I love college basketball and “March Madness.” It’s a great team sport. In the business world, we build teams for ongoing work as well as for special projects. In fact, I encourage you to build your team at work like a coach builds a basketball team:
- Point Guard – you need a leader on the court. He or she is the person who controls the tempo, sets up play calls and defenses and distributes the ball. At work, the leader forces the tempo with timelines and due dates. They set up “what” the team works on, provide resources and distribute the tasks.
- Shooting Guard – you’ve got to have the sharp shooter. At work, these are the players on your team who you know can deliver on the more challenging projects. They can work with the most challenging clients, develop new business, and build new systems. They are invaluable to your team.
- Rebounder/Defensive Stopper – these tend to be the unsung heroes who do the dirty work – play defense on the opponent’s best player and/or grab rebound and loose balls. These are the folks at work who can do the heavy lifting on analysis and don’t’ need to be in the spotlight. They are happy to do the valuable, necessary work to be part of a winning team. Too often we try to move these people up the ladder when in fact they are happy in their current role.
- Build a bench – as a leader, you need to always be developing people to take on other roles in case you lose one of your key players above to “injury” or promotion to the “league.” Identify people who you think have high potential and provide them with mentoring, coaching, training or other developmental resources to build your bench.
- Play to your strengths – as the “coach” you need to understand the individual strength of your team members and manipulate roles and tasks to get folks working on activities that utilize their strengths. This can make a significant difference in the performance of your team.
As you enjoy March Madness, think about how you can build a team to win it all and cut down the nets next year!
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