Bankers need to learn to function better as teams. The silo mentality- with its fragmentation of the sales approach, myopic views, and overall lack of teamwork-yields a less-than-optimal share of wallet.

To increase that share by working to provide all 17 of the most popular consumer financial products takes an environment that helps sales and back- office teams function effectively.

Here are some thoughts:

Share information. Every team member needs to know what's going on. Open exchange of views, including constructive conflict, should be encouraged.

Team members need to understand each other and where they're coming from. Only through candid discussion can a consensus approach be developed with buy-in from every member of the team.

Effective team composition. Team members need to have the talents to get the job done. Use individual talent to its best as you compose the team, and consider the group dynamics.

Allow for diversity. Teams perform best when the members have different capabilities, thought processes, and experience. Differences contribute to the team rather than detract from it.

Accept interdependence. Team members depend on each other, and they help teammates succeed-since individual failure means team failure. Helpfulness is important, as is a sense of accountability for the overall team performance.

Practice. Working together as a team requires practice and understanding. Even if the team composition is optimal, the members have to learn to function with each other.

It takes practice to develop a team to its full potential. Sports teams never stop practicing; neither should banker teams.

The team is No. 1. Looking out for No. 1 is a personal goal when No. 1 is you. In a team, the conflict between individual and team desires can be overwhelming. But for the job to be done, the team has to be No. 1.

Self-promotion contrary to team interest will break down team spirit and harm the helpfulness so important to team functioning and trust.

Discipline. Highly functional teams are composed of disciplined members who expect nothing but top performance from each other and from themselves. High self-expectations and a willingness to achieve the team objective are derivatives of discipline.

Individual contribution. Every team member counts; everyone must contribute. The contributions may not be equal, but attitude and effort are nonnegotiable.

Trust. Teams cannot function without trust. Trust comes from mutual protection and nurturing-and it is fragile. Small infractions shatter it; repair, if possible, takes a long time.

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