While visiting and working in Florida I had the opportunity to attend the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener spring training baseball game. Spring training is a a great time both for the players and the fans. Everything starts new in spring training. Fans have renewed hopes of their team winning the World Series. Young players have renewed aspirations of moving up in the organization and possibly even making the major league team.
But a lot has to be accomplished before decisions are made on who will make the major league team and who will continue to play in the minor leagues.
There are many goals that need to be addressed in spring training. The players are working to get in everyday playing shape. Management is evaluating talent. Pitchers are developing new pitches that they are willing to try when the games don’t really matter so that they are ready when the games do matter. And, even though the games don’t count in the regular season standings, the organization’s leadership is working to develop the drive to win. Winning is a habit that has to be nurtured inside of everyone and inside the team as a whole. In essence they are learning how to compete.
During drills the players have a lot of mini competitions. They discover momentum. They learn what working together as a team feels like. This is the time to master what happens between the players and their relationships in addition to the physical skills involved in playing the game. One without the other will leave the team short of reaching their potential.
Leadership is looking at how players interact in relationship to each other; evaluating if the values of different players line up with each other and if they will fit together on a team. Teamwork isn’t created by assembling the best players on a single team. Teamwork is about assembling a group of people who share a common set of values and who commit to living those values with each other. That is not only teamwork but accountability in action.
It is the same in any business or organization. There are the skills necessary to perform the tasks, deliver the service and create the products, and there is the environment where everyone works. That environment, or organizational culture based on a set of values, will determine the level of performance that everyone is able to achieve.
You can assemble people with the best skills, but if you don’t put equal time into creating a winning organizational culture you come up short. It’s the transactional side of businesses, the skills, and the relational side, the teamwork, camaraderie, trust and respect, that when focused on equally, allow an organization to be at it’s best because people are then positioned to be at their best.