Many years ago, when I was teaching high school, I was also fortunate to spend a number of years coaching basketball. I believe that it is true of many coaches, that there are teams that stick out in your memory in a special way. I too have such a special team, a Junior Varsity boy’s basketball team that I coached in the Province of Quebec, not far from Montreal.
One of the most remarkable things about that team was that it was not the most talented group of individuals in the league, far from it. What they did possess were three qualities of a winning team: they were committed to a single goal, they each knew their role and what it required and they were willing to be flexible within their role when the team required it. And, of course, it goes without saying that they all worked hard.
As a business owner or executive builds there business team, I think that it is of utmost importance that you seek these qualities in the people you hire. When you coach high school sports you must work with the group you have and there was a certain amount of that I found myself with this group, but hiring the right people onto your team is crucial to building a wining team. You must choose people with the qualities that can lead to great teamwork as much as for certain skills and knowledge.
Of course, how you lead the team will also have a great effect on the outcome. In order for a team to be committed to one goal, they must clearly understand what that goal is. Lack of clarity from the leader is the death knell of any team. Out of that understanding comes the motivation for the team to work hard. Now, I would also admit a certain number wind sprints were also motivational. I certainly would not require that of my business team now, but when the coach let the way during sprints, it was a great motivation for the team.
A leader must also be a good teacher in order for the team to understand their role within the overall system. A person that does not understand their role will be lost on the field of play. As well, each team member must also understand their teammates’ roles, to be able to fill in when necessary. That flexibility is born of the confidence of knowledge.