A couple weeks ago (as of when this article was written), I spent an afternoon with my high school basketball team honoring our dearly departed coach. I had the opportunity to speak about the impact he had on me, and I realized that many of the things that are common knowledge to sports teams could REALLY benefit business teams. So here I am, sharing with you all.
Below are some of the things that any successful sports team implements to become a winning team. How many of them are YOU doing in your business?
Know Your Players
Have you ever seen the movie, The Blind Side? If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth a watch. There's a scene in the movie where Michael, a lineman for the high school football team, is being coached to hit the defense more powerfully. But the gentle giant just doesn't have the heart. Sandra Bullock (his adopted mom) marches on to the field to explain to him that each of his team mates is part of his family, and we protect our family.
THAT is something that Michael understands, and his next hit is substantial.
Now, that strategy wouldn't work to inspire all people. But it does work to inspire someone who puts protecting his family over and above everything else.
All humans have these types of motivators. And as a team leader, when we know what those are, we have the opportunity to get the best out of our people, in a way that makes our people feel good 💖
Diversify Your Players
I grew up playing basketball. And if there's one thing I know, it's that you'll never win a game if your entire team consists of point guards. You'll also never win a game if your entire team are power forwards.
On a team, there are a variety of roles. And each role is important to the success of the team.
So the goal isn't to train all your players exactly the same way. It's about knowing how to train each position to get the most out of that position.
So, point guards will practice their dribbling more than a power forward. And a power forward will practice their rebounding more than a point guard. Shooting guards will practice shooting from the outside, and centers will practice shooting from right underneath the basket.
Everyone practices THEIR job so they can make their best contribution. And everyone is celebrated for THEIR contribution, because without it, the team could not be successful.
Put In The Work AS A TEAM
Professional athletes practice ALL the time. Even for high school athletes, the skills come from the things that we do over and over.
In high school, we used to run this fast break drill, where we had to (as a team) get 10 baskets in a row. If we missed one, we started again from one. And we ran it until we got 10 in a row, even if that meant practice ran long.
It sucked. Inevitably, we would get to 9 and then someone would miss on 10 because you were trying SO hard NOT to miss.
And then we would ALL start back at one.
We had to depend on each other to complete the task.
Now that's REAL team building.
So often, in business, we end up in silos. And then we wonder why we don't have good team work. Because team work needs to be a thing you do on a regular basis. It's not about quarterly offsites and annual team events. It's about consistent efforts together that allow you to build a level of trust with each other.
There's probably more...
There's definitely more, but I think this is enough to consider for one article. How well do you know your players and their motivations? How committed are you to the value in a diversified team? How often does your team get to truly team build?
And how could YOU, as a leader, create more space for these things?
All of these things are critical inputs to your brand experience. How are they showing up in your digital brand?