Team-Building and Perseverance

By Joe Frontiera and Dan Leidl  |  Posted 2009-09-01 Email Print this article Print

IT organizations in need of cultural transformation could take some cues from the world of professional sports.

2. Form a clear and inclusive vision: This concept has become clichéd in the recent past.  A vision is not intended to be the end-all; it is a starting point. Simply stated, a vision is about leadership. It is about connecting with others on a personal level and effectively communicating an idea of the future, of what the organization can be in clear and understandable terms.

An inclusive vision is one in which everyone, regardless of their level, must play a part in order for it to be successful.  Rather than communicating this idea exclusively to the executive staff, or “key players,” these executives realize that every member of the organization is a stakeholder. When talking about his vision of winning a championship, one executive stated, “It’s not just the coaches and the players and the scouting staff that are responsible for this. It’s everybody in this organization.”  Even the janitor needed to do his part in order to prevent the spread of infection within the locker room. Make no mistake: a clear, inclusive vision can be a powerful tool that can mobilize the energy and efforts of employees towards a singular cause.

3. Stay true to your plan: Similar to any executive team, sports leaders developed a clear plan to actualize their vision. What separates the successful executives from the rest was the steadfast adherence to their plan, even when there were significant pressures to diverge.

Too often, leaders shift their focus to the competition. Although this can be helpful from a tactical standpoint, it often results in wholesale changes to their organization’s plan for success. For example, when one NFL team wins the Super Bowl using stellar defense, other teams will soon try to strengthen their own defenses in an effort to imitate that success. This reactionary impulse only serves as evidence that the copycat team lacked an individualized approach for achievement.

Additionally, intense demands can originate from fans and local media and national media to fire a coach, trade for a player or select a certain individual in the draft. When organizations cave to these demands, it demonstrates a lack of commitment to their own ideals. As one executive stated, “There's going to be a lot of public criticism, and there's going to be a lot of back biting, and there's going to be a lot of second-guessing. You just have to ride that out. You just have to stick your chin into the wind and ride it out.”

Joe Frontiera, PhD and Dan Leidl, PhD, are managing partners of Meno Consulting,

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