Have you ever heard the statement, “Business Is a Team Sport”?
It’s quite an interesting statement in my humble opinion, and the more I think about it, the more I see that it couldn’t be truer.
Is truer even a word? Whatever.....
I’m not sure when I first heard the phrase, “Business Is a Team Sport”, but it was likely at one of the many business or personal development events I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended over the last few years. Regardless of where I heard it, I do wish I’d heard it many years earlier and if I’d heard it earlier, I wish I’d also had the good sense to really contemplate what it means with respect to the businesses I’ve been involved with over the years. It’s great to have some awesome “nugget” of knowledge, but the power of the nugget isn’t just having it, it’s when we put it to work.
After all, “A nugget of gold is just a rock, if all it ever does is sit on a shelf and collect dust“.
This is not to say that I’m not, or haven’t been a team player, or always wanted to do everything on my own over the years. Quite the contrary. Colleen and I were talking about business partners last week and one thing I never really thought about much before is that with all the business I’ve been an owner in, that’s over 10 and counting, I’ve always had at least 1 business partner. Colleen has been that partner in several of them and for me that’s a great thing as she definitely has skills that I don’t have and we complement each other extremely well. I’ve also been on some really great teams over the years where the end result of our collaborative efforts have been nothing short of amazing and left me with experiences that I’ll never forget. Examples of these teams are my high school volleyball team in grade 12, the Petro Canada Kaybob Gas Plant crew I was part of 25 years ago, the team that my partners and I created that was Select Controls, my UPDP team, and the team I was part of this past summer that came together to serve at the orphanage and school we visited in Africa and then went on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro together.
These teams were made up of fairly ordinary people. What made them so special and effective was that we shared the same values, vision, mission and purpose for existing, sometimes by design but sometimes purely by accident. As a result we worked very hard, really supported each other and achieved results that were way beyond what ordinary people would normally achieve, much like any championship sports team does.
The point I’m trying to make is that in your business there needs to be a conscious and consistent evaluation of all the things that make up a great team, the honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses in your team and then the work must be done to create that great team in your business and to create the environment in your business for that great team to excel.
Michael Jordan is quoted as saying “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
There are almost an endless number of things that are similar between a great sporting team and a great business team and the following are some things that easily came to mind for you to consider. They are in no particular order of importance, just things to ponder.
Elements that are part of teams
• Teams are essential to success
• Team mates
• The correct equipment
• Common goals
• Team over self
• Ability to adapt
• Changing rules
• Physically fit
• Correct balance of skills
• Plan for the future
• Performance evaluation
• Financial accountability
• Know the competition
• Celebrate all wins
• Highest energy wins
• Back up plans
• Etc. etc. etc.
The list could go on and on. Some of these are internal considerations and some are external forces that great teams must consider and overcome.
When I think of this list with respect to some great sports teams I’m familiar with, and see how these elements relate to business, I get a much clearer picture of where I want to take the business teams that I’m part of.
I believe that if we looked at our business as a team sport and built up and developed our teams, especially ourselves as leaders, the whole idea of work and business would have way more meaning, be way more fun, be way more supportive and would deliver those exceptional results that great teams deliver. The key is coming together around common values, vision, mission and purpose.
I challenge you to look at your team in this light and see the great championship team they could be, and then get the help you need to make that happen.
One final note to consider when creating a championship team.
There is no position on a team called BOSS.