When you think about sports, it is easy to list several characteristics of a team. Players have strengths in their areas of expertise. Teams have a potential to accomplish what individuals cannot – potential to score, potential to defend, potential to gain support. The coach and owners have a plan to develop a strong team. Each team has plays – strategies for winning, working together, combining strengths, overcoming a disadvantage, and coming from behind. Teams go to practice so they can make mistakes when it doesn’t count, monitor their progress, and demonstrate knowledge and confidence. Lastly, we come to the dreaded “p” word – politics. New team members are expected to be honest and trustworthy, not political. Politics cannot exist in a strong team. It causes corruption and conflict within and erodes trust between team members and trust between the team and the coach.
Compare these characteristics to a business team – executives, middle management or line supervision. Players (team members) have strengths in their areas of expertise. They have the potential to accomplish what individuals cannot – potential to score (create results), potential to defend, potential to gain support. That is where common elements stop. Business team have plays (budgets, long-term plans, etc.) for winning but may not work together, combine strengths, or know how to overcome a disadvantage. They seldom practice anything, so many mistakes are made when it does count. When it comes to politics, team members may be expected to “play” to the detriment of other team members. Would a team like this be able to win in sports? Probably not, because they don’t have the mindset of a team, only the titles.