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There Is an "I" in Team

Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

– vince lombardi, won superbowl l and ll as coach of the green bay packers

Contrary to popular belief, there most certainly is a ‘I’ in ‘team.’ It is the same ‘I’ that appears three times in ‘responsibility.’

– amber harding, multi-media sports journalist

While I understand the motivation behind the saying “There’s no “I” in “team,” perhaps there should be an “I” in “team,” and plenty of them.

perhaps there should be an “I” in “team,” and plenty of them

Personal responsibility and a commitment to excellence is one of our team’s five core values. Our emphasis is on each individual within our team. Yet too often team members are guilty of hiding behind the team rather than fulfilling their individual responsibilities. For example, in soccer, if the team is not scoring we tend to place blame on our attacking players’ lack of ability to finish chances. However, the real problem could more accurately be linked to inadequate passing, poor defending, low team moral, inefficient communication, and/or low fitness levels. Every single person on the team, coaches and players, needs to be evaluated on the responsibilities in their area that if done better could lead to the team scoring more goals.

One of the ways we attempt to maintain a high level of engagement is through regular individual meetings. Although this requires a tremendous time investment, we get a wonderful return. Our players are motivated, focused, aware, committed, and responsive to our feedback because of the time spent in these individual meetings.

Of course team meetings (e.g., scouting reports, pregame reminders and postgame analysis, team building, goal setting, and film sessions) are a necessary part of what we do. However, in my experience a focus on the team alone often diminishes focused personal interactions. The biggest mistake coaches make is addressing the entire team too often and/or not addressing individuals often enough.

The biggest mistake coaches make is addressing the entire team too often and/or not addressing individuals often enough.

At SCU we try to manage every aspect of our team on three levels: team, group, and individual. Each meeting has its own merits and is necessary and effective. Smaller meetings work best. Most days, in fact, it’s the individual meetings where I feel as if I’m having the greatest impact on fulfilling my responsibility to bring our team to its full potential.

It's important to understand that although we are one team, we may have different personalities, come from different cultures and backgrounds, have different stresses, and have a variety of styles and philosophies. We need to be sensitive to these differences and factor them into our approach when working with our unique team members.

One on one time is invaluable because it sends a message that you value the other person. Each person becomes more comfortable with the communication process and more aware of the other person. Coaches leave with a better understanding of what motivates people and why.

Setting specific individual goals, that are in line with the team goals, increases accountability and sharpens focus. Most importantly, it helps focus on the areas each member feels they have the most control and it helps secure their future with the team.

As leaders in our community, managers in the corporate world, or co-workers in a neighborhood business, we have a chance to increase efficiency, have increased “buy-in,” more productivity, and be a part of a healthier and happier team if we take the time to also invest in each of the individuals on our various teams.

So maybe there really should be an “I” in team and plenty of them.

Community, Athletics
Santa Clara,teamwork,Illuminate

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