5 Ways to Build Strong Teams

Have you ever worked with a team where conflict was prevalent? I have. It’s very difficult to work effectively when some of your colleagues are fighting!

My thoughts turn to the story of Coach Ken Carter, who in 1999, rose to the challenge of turning a dysfunctional group of high school students into a synergistic and successful basketball team — a team that made it to the high school play offs. In the movie “Coach Carter,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, I noted some of the strategies he used to bring his team together despite the infighting. Here are some pearls of wisdom I gleaned from this true and inspiring story. 

1. Share an Engaging Vision

Carter presented a clear vision of what the team could become and what the students could accomplish in the process — and he never wavered from it.

2. Be Clear About Expectations

He set out very clear rules about what the boys needed to do to qualify for and stay on the team – which meant they had to attend classes and keep their marks up for graduation.

3. Right People — Right Jobs

He got “the wrong people off the bus,” as renowned author Jim Collins calls it from his best seller Good to Great. A few of the top players allowed their skills and arrogance to fracture the team and were consequently cut from the Oilers team. This outraged both parents and school administrators but Carter held his ground knowing that the team would never succeed if these players continued to disrupt progress.

4. Know Your People

He got to know each of the players and cared about them, especially the ones who lived in poverty surrounded by drug abusers.

5. Provide Practical Help

He supported players who were struggling with marks and led them to library tables where attractive and smart young ladies were waiting to tutor them.

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Questions for Supervisors

  • How can you apply Coach Carter’s strategies in your own workplace?
  • Are you seeing opportunities to support employees who are struggling?
  • Is your vision clear and are the goals achievable?
  • Are you trying to get the “wrong people off the bus” (or at least quarantining them so they don’t infect the rest of your team)?

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5 Ways To Build Strong Teams — This article is based on the life of coach Ken Carter. He proved that great teams start with the right values.