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How to Win

Team Culture

Let’s start with a trick question.

Does your team have a culture?

Remember, it’s a trick question. And the answer is yes.

Whether in sports, in business or even in your family, your group has a culture.

It may be weak or it may be strong, but it’s a culture.

It may be positive or it may be negative, but it’s a culture.

And, as this article on the Fast Company blog points out, culture eats strategy for breakfast. Culture beats rules, it beats x’s and o’s. Culture may be the most important aspect of your team.

“Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale,” said football legend Vince Lombardi.

Writes Shawn Parr on the Fast Company blog, “Culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that combined create either pleasure or pain, serious momentum or miserable stagnation.”

My friend and co-author Gary Pritchard devote a chapter to team culture in our book “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” We define it as “the way things are done around here.”

Parr lists the benefits that come from the right kind of culture: focus, motivation, connection, cohesion and spirit.

He also offers the following four tips for building a positive culture.

1. Dynamic and engaging leadership
2. Living values
3. Responsibility and accountability
4. Celebrating successes and failures (that’s right, celebrating failures as well as successes).

Any leader seeking peak performance from a group, or in real team-building, should check the culture.

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TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. To order a copy of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” click here.


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