"The Power of a Positive Team"
In a world where
we're more virtually connected than ever it seems that our teams are
more disconnected than ever. For example, in my work with sports
teams I have found that far too many don't make the time to invest
in relationships and team building. They work on their conditioning,
skills and plays but too often fail to develop the chemistry and
relationships that truly build winning teams.
United, high performing teams don't happen by accident. They are
built and developed through great communication, shared experiences,
positive interactions, common challenges, and vulnerable story
telling that connect people at a deeper level. For these reasons I'm
convinced you and your team must make time for team building to
foster communication, connection and commitment. Talent and practice
can make you a good team. But you must come together if you want to
- If You Really Knew Me. If you really knew me
you would know this about me_________. I recently took a
leadership team through this exercise and at first they shared
very shallow comments like "you would know that I'm very
generous and wonderful." But after challenging them to go deeper
and sharing something vulnerable about myself they started
sharing meaningful stories and feelings that connected the team
in a deep and powerful way. Thanks to author Mike Robbins for
- Share a Defining Moment. When a leader and each
team member share a defining moment in their life you learn
things you never knew before. Immediately you know your team
members a whole lot better and feel more connected to them. I
like to have each person in the room simply stand up and share a
defining moment in their life. It's amazing how simple and
powerful this exercise is.
- The Safe Seat. I recently wrote about how Dabo
Swinney, the head coach of the Clemson University Football team,
put a "safe seat" in the middle of the team meeting room and had
each team member sit on the seat and answer questions about his
life. It's called a safe seat because what is shared in the room
stays in the room. This makes it safe for each person to be
vulnerable and transparent.
- Hero, Highlight, Hardship.…With this exercise each
person talks about one of their heroes and why they are their
hero. Then they share a positive highlight as well as a hardship
from their past
- The Hard Hat. As a team, discuss and identify
the characteristics of a great team member. What does it mean to
be a great team member? Write all the characteristics on the
board/wall. Have each person choose the one that resonates most
with them. Visit HardHat21.com for 21 ways to be a great
- Get on the Bus Together. A lot of leaders have their
teams read The Energy Bus to create unity and a common
dialogue but Rhonda Revelle, the University of Nebraska Softball
coach, took it one step further. She paired up her team and had
each pair present to the rest of the team 1 of the 10 rules of
The Energy Bus in a fun and creative way. Some made a
video, others sang a song, some gave a speech, some made a
painting, etc. Rhonda told me the team took on a whole new life
and energy after these teammates brought the rules to life for
- One Word. Have each team member choose one word that
will help drive them to be their best and bring out the best in
others. You may choose a word such as: connect, commit, serve,
give, help, care, love, tough, relentless, excellence, selfless,
and so on. Each person should choose a word that is the right
fit for them. Once you choose your words you can make a team
poster, sign or image that features all the words of the team.…
- Fuel up the Tanks. The Brown University Women's
Lacrosse team gave each player a manila envelope with a picture
of a bus and their name on it. The envelopes represented their
energy bus tanks and were placed on a table in the locker-room.
Players were also given index cards where they could write
something positive about a teammate and place the card (positive
fuel) in their teammates manila envelope (energy bus tank).
After practices and games players were encouraged to write
positive comments and fill their teammate's energy bus tanks
with positive energy. The exercise created more positive
interactions and generated appreciation and encouragement that
fueled the team throughout the year.
- Leave a Legacy. Have each team member create and
share a legacy statement that includes the kind of impact they
want to have on their team. How do you want to be remembered?
What do you want others to say about you year later? Knowing how
you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live today.
- 20 Questions. Make up a list of 20 questions.
During each team building session pair up with a different team
member and ask/answer the questions about each other. This will
help you get to know your team members and become more
connected. It's a great exercise for sports teams to do when
they are on the bus or plane.