Collaboration: Part 1—Learning from Sports Teams
Collaboration may be
defined as “working with others toward a common goal.” Leaders will be
ineffective if they can’t to get their followers to collaborate or pull
together as a team. We have all observed and perhaps participated on
sports teams. Here are five things we can learn from them:
More talent on the
football players are better runners, some are better tacklers, some are
better passers or receivers, others are better blockers—and on the list
goes. The same is true for work teams. It takes planners, motivators,
intuitive thinkers, logical thinkers; and it takes those who can do the
“heavy lifting” and get the job done. Seldom is one person best at all
of these skills and the many other ones the team needs.
Back-up in case of
stumble, injury or a bad play.
When a lineman misses a tackle, a linebacker or defensive back helps
out. When the running back fumbles the ball, he hopes one of his own
linemen will recover it. When I was an executive, my deputy director,
executive officer and administrative assistant often caught my
mistakes. Even more, I remember times when people deep in the
organization helped me. Such is the culture of true collaboration.
eccentricities are tempered.
We all have eccentricities; our experiences, biases and personalities
make us unique individuals. This uniqueness often needs to be tempered
by those who see situations differently. Groups must value diversity in
its membership—a diversity that can temper the eccentricities of
Commitment is increased.
Team players play hard; they don’t want to let the team down. Injured
players will cheer the team from the sidelines. Sometimes, players
volunteer to play when they’re injured, if it will help the team. Sick
colleagues often work hard at home to make certain they don't let down
the organization. This is true teamwork.
Synergism is important.
The quarterback performs better with his top wide-receiver in the game
and his stellar offensive line blocking for him. The field goal kicker
is tops in the league because he has the right holder. Whether on the
athletic field or in an organization, when true collaboration is at
work, people bring out the best in each other.