Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Sporting Teams

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Sometimes it is suggested that the concept of sports teams is applicable to organisations. There are some similarities and differences

Some similarities include

. Continuous search for ways to out-perform competition

. Each player understands and is committed to his/her role, believing that each individual will benefit from the team's performance

. Money alone will not get the best out of a team - they need to be trained and nurtured

In fact, teams in organisations can learn from sporting teams' thinking towards motivation, desire to succeed and highly-practised forms of co-operation and teamwork

Some differences include

. Sport is very public and transparent with feedback being instantaneous as spectators are observing performance as it happens, ie the team knows how they are going and everybody around them knows how they are going in "real time".

. Sport has a weekly score board that does not show you the how and why, but it tells you the outcome (including immediate feedback). In business, the "spectators"(other stakeholders) are informed of the team's performance less frequently

. Business has less frequent and precise measurement than sport. In business, it is possible to make profits and grow without being the best. Furthermore, it is possible to be comfortable in the middle of the pack. However, sporting teams are not deemed successful without winning the premiership, gold medal for championship, etc

. Sporting teams spend most of their time practising/rehearsing, not performing

. Most sporting team members are volunteers (they want to be there); they typically bring exceptional levels of skill; they perform a very limited range of tasks repetitively; most of the activities are very exciting; they rely upon tremendous motivation and drive

(sources: John Lyons 2002 a&b; Harry Onsman, 2004d)


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