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. Continue reading

Surprise Performance: Kids Movie Characters Teach Adults How to Thrive at Work

What possible business insights can we glean from children’s movie characters Dusty Crophopper, Skipper, Classified and SpongeBob?

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

Being an uncle to young boys, I’ve seen The SpongeBob Movie, Penguins of Madagascar and Planes: Fire & Rescue in the last six months.

While these movies aim to entertain (and make a profit – SpongeBob was number one last weekend), they are also embedded with social lesson skills for young children, especially group dynamics.  And, if you think about it, those same dynamics translate to important business organization themes that can either fuel success or cause dysfunction.

In each of the three movies, the main characters have to navigate situations and challenges that teach the critical importance of the following:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Dealing with Change
  • Organization Alignment
  • Positioning Employees for Success
Dusty Crophopper - Planes: Fire & Rescue. Credit: http://movies.disney.com/planes-fire-and-rescue

Dusty Crophopper – Planes: Fire & Rescue. Credit: http://movies.disney.com/planes-fire-and-rescue

In Planes: Fire & Rescue, main character and flying ace Dusty Crophopper has to cope with the challenge of joining a new company and adapting to a different job. At first, he’s a cocky, hot-shot.  He has trouble performing due to a lack of focus and unwillingness to get aligned with the objectives and needs of the team/organization.

Dusty grows with the help of wise, mentoring colleagues, and actual trial by fire. He learns to understand his role, and how to contribute to and be part of a winning team.  He also understands that self-sacrifice is sometimes necessary for the team to win.

Skipper - Penguins of Madagascar. Credit: http://madagascar.dreamworks.com

Skipper – Penguins of Madagascar. Credit: http://madagascar.dreamworks.com

In Penguins of Madagascar, we get a variety of lessons about leader evolution, encouraging initiative at all levels,  and knowing when to ask for help.

Continue reading

A Mindset for Success: “We Have Enough to Win”

I was hoping not to write this post.

You see, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night in the NBA playoffs.  Had the team I was rooting for won, I wasn’t going to write this.  Instead, there’s an extra impetus to highlight why even non-sports fans can take something away from the “corporate culture” instilled by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau has become well-known in NBA circles for his leadership and coaching philosophy of “we have enough to win” and even his more pronounced “we have more than enough to win.”  It’s a refusing-to-blame-injuries-and illness belief system he’s had to put to good use since the team’s best player Derrick Rose tore up his knee in last year’s playoffs (still hasn’t returned to action); and throughout this year’s season and now playoffs.

The Bulls beat the Nets on the road in seven games despite two starting players out with injury/illness for games 6 and 7 and several others playing with the flu (garbage pails were needed on the bench in game six for at least one player to umm, get sick in).  Chicago has a deep and talented team, but their depleted-roster victory can also be credited to the Nets’ poor performance.  Really, Chicago had no business winning the series.

But, this isn’t a sports story.

It’s a lesson about the power of team attitude, mindset and culture.

Check out this quote from Bulls player Jimmy Butler, courtesy of ESPNChicago.com:

“I think whenever you hear it enough each and every day, you start to buy into it.  Thibs [Coach Tom Thibodeau] is constantly saying that, we’re constantly saying that. And we know that we have enough to win because even though (our injured teammates) aren’t on the court with us, they’re with us spiritually. Whenever we come into that locker room, they’re saying things that they see from the TV. They’re always helping, just maybe not physically out there on the court with us.”

Let’s say your organization has to operate without your best competitive asset and a 40% budget reduction (analogous to the Bulls situation versus the Nets). Continue reading