Is Your Organization Designed Like a Sports Team?

I have to confess. As a Minnesota sports junkie, I love autumn and this fall is proving to be exceptionally exciting.

As I write this, the Twins are in the thick of a playoff race. On top of the American League Central, they are 26-10 since the all-star break.

The Twins' rotation has turned around. The hitters are connecting. Confidence is high.

Clearly the Twins organization has designed this team for success. Someone gets hurt and they pull someone from the minor league who jumps in and doesn't miss a beat.

The team is cohesive. Players work together, respect each other, and treat each other well. As a result, they win.

Now, it seems, the Vikings are attempting the same.

Preparing for the season, they say they have shored their offensive line and their defense. Their offensive weapons have returned – including Brett Favre. With pre-season injuries affecting a variety of positions, they are out finding effective replacements.

And like the Twins, this team is a "team" in most respects. In fact, it was team camaraderie that reportedly brought Favre back.

"It's not about the touchdown passes and the wins and losses,” the trio sent on the reconnaissance mission to Mississippi to fetch Farve told him. “Would you do it just for the guys?"

Of course, neither season is over; football season has barely begun. We don't know what will happen going forward. But apparently built-in teamwork in both organizations is bringing them success.

I have several thoughts about teamwork in sports and as you will see, they relate to what makes for success in business:

n Successful teams use prescreening to select people who fit their organization. Yes, that they can catch a ball is important, but teams that sign players who support and model their organizational values predictably perform better on the field.

The same is true in business. Companies with employees who believe in its values and mission do better than those without their employees "on board."

n Successful teams look for skill sets they need to accomplish their goal. Without a quarterback who passes well, for example, a team must depend on its running game. Thus it looks for — and one hopes finds — an accomplished running back.

Successful businesses also ensure job and skill set fit. If they need an employee with organizational skills, for example, they gear their search to reveal candidates' organizational talents.

n Successful teams look for players who resemble their proven top performers. I guess this states the obvious. We all know teams look for quarterbacks who throw Brett Favre bullet spirals and sluggers who swing like Joe Mauer.

Successful businesses, too, use job matching in selecting their employees. In other words, they compare their candidates to their proven top performers.

n Successful teams hold meetings throughout the season to keep their players on track. I've often wondered what coaches tell their teams during a mid season slump. How do they bring them back? What do they say to get them performing again? I may never know.

What I do know is that successful businesses also take steps to retain their best employees. They make sure they challenge, engage and reward their employees, for example.

If you want to stay ahead of the game, you — like the Vikings and Twins organizations — need the best people on your team. Great athletes and great workers simply produce more.

So don't rely on guesswork or gut instinct in hiring and managing your employees. Take your cues from the Vikings and Twins and harness the talent you need before someone else does. Then do what's necessary to keep them.

Tips: Four steps you can take to build a strong team

Do you need a "successful" team in your business?

Here are four tips to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right people to build a cohesive team:

1) Select candidates who match your organization's values.
You can always teach skills. It's much more difficult to change attitudes that don't fit your standards.

2) To ensure job and skill set fit, select your people using behavioral-based interviews.
Research consistently shows that conventional, unstructured interviews provide only 14 percent of the information you need to make a good hiring decision. More structured behavioral interviews, on the other hand, can increase this to 51 percent and better predict how a person will perform in the position.

What do I mean by behavioral-based interviews? Here are two examples of behavioral-based questions:
• In hiring someone to lead you might say, “Give me an example of a time when you were able to motivate a group.”
• In hiring for a position needing someone with organizational skills say, “Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize several key tasks.”

3) Use job matching to select your employees.
As I mentioned earlier, job matching means comparing your candidate to your proven top performers. Studies show that people selected using job matching, outperform their non job-matched peers and stay in their positions two to five times longer.

(And here’s another tip: Use job matching not only when you hire but when you move people from one job to another or promote someone. Every time you place someone in a job, you’ll serve your bottom line if you use job matching.)

4) Hold 30- and 90-day conversations with your employees to improve retention.
Most employees leave organizations during the “honeymoon phase” or first 90 days of employment. If you want to retain them, you should do more than casually chat with them in the hallway. Rather, conduct 30- and 90-day interviews using structured questions such as:

• How do we compare with what we promised?
• Tell me what you like. What is going well?
• Who has helped you in your first 30 days? (And then use this information to recognize the employees named for helping new hires learn the ropes.)
• Have you noticed anything needing improving or do you have ideas that might be useful to us?

Spend time and attention on these tips, and you, too, will have great workers who produce more and who contribute effectively to your business success. Your business will soar as a result.

Your Solution Toolbox: Use A Team of Assessments

Measuring What Matters
If yours resembles most organizations, you use employee teams to complete objectives.

In a teamwork environment, people think, plan, make decisions and act cooperatively. They recognize and even assimilate the belief that "none of us is as good as all of us together.” (High five here!)

Now let's apply this "none of us-is-as-good-as all-of-us-together” thought to assessments.

Using assessments together can help you reach your employee and business objectives faster and better

Here are two ideas to consider:

1. Improve sales performance by aligning Profiles Sales Assistant (PSA), Profiles Performance Indicator (PPI), and CheckPoint 360 (CP36).
The PSA will give you insight into how well a person fits specific sales jobs. The PPI will show how his personality impacts job fit, and adding the CP360 will help you pinpoint potential issues with management.

2. Improve your hiring process by combining the information PPI and the ProfileXT (PXT) provides.
The PPI reveals aspects of a person's personality that could impact her fit with her manager, coworker and team, and her job performance. The PXT measures how well an individual fits a particular job within an organization.

You also might add the Step One Survey II (SOS) to the PPI and PXT. This tool enables you to determine a person's basic work-related values to make sure they align with your company's values.

Using multiple assessments can help you solve problems, make informed decisions, improve your hiring power and manage your workforce. In other words, it will help propel your business to success

To learn more about how to combine assessments to reach your objectives, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to

News Articles     Search