“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
― Michael Jordan tweet this!
My eldest daughter Kylie is a really big volleyball fan and she’s been bugging us for a couple of days already on getting her a ticket to watch the championship game between the top women’s volleyball teams who both represent the top universities here in the Philippines.
My wife and I talked about it and since Kylie’s grades improved a lot this past quarter, we decided to give in to her request as a reward for her great efforts.
The initial plan was for me to go with her and to only get two tickets but Keon and Shae also wanted to come so seeing as they all have good grades, we just made it a family affair. My mom even joined us last-minute.
It’s been a while since I last watched a live sports event. The last time I saw one was I think more than five years ago and it was a basketball game that wasn’t even a championship so when we got to the arena, the atmosphere was quite different.
Both teams came with their bands and pep squad which made the environment more festive. Several celebrities were spotted and shown on the giant screen that hanged on the ceiling (which drew cheers from the crowd every time), and the venue was jam-packed to the rafters with the two schools’ avid fans coming in to their alma mater’s trademark color.
The game itself, didn’t fall short on expectation as each team gave it all they had to win but just like any other competition, only one will be declared winner. The team who won (which I was rooting for, wink, wink) came out on top as expected having swept the entire season 16 to 0. It was too bad for the opposing team to have reached the championship and face a powerhouse team without two of their stars who they lost to injuries but they didn’t go out easily. They gave the champions a tough time too but in the end, they were just too powerful and talented to defeat.
More than the festivities and the spectacle, what I noticed about the team that won the championship was their teamwork. While it’s true that they had a lot of talented players on their roster (including the season MVP who was on beast mode), in the end it was teamwork that made all the difference.
It’s the same thing when it comes to our daily lives. We are all part of a team and it doesn’t matter if it’s the team we belong to at work, our friends, our families, or even our marriages, I found that the same principles apply every time.
1. Communication is key
In yesterday’s game, the crowd and the band were very loud, I can hardly hear a word from my wife or kids when they were trying to tell me something and I can’t help but imagine how difficult if may be for the players to talk to each other in this kind of environment. It mustn’t be easy to set up their plays or execute their strategy when you can barely understand each other.
So what do they do? The teams huddled a lot in the middle of the court to have a quick talk from time-to-time. They’re also so used to each other that just a simple eye contact or hand gesture, everyone knows what to do already. And if words are really necessary, they shout out instructions to one another.
Great teams have good communication among its members. Communication is so crucial that sometimes, the smallest miscommunication can cause a team to fail big.
This is the reason we have regular team meetings at work because this is where we learn from each other’s perspectives, where we realize what we may be doing right and what we’ve done wrong, This is where we learn about new information from management.
In my first job, we used to have this pre-shift meetings where we learn about the latest updates on our function and basically, to know who will handle which assignment and this practice definitely brought great results.
2. Everyone knows their respective roles
One of the things that impressed me yesterday also was the way everyone knew their roles in the team. They didn’t try to outshine one another. Instead, they did their roles. The setter did what she was assigned to do which was to set up the spikers who usually gets the spotlight especially when the team gains a point from one of their powerful spikes.
For a team to work and be successful, each member should know what they were intended to do and not try to steal the spotlight from his teammate for the purpose of personal achievement.
I’ve been through several companies in my fifteen-year career and unfortunately, there’s always this one person who will try to steal other people’s thunder. These people are opportunists, quietly waiting for others to commit a mistake and at the right time, strike and get all the credit all to themselves.
When you’re in a team, you should share what you know to help everyone do their function and not keep to yourself and when the right time comes, come out with it and get all the glory.
You are not in a competition against your teammates. You work with them. That’s why there’s no “I” in the word teamwork as cliché as that may sound.
3. No one gets to blame someone
Another thing that impressed me was how everyone in the team owned up to their mistakes. Superstar or not, no one blamed another which was absolutely brilliant.
As a team, everyone is equally responsible for its success and failure which is why blaming others is not allowed when you are part of a team. One member’s mistake is everybody’s mistake. You all suffer the consequences of one’s inaction and the glory of one’s action.
One of the things that causes a crack in marriages is when one starts to blame his or her spouse.
“Our marriage failed because of this, our marriage is in chaos because of that…”
It all starts with simple blames until the whole thing blows and you wake up one day and your marriage is over. Husband and wife are both responsible for a marriage’s success or failure, the same way that members of a team are responsible for theirs.
You can’t start pointing fingers when the team experience failure because you are equally responsible for that failure much like your teammates are.
4. Celebrate each other’s milestones
Another thing I observed in yesterday’s game was that every time someone scores a point, the whole team celebrates with her. They were all very happy and they always had a big hug after. When the finals MVP was announced and it wasn’t the season MVP who won it, both girls celebrated with one another still.
There’s no room for jealousy when you are part of a team. While there may be people who stand out with consistently good performance, as a teammate, you should be there to celebrate their achievements and continue to support them instead of trying to outdo them and continue sour-graping in one corner. Instead of being jealous and trying to bring them down, build your own path to success by drawing inspiration from their achievements. When someone gets promoted or appreciated, be happy for them.
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of working with someone before who was full of insecurities. He babbled when someone gets appreciated over him and spreads nasty rumors about the other person. He insinuated that the other person was promoted not because of performance but because of his close relationship with the boss and that it was unfair to everyone when he was the only one complaining and everyone was satisfied with the decision.
Teamwork takes more than talent and skill. It requires the ability of a person to work closely with other people to meet a common goal and it’s not as easy as it looks for a team to actually have teamwork because of the uniqueness of each person comprising that team but once everyone comes to a common mindset and motivation, it’s magic!
Over to You
Do you work well in a team setup? Have you been part of a team that had great teamwork and chemistry?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below or share your story. I would appreciate that a lot!
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