Family as a Team

It’s said that sports are the greatest classroom. And the lessons from sports are commonly applied to personal development, group dynamics, and in the business world. But what if we brought those lessons to our families?

Try putting the word ‘Team’ before your last name? For me, doing that automatically raises the stakes and gives even greater purpose to “Team Meacham.”

Take a look at the best coaches and teams. There’s much we can apply to our families by watching the purpose and passion they’re driven by. 

Here’s a few ideas…

Create a dynamic culture: Alright, this is funny! But culture — a combination of practices, values, and goals — is everything for a sports program. Culture is evident when you step into a coach’s office, a team’s practice, or a group’s locker room. Those settings are intimate, almost sacred. It’s the same when entering someone’s home. Culture is not only the most obvious “behind the scenes,” but, more importantly, that’s where it’s created…in the home

Establish values: Tony Bennett’s national championship basketball program is built on five pillars (Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness). John Wooden’s teams were led by his Pyramid of Success. Companies often have core values. I haven’t heard of too many families that have them (if you do, please let me know). Theresa and I established our own a couple of times, but we’ve never quite embedded them in our culture as we should. Here are the keys to values → they must be communicated, modeled, reinforced, taught and rewarded.

Cast a mission with clear goals: In sports, the mission is clear (score more points, win the championship, develop young men/women). Great coaches make all decisions with the mission in mind. Every drill and every action has a purpose because there’s a known and worthy destination. While the goal(s) may not be quite as clear for a family; there’s more at stake. It’s important we know where we want to go with our families. And it’s essential it’s a meaningful destination  If not, there’s a narrative void. And if we don’t fill that, then someone/something else most certainly will.

Define Roles: On championship teams, everyone not only knows their role and buys into their role → they star in their role. The coaching staff is aligned and communicates a unified message. The players are willing to sacrifice for the good of the group. Great coaches treat all players fairly but not necessarily the same. Certain players have earned more responsibility and trust while others must stick closer to a script. In our family, we constantly “call up” our twins (the oldest, at nearly 4 years) as leaders. We tell them Dominic (their younger brother) is looking up to and learning from them. It’s the truth. It’s never a linear or smooth journey, but it’s rewarding to see them step into those important roles. 

The team and individuals thrive: The best coaches are able to strike a balance between the team and the individual players. It’s understood no player is bigger than the team. These coaches are able to get every player to sacrifice their ego and production for others. But they also speak into the hearts of the individuals and develop their personal strengths. The result? The team is successful…and everyone “eats!” Likewise, the family must come before the individuals. Sacrifices are good and healthy for each of us. But when attention and energy is also devoted to individuals, the entire family benefits. 

Personally, there’s no tougher challenge or greater calling than leading my family. It’s been humbling and sharpening. It’s easy to get deflated and feel overwhelmed, but something happens when I insert “Team” before Meacham…

I remember there’s a game being played. And I am intentional to step between the lines. 

I remember I’m blessed with teammates. And I am determined to do it together.

I remember I’m the coach. And I become inspired to lead my FAMILY TEAM.

Theresa coaching up Malachi

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