Does your team STRIVE? 

Today the Wilmington University Wildcats Lacrosse team travelled to Waterbury, CT to play a semifinal matchup that could mark the end of a very long chapter of attending the athletic events of my children.  As they took the field, the past performance, the accolades, and the expectations faded and the performance of the TEAM in today’s game was all anyone cared about.

It was the performance of the players at the four main positions that mattered.  The goalie racking up saves rather than allowing the opponent to score.  The midfielders (middies) clearing the ball throughout the game. The Defense protecting the area around the goal making it difficult for the opposition gain the advantage in the contest.  And of course, the Attack, using precision passing and setting up the plays to ultimately score more goals than the foe.

The folks listed in the previous paragraph are part of a TEAM.  A TEAM that has one sole purpose.  To win!  But each player has a role.  Each has a job to do.  Each has specific responsibilities that lead to TEAM success.  Each must strive to do their absolute best while they are in the game and to support and cheer on others when they are not.

There have been many books written about Team. Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal, Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, Taking your team to the top by Ted Sundquist and Building Team Power by Thomas Kayser, just to name a few.  All well written, all good information but reading a book doesn’t build a team any more than looking at blueprints can build a house.  You have to put good information to use.

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” –Patrick Lencioni

What does Wikipedia (found on my google machine) say about a team?  A team is a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. Human teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Naresh Jain (2009) claims: Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond his or her limitations. Teams can be broken down into from a huge team or one big group of people, even if these smaller secondary teams are temporary.”

A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.

Some see “team” as a four-letter word, overused and under-useful. Others see it as a panacea that finally realizes the human-relations movement’s desire to integrate what that movement perceives as best for workers and as best for managers.  While performance is an important outcome, a truly effective team will contribute to the personal well-being and adaptive growth of its members.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie

So how is your Team?

I noticed a few things while watching the NBA playoffs over the past few days.  The teams that played well together and executed the plan of the head coach won even if the analysts said they would lose. Great head coaches gave credit to their team when they won and took the blame for preparation if they lost.  Head coaches challenged players, were completely engaged in the action, took advantage of coaching moments and met with their team before the game (pre-shift), halftime (shift change) and after (post shift) to discuss the game plan.  Side note: Every single player was in the correct and complete uniform.

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”–Vince Lombardi

Everything rises and falls on LEADERSHIP, but it takes a TEAM to pull off a great restaurant operation. This I know for sure…. I can’t do it myself, you can’t do it yourself. It takes a TEAM.  Together  Everyone  Achieves  More.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” –Henry Ford

It wasn’t quite enough for the Wildcats in this contest, but the STRIVE was evident and worth it.  Heads held high.  We performed our best.

But hay, there’s a horse race tomorrow (see what I did there), one horse will win, one jockey will be credited, and one trainer will be in the spotlight but it will be the TEAM behind them “striving” that made the difference.