Get on the same tracks, climb aboard the train, get on the same path. It’s what we’ve all been working towards with our teams. If we’re going to the same place then we can be united, right? But as I sat in a cab in New York City this afternoon, on a one-way road, I realized that the same direction isn’t enough. As other cabs, bicycles, pedestrians and drivers navigated the same road at different speeds and with different characteristics, each one was trying to focus on their own journey. Every time there was a pot hole or obstruction they almost collided with each other. These different vehicles had a common destination, point A to point B, but everyone was in it for themselves.
Teams can be riding towards a common goal, perhaps a championship game, a milestone, a record something or other. But if each person has their own best interest out in front, the team will still be tripping over each other, crashing around obstacles, and colliding as they make their journey. Getting on the same road is a start, but your team can still crash and burn.
How can you make sure your team is sharing the journey, using each other’s abilities as strengths, and avoiding collisions? You can’t just have a common goal. You can’t just name the road and go as fast and hard as you can. Your team must be on a mission together. Every Day. Every Practice. With Intention.
- Build a TEAM first mentality. Everyone loves stats, but consider focusing on team stats as a whole and trying together to bring up weak spots or celebrate strengths.
- Make decisions as a team. Our team either wears their cold gear as a team to match or no one wears it. A small, seemingly worthless decision, but they are learning to compromise, do things for the team as a whole and not always put themselves first.
- Encourage a giving, thankful, environment that openly praises, lifts up, and celebrates each other. Awkward as it may feel at first, this atmosphere usually builds upon itself easily as soon as it becomes an accepted practice.
- Never leave a player behind. It may feel easier to write off that player that isn’t pulling their weight, but for the good of the team and the benefit of valuing every player, go back and run that player to the finish line, challenge them to step up, pair them up for more instruction. Get them back on track.
- Make sure players know their roles so they aren’t colliding and tripping over each other. Competition is ok, that’s why we have passing lanes. But cutting each other off and slamming into each other’s roles isn’t going to end well. What’s your role, what’s the path to changing or improving that role? How can you assist those around you? How can you all get safely to the destination and celebrate reaching that goal at the end? Can you all see the vision clearly?
Don’t just get on the same road with your teammates, avoid the collision and get on a mission!