How sports teams cultivate a winning team goes well beyond the sport’s direct skills of any player. It is equal parts skill and attitude which combine to achieve great success. Sometimes that means winning the coveted season end title and, other times, in having the internal strength to shake off a loss and begin again.
No matter the situation, the result needs to be something that moves you forward.
Creating your successful team begins with drafting the right mix of skill sets and personalities.
There are common characteristics that strong teams share:
- Commitment to the Cause
No matter the end goal, every team member from the front office to the hydration specialists need to be 100% dedicated to achieving the goal even if that means stepping outside of their comfort zone.
This is leadership at every level. Not defined by an organizational chart, but rather by the tenacity of team members to lead in their role.
- Communication Skills
Well-crafted, continually honed communication skills and systems make for effective and efficient communication. Communication wins propel any team to higher trust levels and that translates into positives all the way around.
- Knowing How and Choosing to Support
Different situations call for different strategies and skill sets. Depending on the play, the defined leadership may shift and the team along with it. Sometimes passing the ball to allow someone else to lead is the best choice. By having this mindset, each team member may lead and follow knowing they are valued in either role.
- Diversity with Some Redundancy/Overlap
Your roster has to be filled with complimentary and concurrent skills or your team may fail. This not only serves as a backup plan, but also a means to gain multiple perspectives to strive for enhanced end products.
Now is the time to meld veterans with new recruits. Defining roles and areas of flexibility while learning to work and play together is essential to their success.
Veteran looks at the “shiny new players” knowing things will change. They sparkle and shine and espouse new ways of thinking about things. Generally, people don’t embrace change. This can cause angst for your proven players. How do the new people fit in? How will my role change? Even if the only change is their perceived “social team” spot and not their skills, adjustment will be required and may be difficult.
- New Recruits
Meanwhile, the new recruits are jockeying to find and define a spot on the team. Their work role is undoubtedly fairly well defined, but how they fit in with the team from a communication and personality perspective is equally important.
This is the best time for some team building. Not those horrible ice breaker and trust games that everyone dreads.
Start with organic team building at this stage. It will provide invaluable information for you to navigate the new playing field.
Start with something as simple as lunch to watch the interaction and see where quality overlap exists and where their may be gaps that retooling people’s roles will fill. Follow up with games that are fun and reveal things about each player. A few ideas — online escape room, poker (or other card game), Fibbage, or Quiplash. Each of these requires strategy and execution.
Once you can chart the strengths and weaknesses of each player, you are on your way to employing strategies to optimize production.
As they say, practice makes perfect. And they aren’t wrong. Your team needs to practice daily on multiple front.
- Refining Skills
Ask anyone who works in Microsoft Office. There is always something new to learn. Often the learning comes from co-workers as we tend to learn things out of necessity. With the speed at which technology changes and “updates” are installed yesterday’s stellar skills are exactly that — yesterdays.
- Knowing and Having the Right Tools
If you have only a few tools, you figure out how to get the job done with what you have. The smart team gets the right tools for the job. Wearing training shoes when you need cleats only makes you expel more resources to get to the same place and probably after the people who wore cleats. That does not win you the game. This does not mean you need every new gadget out there, but rather, a solid set of the essentials for your trade and people that are properly trained to use them. A few well thought out extras as affordable are good too.
- Communication Skills
This truly cannot be practiced enough. This doesn’t have to be formal training. For example, get off of the keyboard and actually learn the nuances of verbal tonality and body language. They are HUGE in relating to people and convey far more than any email or instant message ever will.
- Gaining New Skills
Every marketplace is ever evolving. If you are going to be competitive, you need to be at or ahead of the next wave. That starts with your team. On-going education is an essential element to long-term success. Encourage it.
Whether the goal is winning the big game, business growth or the invention that vaults your company to new heights, the precepts that get you there are the same. They start and end with the quality of your team and the system they function in. After that, their skills, commitment and attitude will determine your fate.
Draft wisely. Train integration continually and organically. Practice daily. Enjoy the sweetness of success.