The Haka - a traditional Maori dance which has been popularized by the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team. It's a powerful and intimidating sight. One that not only sounds the call to the opposing team that they are up for a fight, but perhaps more importantly, it is an experience that undoubtedly draws the All Blacks together in unity as they prepare for the game.

Interestingly, the All Blacks are consistently one of the best, if not the best Rugby team in the world.

I got thinking about how powerful things like team cultures can be last week at a Volleyball game I was taking part in. It struck me that so often athletes in recreational leagues are simply too cool to take part in a team cheer and often uniforms are even left by the wayside. But it really is a shame because these subtle things can have a massive effect on team unity and performance, both individually and corporately. It's really one important way in which professionals differ from amateurs...they grasp the effect that the mind and emotions have on your performance.

This principal of team building and the effect that things like shirts or a cheer can have on a team, apply not only in the sports world. They apply in business and not-for-profit environments as well.

It's important that teams have a rallying cry. Whether it's a physical cheer, team shirts, a team activity or some other creative concept. To build an effective team that is able to explore the reaches of their potential, you have to get them all focussed on the one goal and working together to achieve it.

The challenge is to get your team to a place where, whatever the exercise or item is, that they are 100% sold out to it. Once you've done that, you've built a foundation from which the group can succeed.

That's branding at it's best.

Andrew VanderPloeg
Andrew VanderPloeg Guest Blogger, Consultant

Andrew served at Bark for over 20 years before recently taking over the role of Vice President of Marketing & Communications at ShareWord, one of our favorite organizations.