March Madness is full of twists and surprises. Teams need to maintain physical and mental stamina as they face one-opponent after another having little time between games. There are many aspects of March Madness that are exciting. Watching the nail-biting endings and cheering for the Cinderella team to continue to work their magic until the end.
We Are Family
We also get a glimpse at the behind the scenes moments that drive the team’s behaviors. Each year, teams display mottos on their shirts. This year I noticed that many are wearing shirts with the word “Family” on them. And it got me to think about what family means to a team. When I think about that word…family, many feelings and values come to mind. Families have the same goals — to care and support each member. Each person has a role that helps move the family along day-by-day and year-by-year whether that’s encouraging each other or having simple tasks like picking up or shagging balls. Families look out for each other and protect members from outside attacks. Families share the good times and are able to weather through the bad ones. They share values and create goals that reflect those values. There is a deep sense of caring, connectedness, and joy from seeing everyone achieve. When you have a close family, you can take risks knowing you’ve got people who have your back 100%. Teams can create a secondary family. Each person has a role, and the team as a whole has a goal. But those really close teams have moved a step beyond to develop a championship culture. By setting the expectation early on, teams build closeness with one driven purpose. Team members know their roles and are able to execute as a team while also achieving individual goals.
Define It and Promote It!
Formally defining a team’s Why, What, and How to establish its purpose is a crucial piece of building a championship culture. Promoting it with a motto that on shirts and posted everywhere help with buy in to engrain it into your daily rhythm. Coaches, much like parents, guide staff and team mates to develop values and expectations for their team. Without this process, many people look out for themselves and not for the team. We encourage coaches and teams to set-up their “family” plan by spelling out their values, goals, and expectations for every member. When everyone has a clear goal in mind, all athletes can work together to build a culture that consistently brings results.