Friday, April 29, 2011

Commitment and Team: Not Just For The Locker Room

I've failed. 

Yes, I committed to updating this blog on a fairly regular basis, yet this is the first time in nearly three months that I've logged an entry.  So, yes ... my commitment has wavered a bit on this front.

I've failed many times, in fact.  I've also failed myself over the span of my career, learning all too often how much work I still have to do to reach my own potential.

However, this Friday afternoon, it's a time to celebrate.  It's been a particularly rewarding three months for me personally and professionally.  Bottom line: I'm having a blast, working with some of the best people in the industry and having a great time doing it.  But, I found that I had to re-commit myself and go back to the core of what I believe to be important.  What I feel is most important, is being a team player and making the team better overall.

I had lunch today with a colleague in the industry, and she and I talked about what it was like to be a part of an organization and team that you truly believe in.  We both sat there and felt really blessed to be where we were.  It's not complacency, mind you.  It was just a moment to look off that proverbial mountain and see where you are and say, "Wow ... thanks."

As a member of the #sportsbiz industry, we all work on teams, and many of us for teams.  We realize that we're part of a bigger structure that only succeeds at the highest level when we're working together.  What that requires is a commitment to the people around me.

Let me say by no means I have this figured out.  But the older I get, the more I am starting to see the value that certain relationships have in my own career and life.  These are bonds that will go long beyond work, but into our lives.  And it's not necessarily about having people you can call and hang out with on the weekends.  It's about people you can count on when it matters most.  I just wrapped up an experience like that.

I was fortunate to be a part of a team that I felt like was one of the strongest I have ever worked on.  Each of the players had been assigned a role in the project, and each of us played critical parts that led to a solid performance.  Now, it's to be determined how successful we ultimately are.  But this team, this day ... we were on.

There's also some people I work with that I also learn a lot from.  I see them interact on a daily basis, and they do a really great job of succeeding while working in a team environment.  But it's a commitment on their parts.  They choose to play up each others' strengths, minimize their weaknesses and all-in-all, put up with their individual eccentricities.  It's a great learning exercise for me. 

In closing, as you know, I'm big on lists.  So, fresh off this collaborative process and teamwork example, I'll give you five things to think about as you are a part of your team on a daily basis.  Just some thoughts to frame your considerations, but things I consider to be important in my own life.
  1. What's my role in this organization? Think of it like a play.  What's your casting?  What are others looking to you to achieve?  What are others counting on you for?
  2. What's my motivation in this process?  Why have I chosen to work hard, other than it's my job?  What's driving me?  (For me, this oftentimes is competitive spirit, but could be something else for you.  If you're in sales, it's likely commission.  If you're in creative, it's often a great product.)
  3. What can I do today for the team?  What value can I deliver to this process, this effort, this moment?  How can I really be of the utmost utility to my teammates?  What are the steps I can take to succeed?
  4. How can I help another team member?  Is there something I can do to help someone else in this process or project?  Can I build them up, and give them confidence? 
  5. What's our end goal?  What are we working to achieve together?  How can we work better together?  What's mission critical?
I find myself more and more coming back to: how can I help others?  Honestly, I need to do a lot more of it.  But I think that I'm finding an increasing amount of satisfaction in working as a part of a team, and building against a greater goal.  I know it's passe in some circles as we face a me-first social mentality, but I do believe in the common good.

How are you improving?  What steps are you taking to help others in your own life?  What does that mean for your career?  I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.  And as always, thanks for reading.