Sometimes you’re really glad you have a team behind you. That became painfully apparent to me Friday night. With approximately 1 minute left in my hockey game, I had a bad fall and sprained an ankle…yes, I’m mending nicely, thank you for asking.
It’s what happened next that has me writing this article, my entire team came to my aid. Not just helping me off the ice either. They could have simply called an ambulance and left me to my own devices, they did not.
They helped me change out of my gear (except for my skate on my bad leg), packed my gear, made sure I had water and electrolytes to deal with the shock, and then someone drove me to the ER (wasn’t sure if it was broken at that point), while another teammate followed in my car. While I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone it is an important example of the power of relationships. Let me put this in perspective.
Most of our team has been playing together for the past 2 years. Some of us have played on other teams together and we’ve all played against each other at one time or another in the last 3-years. We only play once or twice a week and games are only 45-minutes long. We have occasionally socialized outside of hockey but that only happens once or twice a year. I bet we haven’t spent more than 300 hours together over the past 3-years. In other words, we’ve spent significantly less time together than you would have with coworkers over the same period. Yet, I believe we are much closer than many business teams I’ve seen over the decades.
You might think it’s because we have a common goal, winning hockey games. Except most businesses have common goals as well, winning the customer acquisition game or the revenue accumulation game. No, the reason everyone came together is not directly because of our goals, but in fact because of our relationships.
Relationships are the glue that holds teams together, whether they are sports teams, business teams, or social teams of some sort. You may come together for a goal however you stay together because of relationships. We have one of the best locker rooms in the two leagues we play in. Everyone generally likes and respects each other. When we have differences in opinions, we voice them without attacking each other and we share many common values. We do this because we all value the locker room, it’s what makes playing fun for us. We’ve played against teams that are more talented and have worse locker rooms. Some of the players on those teams are friends of mine, they don’t have the relationships our team does, nor do they have as much fun.
You don’t know how strong a team you have until something goes wrong. Last Friday I discovered how important relationships can be and how strong mine is with my teammates. I don’t throw the word “friend” around lightly. For me, friends are someone I can count on when things get rough. Last week I found out I have a bunch of friends.
Things go wrong at work all the time. If your team is weak, it will fall on you to make them right. If your team is strong, you can count on them. What are you doing to create the kind of relationships with your team so you know you can count on them when you have to?