What football can teach us about teamwork

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Todd Hinson



Monday, January 28, 2019

With All the excitement about the Superbowl, it is a good time to step back and see what football teaches us about teamwork

There’s no “I” in team. Teamwork makes the dream work. Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.

There are plenty of sports-born motivators that also speak to growing a successful business. Regardless of whether you’re in the field or in the office, teamwork is key to ongoing, long-term success.

Football teams are a perfect example of how working together toward a goal can lead to success. From junior leagues to the NFL, players know personal achievement only takes you so far; success comes from working together while learning from and moving past mistakes.

The same holds true for businesses. For all but the very smallest organizations, teamwork is required for ongoing success. Most projects move from department to department, or at least between a few people. It is only by working together that the project can be successfully completed on time and on budget.

To continue the football analogy, a strong strategy is key to business success. With multiple players, it can be hard to avoid some fumbles. To help reduce business challenges, you can put some football tactics to use:

■ Build a game plan. A team works best with shared goals. Develop your business, sales and marketing plans and other goals for 2019 and share them with your entire team. With common objectives, you can ensure everyone knows their role and how it impacts the business.

■ Practice blocking. To stay focused on the game plan, especially projects that are lengthy, team members should block time on their calendars to focus on the long-term goals.

■ Encourage collaboration. Sharing the credit for a winning play is just as vital to team-building on the field as it is in business. Supporting the success of individuals can strengthen the team and encourage everyone to up their game.

■ Stay flexible. Sometimes even the best designed plans don’t work as intended. In football, 11 teammates have only seconds to go over what worked, what didn’t and prepare for the next play. Similarly, short meetings can help refocus the group and aid in redirection if a project ends or a plan fails.

■ Recognize the team. What importance do you give to the team on the success of your projects? Make sure to recognize both the team and individual successes that helped make the goal achievable.

Working together as a team toward a shared goal lightens the load for everyone involved and allows all involved to enjoy the success.

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi described teamwork best: “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Todd Hinson is co-owner of Allegra Design Marketing Print in Rocky Mount.