How to Excel as a Team 📈

We were in the final minutes of a hard fought game and trailing by one point. Few fouls were called despite it being a physical and intense game. Both teams knew each other all too well. 

During a dead ball, we huddled up to regroup for the final stretch. Everyone was focused. Everyone was committed to doing whatever it’d take to win.

The setting: the driveway at my in-laws home in Belleville, IL 😄
The teams: cousins vs. cousins
The mindset of my 5-year-olds: this is Game 7 in the NBA Finals 😤
My role: player/coach and (horrible) referee 

It was a fun evening, but the seriousness I saw in that huddle reminded me of the importance of those impromptu points of connection.

You want a reliable way to tell if a team will most likely underachieve or overachieve? Watch how they interact with each other throughout the course of the game. 

When there’s a dead ball or before a free throw, does everyone go their separate ways? Or do they come together? 

When there’s a bad call or bad play or any adversity, is one player complaining to the ref and another hanging his head and stuck on himself? Or are they pulling each other together to refocus and connect on their mission?

Of course, there are timeouts that are scripted into the broadcast or called and run by the coach. These are important, but I’m talking about those moments within the game where the players are the ones finding opportunities to connect in order to recalibrate, refocus, and remember what’s most important. We > Me.

Here’s the thing about communication. It’s got to be constant. There will be so many things that will distract and deter us from our purpose, so we must constantly touch base with each other to stay connected (we’re not alone) and stay the course (this is what matters) and ready to adjust when needed (together on the same page).

During a basketball game, the huddle is a time to encourage, instruct, and challenge your teammates. It might be a tweak to the game plan. It could be the next play you’re going to run or a matchup to exploit. It might be a word of encouragement, 🗣“Keep shooting!” The purpose is to physically connect so that the team plays connected. 

Huddles don’t have to be reserved for a court or field though.

As I write this, I’m having one of those “Aha” moments…This is why Theresa likes it when I call to check in during the course of the day. This is why she values daily connection more than a weekly date night.

This is why my spirit needs more than one hour on Sunday mornings or even a daily quiet time. I need to pray throughout my day. Quick huddles with the man above. 

This is why I am often encouraged after connecting with my colleagues. A spontaneous touch point can be more important than a standing or sporadic meeting. 

This is why my young boys benefit when we huddle up. It often goes like this, “Hey, we’re about to do ___________. I need your help with ____________. Thanks for being a leader. I know you’re up for it.”

Back to the game on the driveway. Our huddle wasn’t a serious thing (from my end). There was no game plan or real purpose beyond reminding them: 1). We’re a team 2). We’re going to work together, and 3). Let’s have fun. 

Maybe that’s the most important thing about huddling up. It goes beyond the game/business plan, and it’s bigger than the outcome. The huddle is a reminder that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You’re a part of a team, and that – in and of itself – is significant. 

And the key to the huddle? Consistently and constantly create those moments of communication and connection.  

Huddle up! 👊🏼

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