We are ready for the biggest annual football game in the United States- the Super Bowl. Food and drinks of all crazy varieties will be served and people will gather to cheer for their favorite team. Everyone seems to have special gear to wear like tee shirts and hats that bear the name of their favorite team. Additionally, the over-the-top advertisements will be analyzed and spoken about for weeks to come. It’s kind of like a national holiday except it’s just another sports game. Or is it really something more profound than we give it credit for?
The Super Bowl is actually all about teams and teamwork. We may view it as entertainment and a fun time for us to socialize with our friends and family. But at the heart of this important game is the power of the team. The team that takes home the prize is the one that performed the strongest teamwork strategies.
Here are five Super Bowl Strategies for our work teams:
1. RECOGNIZE AND PLAY TO EACH MEMBER’S STRENGTH
In football, each player brings their unique talents to the team. No one player should feel superior but rather understand how different backgrounds and strengths add up to a high performing team. The same thinking should happen in our workplaces. Identify the skills and knowledge each team member excels at and include their expertise in projects and assignments. Everyone wants to feel they are making a contribution to the final deliverable.
2. CREATE A GAME PLAN THAT INCLUDES EVERYONE
When the Super Bowl teams prepare for their big game they make sure to understand how the opposing team typically plays and decides jointly how to overcome the opponent’s challenges. They do this by explaining to the entire team their game plan. No player is left out of knowing the strategy because each member is important to the team’s success. In our work teams:
- Meet with the team members to discuss goals and strategies
- Make sure to ask for input from others
- Be honest about the workload challenges
- Allow team member concerns to be voiced
3. EMPOWER EACH TEAM MEMBER TO LEAD
Whatever their position on the team, players at the Super Bowl take turns leading. No one player is always running with the bowl or tackling. They are empowered to make certain moves at just the right time. In our workplaces we also need to empower each person on our team to step up and lead when they are needed. Leadership should never fall on one person’s shoulders all the time.
4. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AND WITH PURPOSE
To be a well-oiled team it is critical to have impactful communication. At the Super Bowl all the players know the verbal and non-verbal communication strategies. They understand the purpose of each play and what needs to be communicated to make it happen. On our teams in our work worlds we need to communicate with:
- Clear and direct information
- Active listening by not interrupting
- Positive and non-judgmental language
- Appropriate facial expressions, body language and hand gestures
5. LEARN FROM MISTAKES AND MISSTEPS
After every Super Bowl the teams gather and analyze which plays worked and which ones they were not able to achieve. This reflective process is critical to making changes and understanding defeats. A high performing team is able to see their mistakes and failures and strategize ways to overcome them in future situations. We do the same thing at work as we try to see where we fell short and how to revamp our actions for a better outcome.
What Super Bowl strategies have you brought to your team?