Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Sporting Approach to Teams

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Dr Ric Charlesworth (Olympic athlete and coach in hockey, successful State cricketer and former Federal politician) has developed a 5 step formula for building teams. His notion involves developing a resilient team capable of handling any threat from any foebecause ithas a margin of error with which to overcome the vagaries of competition at the highest level. Successful team membership depends on

. Quality (values, people and practices) ‐ time needs to be spent selecting those values that are fundamental, ie core values of the organisation/team that underpins how they conduct their business. Furthermore, to be able to identify and choose quality people, you need to know them before their selection is confirmed

. Teamworkyou have to work at it; it involves tolerance, sharing, selfishness and thinking about others that are not natural inclinations. Skill is required to balance the sometimes contradictory set of values, such as individual competitive zeal and team goals

. Training ‐ excellence is not an act, it is a habit. There is much uncertainty and turbulence so that what happens next is unknown. Training needs to involve practising with over-loading of information and decision-making, and with complexity so that the team members can handle a plethora of information and make decisions in adverse environments, such as under strong competition and fatigue

. Resilience ‐ spring back into action. After being adversely impacted by some outside forces, team members need the capacity to put things in perspective after adversity. Furthermore, being able to "move on"is important.

. Depth and flexibility ‐ many uncontrollable variables deliver constant change. Team members need to know how to handle unfamiliar positions and be multi-skilled

Many teams at the pinnacle of their success become complacent, ie relax and enjoy the experience and praise. Vigilance and a strategy to stay on top are important and need to be developed. Charlesworth has developed 5 principles for remaining at the top

1 Continue with the core principles, ie never forget what made you successful

2 Redefine challenges, ie challenges once met are no longer challenges; need to be challenged with new tasks, new demands and new requests

3 Refresh the team, ie introduce new talent and new faces

4 Avoid recycling, ie be prepared to challenge successful strategies, methods, etc

5 Face your foes, ie it is never somebody else's turn to win and be careful of false expectations

(source: John Lyons 2002b)


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