I’m a baseball fan – a Dodger fan to be specific, and I typically don’t pay much attention to other sporting events or teams. But, I’m betting on UCLA football this year. Why? Because I heard about Jim Mora’s efforts to build his team during pre-season camp. Beyond the drills and the practice, coach Mora instilled another principal about building a team – getting to know each other off the field. I respect this, because I also understand the importance of building relationships – it’s what I see as the change agent in a business’ success.
Coach Mora did this by discouraging the use of cell phones during the two week training camp in San Bernadino. Some assistant coaches took it a step further, actually confiscating the phones of some players. The message was clear – if you want to work well as a team, you need to bond. You need to be on the same page. You need to get away from connecting with people via text and Facebook, and start building relations with those who are on your team- literally and figuratively. Likewise, true in business.
Spending time together, making eye contact, listening to each other's stories. These are the things that will help a team learn about each other. And as they do, players (just as co-workers) will begin to anticipate each other’s responses and reactions. Their intuitions will develop, as will their capacity to understand each other. I expect they will become more comfortable at being direct and honest, and likewise, more capable of showing compassion to their fellow teammates. By developing their connections off the field, the Bruins are insuring their success on the field.
The message is simple: Teams need to work together, to support one another, and to be aligned in their goals and their methodologies. A lesson that rings true both on the field, and in the office.