What Makes Your Team Work? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

September 10, 2015

I had another one of those a-ha moments last Friday night that compelled me to email myself at work so I’d be sure not forget my groundbreaking thought. When I arrived at the office the following weekday, this is the message that was waiting for me: “Football is a lot like teamwork.”

I had to laugh out loud. Of course it’s like teamwork. Organized sports are what gave us the concept of team collaboration in the workplace. Duh. Seriously, duh. I told Kaleigh about it and she laughed, too. But, we both concluded that there is still an important point here, despite the lack of ingenuity in my statement...nfl-football

So, what was it that made me feel so inspired in that moment? Well, I was watching football at the time. And, in part, I guess I was remembering what I wrote a few weeks ago about being in awe of what others contribute. Listening to the players’ interviews and the way they talk about their fellow teammates, I really got a glimpse of what it means to think in a team-oriented way. These guys know they’re talented, but they also know there would be no game without the other 10 players on the field (or their opponents for that matter). It would just be one dude running around, looking pretty silly.

I also don’t really have a firm grasp on both the game rules and what certain individuals’ primary responsibilities are. So, I ask a lot of questions. Why is he over there? Why did that happen? What happens if he is out for the entire season? Why is that guy not wearing a cup?!

Every action and event in a game creates the outcome. And, every player. It’s easy to remember when we’re watching a sports match that this is true, but not so easy when we’re at work, in our own little world of self importance. And, so it bears repeating, I believe. Football really is a lot like teamwork. Or, I suppose: teamwork is a lot like football. As Andrew Carnegie once said,

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”


Though the pre-games have been going on for a couple of weeks, the official start of the 2015 NFL season is today, September 10. If you’re a fan, while you’re watching consider this about your own team in the workplace:

  • What are my teammates’ roles and what makes them indispensable to our company?
  • How are our relationships symbiotic and what results do we see when we coordinate our efforts?
  • What happens when I try to work alone instead of reaching out to others for help or collaboration?
  • How can I support my teammates in times of success and failure—and acknowledge that those moments affect the whole, not just the individual?

How will you answer these questions, and what will change about your future interactions? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville's Senior Content Writer. She's here to tell you everything she's learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She's wordy like that!

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