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Cohesion is a Force Multiplier (A Note to the Sales Leader)

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
December 26, 2010

Even though there are shockingly stark and dramatic differences between military operations and business, I can’t help but love much of what they share in common, not the least of which is leadership under trying conditions (albeit, what the military considers trying conditions most of us cannot even imagine).

The idea of a force multiplier is that you possess some attribute that enables you to be far more effective than you would otherwise be without it.

One of the most underrated and underestimated force multipliers is cohesion.

Cohesion as Advantage

A team or unit that is cohesive enough to operate as a single entity, with a shared vision, a shared mission, and a shared meaning, operates as if it were a far larger, and a far greater force.

When a team works together, pulling the oars in unison, there is much less friction. Cohesion results in greater trust. When everyone on the team is trusted with their individual and shared responsibilities, far less communication is necessary, and far less bureaucracy and red tape is needed. It also makes selling inside much easier.

Cohesion translates to speed in decision-making and speed in producing results.

The cohesion of a team also allows for shared outcomes, with all of the team members working together to ensure that their goals and outcomes are reached, as well as the goals and outcomes that they are working to achieve for their clients.

A cohesive team shares an esprit de corps that multiplies its effectiveness. A team that is happy, optimistic, cooperative, and mature in their business relationships has a massive advantage over a team that is rife with dissension and strife.

Your Role as Sales Leader

Sometimes you are fortunate enough for a team to coalesce on it’s own. Waiting for fortune to smile on you and give you a cohesive team isn’t a great strategy. Instead, it is your job to build and insist upon a cohesive team.

You have to provide the vision and the mission. You have to provide the meaning. You have to answer the question: “What does it mean to be a part of this team?” You have to carry the standard and set the tone for what it means to be part of the team. Does it mean that we each work in our own little silos, never considering how what we do impacts the roles of the people with whom we work?

Your role includes breaking down the walls between these silos and helping to bring the organization together as a single unit. Your role is to remove the barriers to cohesion.

A cohesive team is fragile. Installing one new element to the team can fracture—and ultimately, destroy—the cohesion. Adding a cynic, a critic, a slacker, or a burnout can easily destroy your team.

Your role as a leader includes protecting the culture and values that your team’s cohesion is built on, until it is strong enough to be self-sustaining, at which point the culture will reject any threat on its own. This means you have to remove any negativity before it has a chance to spread and destroy morale.

Maximizing the results of your sales force means building a cohesive team. Building a cohesive team is a force multiplier that will generate outsized results—for as long as you can protect it.


We often give lip service to the idea of people as our greatest assets. We also give a lot of attention to individual effort and results. Why is the cohesiveness of the entire team often overlooked?

Do you believe there are any force multipliers that are greater in producing results than a cohesive team? What force multipliers can be built on top of a cohesive team to produce even greater results?

What are the advantages of a cohesive team? What makes an aligned team so effective?

What is your role in building a team-oriented, results-driven culture? What tasks are required of you by that role?

How do you protect the culture, the esprit de corps? What are the threats to your team’s cohesion?

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4729.

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Read my interview with Tom Peters (Part One and Part Two).

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 26, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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