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Ken Keller: Questions to turn around team results for the better

Brain Food for Business Owners

Posted: October 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The sports pages of The Signal are filled with the scores, player profiles and season predictions of high school football, volleyball and tennis teams.

Major League Baseball just started the playoffs, NCAA football is well under way, and in the National Football League (NFL), two teams have gone from worst to first in their respective divisions.

Both the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions are, as of this writing, undefeated.

Since the first Super Bowl was played in January 1967, the Lions are one of only four teams that have not played in the championship game.

The Bills are the only team to have appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls and are the only team to have lost four consecutive Super Bowls.

For these two teams, things have changed since the end of the last season. Most football analysts and those that follow the game sense a dramatic improvement in talent management and teamwork in both the Bills and the Lions. Talent management is a set of organizational processes designed to attract, develop, motivate and retain key people.

Teamwork is defined as the work effort and results attained by a group of individuals in a common purpose.

It is one thing to talk about winning; it is another thing to make it happen consistently, which is what is required to become a top-tier team in the NFL. While the season is still early, both teams spent time asking and answering critical questions targeted to improve their teams.

To create a better team, the coaches worked on the team, not in the team. Use this list to jumpstart thinking about how to go about having a better team in your organization.

* What is our team goal this season, next season and the season after that?

* What is winning this season for our team; how do we define it so that everyone on the team understands it?

* What are the top five obstacles to winning and what are we doing to address each one?

* Do we play to win or do we try to avoid losing?

* Do we play to the end of every game or do we give up before it is over?

* Do we have a game plan for winning each week?

* Do we have the right equipment to practice and play properly?

* Are we practicing enough or too much?

* Are we practicing the right things well-enough to win consistently?

* During each game, how well do we execute the basics and do we execute them better than our opponent?

* What is our version of putting “points on the board?”

* Are all team members in alignment with what it takes to win? Who is not?

* Do we have the right talent now to win?

* Who do we want to keep, cut or add to create a winning team?

* Is every team member in the right position to maximize winning?

* Who do we need to acquire for the team to win?

* What do our uniforms and dress code say about our team?

* Are we allowing the natural leaders in the team to take command?

* Are we spending enough time teaching and coaching for higher performance in a manner that works not for us but for the individuals on the team?

Just because a group of people work in the same place or for the same organization does not mean they are a team. A team comprises of a group of people linked in a common purpose.

Use the questions above and craft additional ones to create a better environment for a team to flourish.

Ken Keller is chief executive officer of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with companies interested in growing top line revenue. He can be reached at (661) 645-7086 or at Mr. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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