmap that prompted his journal entry. It was the way his dad talks about our team and the work that we accomplish together. It was about how he feels about working at Aha!

Believing in your company, the people you work with, and what you are trying to accomplish together — that is team spirit. Putting yourself and the company on the same level is how you behave when you have it. 

I have to admit that team spirit was not always on my radar. When we were first building our team at Aha!, we looked for a few essential qualities in candidates: integrity, ambition, effort, skill, and learning. We found many great teammates using this list.

But something was missing. A person could have all of those traits, but without team spirit, you might end up hiring a brilliant jerk.

This was a serious oversight. Because success is never about just one person. It comes from connecting with your team, supporting the people you work with, and aligning with the organization’s values.

So, do you have this kind of team spirit? Here is how we spot it:

You give
Can you think about the organization’s goals and align them with your own personal aspirations? Do the two intersect most of the time? You must be willing to give 100 percent — knowing that you can expect the same effort from us. Sometimes the company’s needs will come first, and other times your own needs will come first.

You hear
Feedback can be hard to receive and sometimes even harder to give. Are you willing to take a critique, learn from it, and translate it into action? Can you deliver honest yet kind feedback to people you work closely with to help them grow?

You own
Go-getters take ownership of a problem. But we also want people who can own up to when they are struggling and will ask for help. Do you recognize when you could benefit from another perspective? Will you share your knowledge to benefit someone else, helping them work through a tough problem?

Generosity of spirit benefits everyone. It creates the kind of place that people want to work at — or aspire to work at when they grow up.

Is Aha! the place for you? We are hiring and growing fast. Join our team to do meaningful work with motivated people and be appreciated for it. But even if we are not the right fit for you, we hope that you work someplace that will make you proud and bring out your best team spirit. 

And since we are a fully distributed team, we hire talented folks to work from wherever they live. Even the beach, Carson.

What does team spirit mean to you?

About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product roadmap software — and the author of Lovability. His two previous startups were acquired by well-known public companies. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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