This weekend I watched a couple of NFL games and viewed a couple of movie promos in between plays. The theme of all of these was a “team like family.” When I started my business 30 years ago, we interviewed each participant before we did their workshop. In many cases, they were college athletes.
At the end of the interview we asked this question; “What do you want from being on this team?” Almost to the person the response was the same. “I want to be on a team that wins and is like family.” At first, I was concerned because I knew that many of them had bad experiences growing up.
In the workshop we facilitated it became clear what they were talking about. Their picture of family was an ideal. You know, like “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It To Beaver.” For those of you too young to know, these old TV shows depicted families that had problems from time to time that got worked out in 60 minutes and left everyone happy and loving each other. They wanted the same environment for their team.
Like teams, family members are different people with different views of the world they live in.They may have single parents, multiple siblings, no siblings, aunts, uncles and, of course grandparents, or not. They may have step sisters or step brothers and were born close together or far apart.
Children view themselves as poor or not. They fight with their siblings or not. They resist their parents or just go along for the ride. A six-year-old sees an event that happened, very differently than a twelve-year-old brother or sister. That’s if they even remember it.
If you want your family or team to work, you need alignment on the basic operating principles and commitments of the group. These are always considered over the views of an individual. The individual’s view is considered, but when all is said and done, the decision is made as to what is best for the team by the person accountable for the team’s performance.
Teams and families are not democracies. The Coach, Parent or Executive is accountable. Each player is responsible for keeping the principles. Any upsets or problems are worked out in conversation. Each participant is treated with respect. Teams that operate like families need to work at it. They need to pay attention to each other and support them in keeping their commitments and honoring the team principals no matter what.
Check out the Coaching Bookstore for more information on teams and opportunities to build a champion