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Building Performimg Teams in Business

As I watched Germany thrash Brazil out of the World Cup, I was so pained. I am not a serious football/soccer fan. However, I follow the events. I know the highlights. I watch the goals during replay. I would normally not be able to sit through a 90 minute match. I just cannot handle it. I sat back and asked myself what the problem was. After all, they made it to this point-the quarter finals, how could they perform so woefully?Then I saw all the lessons that business owners could learn from this event.

Soccer like business at the world cup level is a serious thing. If you must partake of it, then you must approach it with a sense of seriousness and not as a gamble. Your business is as strong as the team members who run it. Brazil must have learnt that by now. I had heard that Neymar was injured in the last game but I was not bothered. It would be eleven players on the field. Surely they could handle his absence. I was so sure that would not matter. This is Brazil we were talking about. But alas, his absence mattered, so much so, that they lost in such a humiliating way.

That is exactly what happens when business is run by one man. He knows the customers. He keeps the books. He handles all admin matters. Simply because he owns the business. Is that how you run your business? You will end up like Brazil, a loser.

Performing teams have the following attributes:

1.They are be built around systems with structures that hold them together. These systems ensure there is no special person. Everyone has an important role to play for business to succeed. They all know their roles and have the skills to perform them with excellence. On the field of play for the match in question, it appeared that there was no Brazilian defense. They were so porous, the Germans simply had a party. The Germans noticed the gap and took maximum advantage. Every member of the team must understand their role and play it well for the team to perform.

2. Every team member must have someone who can stand in for him or her when indisposed. It could be an injury like Neymar’s or a transfer, or an assignment that takes him or her away for a while. The organization must have someone who can stand in for them. It is called succession. Most businesses collapse as soon as the owners are absent for whatever reason. Nothing happens when the boss is not around. Neymar’s absence was fatal for the Brazilian team. It should not have been so. That is a flaw on the coach’s part. there should have been a good alternative. He had obviously been getting away with it, but only as long as he did not meet a formidable opponent. The Germans, known as the German machines, came along along and that was all it took to tear them apart. A good team must always have alternative players.

3. They must see themselves as many-in-one. They must operate as a flawless machine. That is how the Germans played- accurate passes, proper synchrony and well spaced out on the field. Their black and red seemed to dominate the field. They were indeed a machine. They played together with a common goal and vision- to win the match.  They all saw themselves as part of a whole. No attempts for personal shining. So they all played. No one was hiding behind other players. The seven  goals were scored by five different players giving the impression that everyone was part of the game. There can be no single players in a team. Any organization that encourages that will ultimately suffer loss like Brazil.

4. Team members must have common vision, be intentional about achieving their vision and have the character to carry through. It requires patience, perseverance, discipline to stay on course and win. If there are team members who are not, they become the weak link as was the case for the Brazilian team. The Germans came on a mission. They were not cowered by the Brazilian crowd. They just went for it. Performing teams are mission minded. They never lose sight of what they are in business for. They keep at it until they win.

5. Performing teams members bond well. That came across very strong from the German team. The Brazilians even disagreed on the field before the entire world. I guess you can say they were under the pressure of the moment. However, if they were well bonded they would not have been under as much pressure. Well bonded teams achieve far more. They needed each other to get out of the mess they were in. Bonding is crucial for building oneness of purpose. Such teams always win.

Every business must be run by an effective team to succeed. There is nothing like a one man team. When it is only one man, then it is not a team. It is a sole player. Thinking of a sole player as a team and expecting similar results is ridiculous. Business owners must build teams. They could be small teams but still perform if they have the attributes listed above.  They will eventually grow into bigger teams.

How does your business look at the moment? What would happen to your business if you were to drop dead right now. Please don’t say ‘God forbid’. (that is a Nigerian thing) Answer the question. It could make all the difference. Build a strong team and you build a good profitable business that can perform on the long haul. That is what you want, isn’t isn’t it?

Chinwe Kalu

Value Creation Consultant

chinwe.kalu@cppl.com.ng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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