Andy Dawson looks at Teamship and how a no-blame culture fosters better team performance in business and in sport.
“Teamwork means never having to take all of the blame yourself.” I saw this update on LinkedIn. It is almost on the money, but I’d suggest a slight change: “Teamwork means never talking about blame.”
Great teams and great businesses only learn and focus on getting better and better when there is no role for Mr Blame.
I first came across the term ‘Teamship’ in England Rugby World Cup-winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward’s book ‘Winning!’. Clive Woodward had a fantastic group of players to work with, but having the talent is not enough to win.
The right attitude and behaviours are key to success. Woodward’s role was to create the environment and culture for that team to succeed. Teamship sums all that up in a word.
At Curium, we speak about the marginal gains or ‘1%s’ that make a difference, and we run ‘Win-Learn-Change’ sessions so we continually learn and improve. Teamship, as you will see from our website, is one of our core values.
I’m proud of how we work as a team. Every week there are numerous examples of how this helps us, collectively and individually, for our own benefit and for our customers, partners and friends. Of course, we’re not perfect and things go off track, but you won’t see Mr Blame appearing at any time.
Teamship is not just about how we work as one team, it is much wider than that, and I’m always looking for Teamship opportunities around me. I’ve written before about the Midlands and how lucky we are to be based in this region. We feel a part of the Birmingham business community and Teamship is thriving here too.
I attended an event at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) organised to help businesses in the region succeed in the Gulf. Specialists from the Gulf States explained the business opportunities, but most importantly how to conduct yourself and what to expect.
I loved one bit of advice: “Your aim is to be drinking tea with the CEO.” That isn’t something you hear in the UK very often, but it’s a great insight!
As you may know from LinkedIn, we have a team working in Dubai. The GBCC event provided some invaluable advice on how we can team up with organisations who are experienced in supporting businesses selling or working overseas. (Thank you Department for International Trade; great to be part of your team!)
I also managed to crash the diary of GBCC CEO Paul Faulkner to ask for some advice. Not only did he oblige, but he had also delivered on his promises before I got back to the office.
Paul has been CEO of several Midlands football clubs in the past, so he understands teams and brings the wider community into the team very effectively. Organisations like GBCC, Marketing Birmingham, University of Birmingham and LoveBrum are all great teams to be part of.
So, I’d encourage you to have a good look around you and really think hard when you are talking about teams and teamwork. Keep Mr Blame at bay and embrace Teamship.
Look outside your own team, department, division and company, and think about what wider teams you can contribute to and what teams to can be part of.