Yesterday was the conclusion of the 2012 UEFA European Championships – now, if you’re an avid Conspire reader this post should come as no surprise. While spending most of my Sunday at the Old Pro Sports Bar in Palo Alto,California, I ended up getting involved in an argument with a good friend about why the Spaniards have been the preeminent team for the past four years. This victory marked the third consecutive international title for the Spanish, something no other team has ever managed to accomplish. After a heated argument, the one thing we both managed to agree upon was that team work wins championships.
Throughout the tournament the so called “pass masters” have been the subject of criticism. Yes, they are one of the best teams to play the sport, but is their style of play boring? I believe that this is where a lot of people miss the point. Being able to effectively pass requires communication and collaboration. This isn’t easy, and the Spaniards have only gotten better at this with time. Back when they first won Euro 2008, the team’s midfielders totaled an all-time high of 1,571 passes. Four years later the team completed 1,300 passes, again passing more than the other 12 teams in the tournament combined. The Spanish pass a lot, so what? To complete 89% of all your team’s passes doesn’t happen by chance. The Spanish have become communication and collaboration masters. This this win makes it painfully obvious that team work not only wins championships, but builds dynasties.
The same rule of thumb can be applied to the office. We all know that having a solid team is a critical cornerstone to achieve corporate goals. What makes a good team great is having the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate. It allows managers to spend less time being concerned with day-to-day running of their teams, and more time concerned with outlining initiatives that fit into the grander corporate vision. Much like sports, the key to strong team work is collaboration. Inside the office or on the field, communication and collaboration are always present in championship caliber teams. Whether it’s letting team mates know where help is on the field, or giving daily project status updates, collaboration and communication play a huge role in success. Achieving productive collaboration is not easy. Michael Jordan once said “there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Once your team achieves productive collaboration, you will see that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Increased collaboration leads to tighter groups, which fosters more open and fluid communication, which them helps spur further collaboration.
So next time you are talking with your team, take a page from one of the best teams to play the game of football. Pass the ball. Strive for better collaboration and communication. It not only wins titles, but also creates dynasties.