10 Ways Winning Organizational Teams Are Like Winning Athletic Teams


Successful organizational teams have a lot in common with successful athletic teams. Here are 10 traits of winning teams.

I live in basketball country. This area specializes in horses, bourbon and basketball. But, during a few months of the year, basketball seems to trump everything.

As a Baptist pastor, if I’m going to embrace the community, I had to embrace what the people love. So, of the three — I’ve chosen basketball.

(And, all God’s people said?)

(Seriously, though, everyone should take a ride through the horse farms of the bluegrass area and the science behind making bourbon alone is worth touring a distillery.)

Watching the University of Kentucky men and women’s basketball teams, however, always inspires some great thoughts for me on leadership.

It takes good leadership to coach a team well. And, we see good coaching around here. I’ve observed some great leadership principles watching these teams.

The win for me is that organizational teams that win — even church staffs — have a lot in common with athletic teams that win.

Here are 10 traits of winning teams:

  1. The coach cares personally about the players.
  2. All players understand and believe in the team strategy.
  3. Dreams of big wins are a part of the culture. Everyone cheers for them in anticipation.
  4. When it’s a player's turn they’re ready. And, likewise, they are equally supportive when it’s someone else’s turn to shoot. They share the load and are always willing to jump in the game.
  5. Risky plays are encouraged. Stupid plays are not.
  6. There is a common vision. The entire team agrees on not only what a win looks like, but what it takes to get one.
  7. There is ample team spirit is prevalent. Everyone participates in building momentum.
  8. Losses are evaluated and used to learn how to improve for the next game.
  9. Wins are celebrated. Wildly.
  10. The team restructures when needed to meet the current competition.

Follow my analogy? Leader, how could these athletic team traits impact your team?

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