Teamwork Difference-Making Tips from Little League, Marvel and Town Hall

People can make the difference in business.

That means the level of success is often impacted by how management treats its workforce and how well colleagues jell together as a cohesive team.

At the same time, success doesn’t happen without core components such as products, supply chains, strategy and marketing plans. For the best long-term success, people, products and systems need to be clicking on all cylinders.

As summer 2018 comes to an end, let’s focus on the people/teamwork variable for success. Here are three examples that recently caught my attention from the Little League World Series, Marvel and a Minnesota community civility project.


Little League World Series 

Credit: Little League (littleleague.org)

August is the time for the Little League World Series. These youth baseball games are televised on ESPN and ABC. Since the coaches are miked, we’re privy to many of their interactions with the players. What comes across time and again is their commitment to and nurturing of the players. After watching some of the games this month, here are a few observations. Consider the implications for the business world.

We. It’s always “we” and the role each individual can play to make the “we” more successful.

Active Leadership and Motivation. The coaches want to put the players in the best position to succeed – physically, mentally and emotionally. They are leading to help the players perform at their best. There’s lots of communication. This includes decisive guidance and direction such as how to pitch to this hitter or what defense to play. There’s also positive reinforcement. For instance, one coach could be heard encouraging his batter by saying “We love you Bruce.” Okay, you’re not going to say that in the office. However, you can make business appropriate comments and take actions to clearly demonstrate you value and need the important contributions from the members of your team.

Serious Fun. Make no mistake, the coaches and players want to win. Badly. At the same time, the coaches encourage their players to have fun, and it’s obvious they do! There is a correlation between passion, fun, interest, skill and success.

Behaving the Right Way. Sportsmanship is still alive. The end-of-game handshake line between players and coaches is a marvelous tradition and lesson to all of us.


Marvel

Credit: Marvel

In order for people to make a difference, the business has to want that and create a culture in which it can happen. Take Marvel and the team responsible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In a recent interview, Marvel Entertainment’s president, Kevin Feige, talked about the benefits of collaboration and obtaining new ideas.

Ownership: “I love the notion that everybody playing in this Marvel Studios sandbox feels an ownership and feels excited to be a part of it – none more so than myself.”

Make it Better. “You’ll have a visual effects producer for a visual effects company go, ‘Hey, you know, you asked for this but there’s an idea to maybe tweak it a little bit. And then you get something that is a thousand times better. And it’s great and goes in the movie.”


Town Hall Civility

Citizens in Duluth, Minnesota came together and created a structure to improve and enable civil discussion of tough topics. The goal is not to end discussion or force consensus. Rather, it’s a way to “improve communication by reminding ourselves of the basic principles of respect.”

Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project is a project of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. They’ve outlined nine tools, which are just as relevant in the corporate office as the local town hall.

Pay Attention. Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.

Listen. Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.

Be Inclusive. Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community.

Don’t Gossip. And don’t accept when others choose to do so.

Show Respect. Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of disagreement.

Be Agreeable. Look for opportunities to agree; don’t contradict just to do so.

Apologize. Be sincere and repair damaged relationships.

Give Constructive Criticism. When disagreeing, stick to the issues and don’t make a personal attack.

Take Responsibility. Don’t shift responsibility and blame onto others; share disagreements publicly.

A hat-tip to The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib for writing about this initiative.


Harvey Chimoff is a versatile marketing and business team leader who believes good marketing sells. Contact him at StratGo Marketing, a plug-in marketing department resource for company leaders.

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