March Madness & Team Work

Everywhere in life, we are surrounded by teams. Whether we are playing basketball on the courts or writing up a report at work, team members are always close by. With the Final Four rapidly approaching, we have seen many teams rise up to the occasion and thrive in the spotlight. We have seen an equal number of teams come into the tournament with high expectations, only to exit after the first round. What separates the winners from the losers, in this tournament and in life, is teamwork.

Team Goals

Basketball is a sport of synergy. The goal is to put together five different players, all with different roles, that can come together and focus towards one collective goal. Because every player on the court is acting as a specialist, it is the coach’s job to make sure there are no weak areas in the lineup for the opponents to exploit. Businesses run a similar type of model, only there are usually more than five players on a team. The managers would act as the coaches, attempting to get their teams to produce the best results.

The Coach’s Job

It is the managers’ job to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals working for them. In basketball, you wouldn’t substitute the center for the point guard. Just like in the working world, you wouldn’t make someone a receptionist who was not comfortable talking to people.

Head coach of Kentucky, John Calipari, writes in his bestselling book, “Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life”, “They knew we cared about them individually. I believe that gave them an even greater ability to care about each other – to be fully invested as teammates”. Coach Calipari shares this example to demonstrate how he builds success on his roster. By learning everyone intricately, understanding both their strengths and weaknesses, he can most effectively substitute them when the game is on the line.

When it comes to workplace morale and creating good team work, consider getting to know your team by understanding how they operate. What do they do best? Who would be the best fit if you had throw in a substitute?