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Team building lessons from group sports

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 16:22 IST

Individuals, who play in team-based sports, have their own charisma but ultimately their team’s success depends on the combined resources and efforts of players, coaches, administrative officials and media managers etc. Let us look at the lessons that can be drawn from such successful sport teams, which can be applied to professional corporate environment.

A good start
In a game, the team that creates an early lead/advantage is likely to put pressure to win. Achieving success in the initial stages builds trust and confidence.

In an organisation, if a person is required to work as part of a team, he should ensure that he starts with  identifiable and achievable objectives.

Individual managers must have clear objectives and work towards desired corporate goals.

Find time to practise
For a sports star, despite his past successes, each game is a fresh start. Being talented and experienced is not good enough; he has to spend hours practising and honing his skills.

This is where many professional managers have a lot to learn as they stop learning and rely solely on experience. They must take time from their tight work schedules to learn new ways of working more effectively and must constantly find new methods to strengthen team efforts.

Take intervals 
Regularly assess the work done by your team and take time to review and develop new strategies. Team players should not meet only when they have formal meetings but must have open communication channels to exchange ideas and strategies even in an informal environment.

Flexibility of roles
Players have to perform different roles and take responsibilities depending on the need of their teams. If managers know their roles and needs for flexibility, then decisions can be quickly taken, without passing through the links in a long hierarchical chain. Successful teams enable organisations to learn and retain the knowledge more effectively, because when a member leaves, the learning of the team is not lost.

Analyse your performance
In sports, these days, there is a lot of emphasis on analysing electronic footage to understand “What did we do well” and “What did we do poorly”. Managers must have open and respectful communication to review past and future steps.

Do not focus on the end result
A few years ago, the Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid was out of the Indian team for one-day matches. At that time, he had said, he needed to focus on his performance and not think about why he was not selected, as others decide selection. This is a good example for professional managers to follow.