It is that time of the year when, for the sports enthusiast, particularly the basketball and baseball fan, excitement, drama and anticipation is in the air. NCAA basketball is about to play the final four to crown a champion, and Major League Baseball is getting ready for opening day. Only a team that has been effective has made it to the final four, and only an effective team will endure a long Major League season to make it to the playoffs in the fall. What makes an effective team? Why do certain teams succeed and what are some lessons for business? An effective team will always have the following.
- An Effective Leader– No team will rise above its leader. An effective leader will be very clear in three areas. First, an effective leader will set the standard of excellence in personal example. Second, an effective leader will evaluate, recruit, and select the team and place them in the correct positions. Third, the leader will define winning, make sure winning is measured continually, and hold each team member accountable for results.
- Talent– No team either in sports or business can win consistently without talent. A big part of a leader’s job is to select the team and that is becoming harder. According to recent trends, as baby boomers retire, finding qualified, skilled labor is becoming a major challenge. There must not be any slack in seeking, recruiting, and training talented individuals. Whatever time and expense is necessary must be performed in this crucial step.
- Constant Desire to be Better– While talent is crucial, talent alone is not enough. Beginning with the leader, a constant desire by every team member to improve is absolutely essential. “It is a fact: you play at the level at which you practice. Consistently good practice leads to consistently good play. It sharpens your talent. Successful people understand this. They value practice and develop the discipline to do it. If you could sum up what lifts most successful individuals above the crowd, you could do it with four little words: a little bit more (Maxwell, p.103).”
*Maxwell, John C., (2007), Talent Is Never Enough