Tuesday, October 7, 2014

3 Lessons about teamwork from the Kansas City Royals

The Royals baseball team has invigorated Kansas City! After last night’s victory that takes the team to the pennant race, players were celebrating downtown with their fans. Tweet of gratitude were sent by players, along with the invitation to celebrate at an Irish pub downtown. The players thanked the city and were happy to win for the city.

I went to one home game this season, and it was on September 17, 2014, near the end of the season. The Royals beat the White Sox during that game, but the crowd stood out to me. I can’t judge good technique of a ballplayer, but I can tell when the crowd is electrified. It was different than any game I had been to in KC for the past ten years. I lived in Chicago and went to Cubs games prior to moving back here ten years ago. The KC fans were like the Cubs fans: in love with their team.
What makes this team so special? Why did fans across the city fall in love with this team? Why is this team selling Royals gear to fans across the whole country?

So far, I think it comes down to three things:
  1. There is no one superstar. There is no one trying to make a name for himself or to out-shine the rest of the team. Their egos are in check, and it shows.
  2. The team likes each other. There is a high degree of trust that each person will do his job really well. When they need help, they call on each other and are heard. The camaraderie shows between innings, in the dugout, and during warm-ups. It’s palpable when they celebrate home runs and victories.
  3. They are not insane. Isn’t the definition of insanity when you keep doing the same thing but expect different results? This team changed its strategies. They worked hard on being fast, stealing bases, and putting themselves in the position to score. The hitters aren’t swinging for the fence every time. They work to get on base. The team has focused on small steps that yield points. Oh, but they’ll sure that the homeruns that come!

The Royals are doing what many other successful teams have done: they put the team first, trust each other, and create the opportunity to win. Workplace teams can do those things too. It is time to Be Royal!