Who are your teamwork role models? When I ask clients for examples of great teams, the responses invariably include sports teams. I have nothing against professional sports, but in organizational team building the sports analogy has limited use and meaning for these reasons:
* Your team members don’t get paid what professional athletes get paid.
* They don’t get to practice more than they play.
* Their game lasts more than three hours.
* The rules your team plays by are probably changing while the game is in progress.
Some good lessons can be learned from sports, but it isn’t enough to use (or overuse) sports teams as role models.
Start searching out non-sports role models. Keep a digital file of stories and articles about successful team approaches used by business, nonprofit organizations, the arts, sciences, and the public sector. After you’ve identified some role models, arrange to interview one, or bring him or her in to speak to your team.
The better and more diverse the role models you study, the better and more innovative the techniques you will learn and apply.
There are great examples and ideas in sports, but that’s far from the only place you will find them. Look more widely and dig more deeply for better role models.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com.