Having played some high school and college football at the first-hand experience of observing teams that work and teams that don’t. Every successful team needs a great coach and a great quarterback, these individuals typically are high performing, intelligent individuals able to motivate others.
Motivating 11 people at a time, with various backgrounds, motivations and abilities is not easy. Factor in inclement weather, injury, fatigue and the psychological aspects of competing for 60 minutes and this presents a challenge.
Corporate America is not unlike the football field, there’s a constant battle against the competition, team of similar size can be up against an adversary just as fierce as a pro football team. Only the average career is not approximately four years like in the NFL but far more somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 for non-millennials. The corporate team is composed of different backgrounds, experiences, experience levels and history within the company. The intern who just graduated college is not going to be motivated by the same things that the 25-year-old veteran who has three years left to retirement. The wealthy 35-year-old living in a condo with no mortgage is driven by different priorities then the middle-class 35-year-old with two children and one more on the way and a leaky roof.
What’s the similarity between everything I’ve mentioned up to this point, it’s really around taking the time to get to know your team or your players. What motivates them, what do they bring to the table, what’s their strengths, weaknesses and how do they perform during adversity. It’s okay if not everybody steps forward take on a challenge at first, there’s always a need for support personnel people to do the blocking and tackling, as not everyone can throw the football (or deliver the PowerPoint presentation via WebEx).
As you pull your team together and focus them on innovation, consider what they bring to the table other than simply understanding corporations goals and objective’s, their work history and what they learned in college.