Wet soccer and how to avoid clumpy collaboration

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I was watching my five-year-old play soccer this weekend, in the rain (you may applaud my parental fortitude now).  While standing there shivering with hands in pockets huddled together with other wet parents, several things occurred to me.

The 16 players ran their little hearts out, getting muddy knees and sweaty foreheads as they spent their energy furiously. There was no lack of effort. In fact, they kept going even when the whistle was blown. Yet, their energy spent was not always directional, sometimes (read, a lot of the times) their focus was not the goals. I’m not sure they would have cared if they’d crossed the boundaries into the next playing field and continued onwards into the dog park. The clump of players, with furrowed frowns, tussled up and down the pitch, back and forth battling against each other, even when in the same team. I even wondered (as I watched them through my steamed up glasses) whether being in ‘the clump’ had become a greater goal for the players than the goal goals.

Sports heroes are often used as shining examples of leadership excellence and remarkable team collaboration because the analogies to business are so helpful. And, after watching my son this weekend, I was reminded of not one single one of them. But, I did think how much we have to learn from the analogies that the other end of the spectrum give us.

Remarkable collaboration means:

  1. focusing on the things that lead to achievement and limiting the energy spent elsewhere
  2. remembering the goal even when distracted
  3. having clear boundaries
  4. passing to each other (less clumping) so you cover a more extensive area with less effort
  5. stepping above clump behaviour (the psychology of group behaviour)
  6. making sure all the grownups have coffee

Amy helps individuals, teams and organisations collaborate courageously for remarkable achievements. Sign up so you catch all her posts www.DrAmySilver.com/silverlinings and see her website for details on programs available or contact Amy's team on hello@DrAmySilver.com. COMING SOON!!!! Free webcast on how to maximise collaboration in public service and event in Melbourne - details on website www.DrAmySilver.com.

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