Working together to win Gold

Posted on Friday, July 21, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

Whilst reading, “Team GB’s Victorious hockey stars: ‘Our mantra was simple: Create History and Inspire the Future” during lunch one afternoon, I was surprised to discover what the stars of the winning team believed to be the determining factors of their success.


Despite being in a position, as the key players of the team which won gold at 2016 Olympics, to accept the credit themselves they praised the strength and performance of the team, coaches and conditioning programme. I know you’re thinking it wouldn’t be a display of sportsmanship if they had simply accepted the glory themselves but bear with me, some of the points raised were interesting.


Hollie Webb highlighted the impact of their coach, Danny Kerry, and his vision which focussed predominantly on breaking down the building blocks and identifying small ways of improving. The crux of it came down to marginal gains; never missing a training session, turning up and committing to the programme.


The very nature of being part of a team is that everyone works together towards a common goal and as I looked around the office mid article, I noticed not 12 desks filled with individual consultants but 12 teams working together towards one thing; being the best. That’s not to say that each of them are not strong enough to do it alone; quite the opposite. It becomes more about reflecting, understanding each person’s strengths and weaknesses and utilising these to your benefit.


Recruitment is perceived as potentially one of the most cut-throat individualistic career choices, and rightly so, it is a competitive market in which only the tough survive. Yet still, despite being tough, you are almost certainly going to come across someone with whom you clash, someone who doesn’t like the way in which you asked that one question on that one day and what better way to overcome the obstacles than to lean on a team, depend on a different voice who will get the message across. It is about working with a full set of complementary skills which are required to complete the task.


According to a piece of research on the effectiveness of teams; the cohesiveness of the team is directly correlated with their productivity. It is imperative for the team to 1) Operate within a high degree of interdependence, 2) share responsibility and authority and 3) be accountable for the collective team performance.


So within a matter of 3 bullet points it becomes clear that it is not only about working as a team but  working as a successful team; and the latter is not easy, for if it were; winning gold would be more about ‘luck of the draw’ than making marginal gains on your opponents.  Together they trained; together they won.


Working as part of a team is the reason I joined the company, but it isn’t all roses. You’re not always going to agree with the business decisions and choices made by the team in their striving for success but, according to Heather Humane, there are certain ways in which you can build a cohesive team and work together for the benefit of the individuals.


Establish the Mission: seems simple right? However, sometimes this is more ominous than it seems. We all want to succeed, we all want to be the best; but each individual might have a different opinion on what that is. It is important to define the mission.


Communicate Effectively: this is what I, and I hope I’m not the only one, struggle with the most. It is not easy to have the difficult conversations; but the difficult conversations said in the right way, are the ones that build a team. It provides the opportunity to Practice Teamwork; understanding each other’s view point and work collaboratively, be it in the morning meeting or in the pub after work, it’s about getting to know one another.


Some other aspects of building cohesive teams which are worth remembering are; giving and asking for feedback and celebrating success. It is so simple to play the blame game when things go wrong but why not promote the positivity within the team; share the responsibility and authority for the success and failures. The point is that all teams start somewhere and teams simply cannot be cohesive from day one – it is about becoming a unit. Focus on the marginal gains to succeed in the long game. After all, Team GB won gold in 2016, the first time since 1988.


Kimberly Swann, Venn Group

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