Have you ever wondered why business leaders generally use examples of sporting teams when discussing great teamwork with their people?
Apart from the fact that teamwork is quite obvious in professional sporting teams, there aren’t many obvious examples of truly great teamwork that can be highlighted in the business world.
Why is this? The answer is the focus is very different in business teams compared to sporting teams.
Professional sports teams will spend on average 4-5 days a week practicing, with most of this practice focused on team disciplines. They also have 1-2 rest days and game day is once a week
Business teams however, have 5 game days a week and 2 rest days. So when does the team practice?
There may be the occasional off site conference where team building is incorporated however what is the purpose of these? Generally they are focused on staff morale rather than true team development opportunities that will sustain long term team work benefit.
What is it that is at the core of any great team?
The answer is an understanding of team fundamentals that are strictly adhered to, a set of behaviours that provide a point of alignment for all team members. Each member understands, agrees and commits to these behaviours… many which pivot on trust and respect for each other.
Great coaches know that the core of any great team is not just great players, because there are many teams that have won championships with a roster of less talented players.
Great teams are comprised of committed players who experience an intangible bond built around an unbreakable fabric of trust. This bonded connection between players generates an authentic confidence and belief in each other as individuals and as a team. It is this feeling of connectivity that makes winning not only much more likely but highly probable.
How can we apply this back into the workplace? Ask yourself this, if, as a team leader, you’re not working hard to provide connectivity opportunities for your team members, then great team work will never be achieved
You need to create a climate that transforms team members into team mates.
How do you create this transformation?
Provide an opportunity for team members to get to know, understand and connect with each other at a deeper emotional level.
Is this going to feel unusual and odd for some at first? Of course it is because it’s stepping outside the comfort zone, but as the saying goes – that is where the magic happens! It is exactly what sports teams do at the start of each season. Connect, reflect and reveal. Take away the fitness and technical focus of the game and off-season camps are all about creating a safe environment where the players can be authentic, connect, reflect and reveal.
As a boss, be creative in the way you provide this environment and remember you can still be professional in your authentic self-whilst connecting and learning about team mates on a deeper level.
So what’s the bottom line? Ultimate team work will never be achieved through the occasional staff morale building workshop. Ultimate teamwork comes from providing opportunities to build trust, and connect with and understand others. What follows is a stronger commitment to each other and incredible solidarity. It’s called bonding!