Often, famous coaches have given talks on this and related issues in large companies, I don´t know if those talks, beyond being attractive by the personality and reputation of the speakers, have had any practical effect on these organizations. However, the soccer world cup, just show us the importance of the team again. Many great figures played just three games, I mean players from Spain, Italy, Portugal and England, among others. In other cases, more games were played but ended humiliated, as was the case of Brazil’s players. In return, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica, without too many stars, ended ovation upon return to their countries, having shown a strong team spirit.
And the final match…. was played by two teams proposing teamwork as a core strategy and, in turn, having several figures. Perhaps this combination could explain they reached the final match.
But what has this to do with a company’s. If we analyze the essence of the team found that it is a set of people with different and complementary expertise guided by their leader moving towards a shared goal. Let’s compare sport teams with teams in the company, based on these three issues.
In the football team each has a place depending on their ability and experience in that position and also is trained to make it better; is very easy to accept that the situation is identical in the company, acquired skills allow a person to take one position or another and subsequent training will strengthen and expand their knowledge.
The coach sets the strategy to play and talk with his team to explain the idea and convince them that this is the best alternative. Besides that, corrects deviations remarking differences between actual play and the original idea. If someone is tired or injured, the coach will send someone for help or replace at any given time. In the company, leader will take this role and will seek consensus as much as possible so that the work done with conviction and, in turn, will oversee the task and correct deviations if necessary. He can also define replacements, on vacation, illness or other circumstances. So far no major differences are observed between sports and companies.
Probably the greatest challenge and perhaps the most important reason why these talks have had little real application is the concept of shared goal, fundamental for the team. In sports the goal is to win and it’s easy to think that everyone agrees and therefore is common. But, what is a shared goal for the team in the firm? What means to win or what is equivalent to win in the company? This is the key question where all comparisons may weaken. If winning is to do things well or very well and get the best economic results, is this a shared goal or just the primary concern to shareholders, owners and senior managers? Is it basically to maintain the employ? In this case the work is more like a lesser evil than a genuine goal; Is it just the satisfaction of having done a good job? If we are talking only of intrinsic sense, in that case, we would be arriving only to a few people who respond to this type of motivation. In short, “generate” genuine shared goals, will be the great challenge of the team in the company. Unfortunately, there seems to be no prescriptions to do it, but if we look at cases where the teams seem to work well, we´ll find that the style of leadership, the interpersonal communications and a genuine recognition seem to be, at least, factors to consider.
I conclude by saying that senior managers and business owners, beyond listen the nice speech of a successful coach, will have to start thinking more generously, how they can develop true shared objectives that, in addition to obtaining good economic performance, contribute to improving the quality of life for all members of the organization and make their contribution to society as a whole. If they decide to “invest” this way, they may be surprised by the results that can be achieved.