With restrictions on practice time, game play, and team meetings, there are massive challenges to team culture building right now. The teams that focus on using tech to build values, language, symbols, and norms will have a leg up when the time comes to get back to normal. Those that think this is simply a "pause" and ignore it, or do it the wrong way, will realize they have a big hole to dig out of later.
The following are three ways that teams can enhance their culture, no matter how restricted interactions are, based on data from our FLW Project and 1on1 Athlete Mentoring.
1)Identify individual challenges, use team solutions.
We have found a lot of team members struggling with academics and mental health on their own. After implementing simple and confidential feedback tools with leaders (coaches), we were able to match team members with others in the group who were struggling or had struggled in the same way in order to foster growth and culture based on shared values and goals.
For example: The feedback tool identifies a drop in grades is related to an increase in partying, we match that team member with someone who experienced this in the past and coach the pair through a mentorship model to lead/grow together.
It's not just books, but it will be a huge factor in building culture while respecting team members individual schedules. Common symbols, language, norms, and values are a key part of culture.
Creating/fostering these during current uncertainty is very challenging but we've found that giving great books to read (Such as this PURE GEM from Phil Jackson or movies like "The Craft" or this "30for30") and then doing some simple exercises in small groups on symbols, language, norms, and values makes a huge difference.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is that the level of fatigue from being on video calls, outdoor excursions, and ridiculous other team builders is very real. The combination of giving team members time to be on their own and getting to know themselves, while also being shown a lot of love and support from leaders is huge. We've successfully implemented the following three things in multiple teams, which have directly positively impacted grades, self reported mental health, and more:
-No team member is required to be on more than 2 video calls a month
-Weekly, confidential, digital check in survey (also connected with #1 above) that the leader evaluates and responds directly to the member on as needed.
-Leader ego checks: So many leaders are running things for team members because they are bored and they want to interact with the team. Having someone hold them accountable to notice this and point it out is not personal, it's normal to need, and highly productive.
Team culture is a challenge for many in typical times.
These three action items have all shown high impact in the data collected from teams in our FLW Project, and are easy to implement.
For more targeted, and in depth, solutions join the project now.
The FLW Project is a team data collection project that is designed to measure the existence of conditions for flow state and make data-based recommendations on how to increase how
much they exists so that the chance for flow is more likely.