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Turning the Corner for Team Success

October 4, 2012

“Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped.” (Pat Lencione, President, The Table Group)   We have all watched our children or friends reach success in school, sports, and work not only as a result of individual achievement but while working as part of a team.  In sports, those teams that function as a healthy team, regardless of skill level, find a way to overcome their weaknesses.  Why is that?  I believe it is because those teams do place team results as most important over the individual.  Respect and confidence is built one step at a time.  Those at the top, coaches and managers, are critical to the success of building a successful team and engaging each and every person on that team.

I have recently been involved in watching a rather unsuccessful team as a spectator and a parent.  I can analyze all day about why this team is losing a majority of their games despite the talent.  Each player on that team has their strengths and weaknesses and each player has their mistakes and shining moments.  However, I do observe the disfunction – absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment particularly by coaching staff, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to team results.  I see the all too common individualism on and off the playing field that breeds dysfunction.  So who’s responsibility is it to encourage trust, engage everyone in solving the issues, building commitment from everyone; coaches, managers, and players alike.

How does a dysfunctional team turn the corner?  It begins with building trust and confidence from the top down and engaging all the players.  Trust leads into the ability to resolve conflict in a way that engages the team to solving the issues.  Resolution of conflict and collective problem solving lead to team commitment and team goals and objectives.  A commitment on the part of all leads to accountability as each and every player’s role and responsibilities are defined based on their strengths and weaknesses.  A player is able to ask for help, and players are available to offer feedback and assistance. In the end, as the team succeeds so do the individuals. 



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