Growing up we often heard the saying, “There is no “I” in the word team”. Out of all the lessons that can be learned through sports, teamwork is the most important. Without a cohesive unit, whether that be in sports, on the battlefield, or in the office, you cannot succeed. Teamwork also goes hand-in-hand with knowing your roles and using those strengths to benefit the team as a whole. Of course, this starts with leadership and the ability to manage the team so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Often, individuals want all the glory and notoriety, but if they were willing to be part of the team, that individual would see more success than trying to take on the world on his own.
Being from Boston and a die-hard Celtics fan, teamwork and playing for each other is the successful ingredient for the best franchise in the NBA. The reason why this organization experienced success for three decades is because of the players who were willing to sacrifice their individual goals for team oriented goals. Dozens of former Celtics are now in the Hall of Fame due to their greatness and achievements, but without having the team-first mentality, these players wouldn’t have accomplished as much as they did had they decided to just pursue glory for themselves.
Coach Brad Stevens, whose coaching philosophies can easily be translated to the business world and any real life situation, teaches the importance of knowing your roles and doing your job to perfection. When you look at the roster, none of them are All-Stars, superstars, or would have been considered go-to guys throughout the game. They’re all role players, but without having a team mentality, they wouldn’t be in the playoffs and watching their hard work being paid off. Everybody knows their job and never plays outside that role. They’ve bought into a system, a system that allows each individual player to play at their very best.
This group of players are just hard workers who every night give it their best, but it’s because they’re playing for each other and not themselves. This is what teamwork is. In an office setting, not allowing an employee to work at their best, or giving them undefined roles within the company is how they fail to succeed and thrive. Sales, marketing, finance, HR, and accounting should be considered as a team. No one is more important than the other, and with that mentality your employees will work with confidence and a positive attitude, because they know they offer value to the company as a whole.
That’s a team. Businesses shouldn’t segregate divisions and departments and put them in a pyramid chart. Your company is an organization, a group of employees who come to work everyday to benefit the company as a whole. The lack of teamwork, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging is why employees don’t care about their jobs, and just work for the paycheck. By putting these people in the right position to succeed, and creating a teamwork environment is how your employees will come to work because they want to, not because they have to.
Sports can teach us a lot. Why are their 16 playoff teams and 14 lottery draft competitors? Because 16 organizations know the value of teamwork and putting players in a position to succeed. The bottom seeded teams aren’t “lucky” to get in to the postseason, they deserve to be there.
The Celtics aren’t the most talented group of players, but by putting the team first and going to war every night with their brothers in arms, they feel invincible and show no fear. Great managers and coaches can unleash the best in their team members, and the ones that don’t are on a golf course for the offseason, or have disgruntled employees who don’t care about the company and are contacting head hunters to find other job openings. Create a positive team culture, and rest assured, you won’t be losing your best employees.