All in the family / A homecoming can be evidence of what teamwork brings out in a business

The Feast of the Assumption set for Aug. 15 in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood attracts more than 100,000 people, and many families consider it a type of homecoming. As you will find out in this issue’s Uniquely Cleveland feature, there are generations of people coming back to see the old neighborhood and rekindle with family.

It’s no surprise that when you consider the spirit of a family, it’s like the spirit of a well-run company. Many leaders often reflect on how their employees are almost like family.

One of the major benefits to come from instilling a family spirit in a company can be a tremendous loyalty from your associates, just as family members are loyal to each other.

A CEO I recently interview put it this way:

“This translates into some very hardworking people, who are creative and passionate, who care about the company, care about their co-workers, are very team-oriented people who help each other and are nice to each other.

“By running a public company with a little bit of the spirit of a family that cares — that loyalty will show up for you in tenure, work ethic, passion and esprit de corps.”

Your workers will care about the company, he says.

“They have a lot of emotion and feeling toward it. You obviously will want to offer competitive salaries, have good benefit programs, a nice work environment, a lot of wellness programs, education programs and scholarships for associates’ children for college. Do a lot to hire and retain good quality people.”

Simply put, with everyone pulling in the same direction, the team will reap the benefits. While it’s not as simple with family matters, you can see the analogy.

“A consultant once used the expression with me that there are basketball teams and then there are track teams,” the CEO says. “In basketball, the team wins and everybody wins. In track, it’s nice when your friend wins his or her race, but you really want to win your race.

“You really want to be more like a basketball team where everybody wins. You may be the quarterback who gets a lot of the attention and gets asked to do the interviews, but it’s really about the whole team. If a lineman doesn’t do what he is supposed to do, then all of us are going to suffer. So we all have the incentive to pull in the same direction.”

So when the family gets together for dinner, everyone is having cavatelli because the family is a team, a unit, even though there are individual goals in addition to family goals. By working together, you will meet those goals and rally behind the ones who need support.

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth hearing again: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Those who work together are able to do more than if their individual efforts were added together.

It’s all in the family.