How kickball can teach us to win at work
The rules of kickball are simple and easy to understand. The rules of business, not so much.
In the simplest terms, the game of kickball is like baseball, except you can throw the ball at players. I’m going to take the high road and refrain from saying anything about the New York Yankees at this point.
On the surface, kickball teams may look inflexible to changing situations and environments. But being part of a great team such as Hyland Software’s, I realized that a good team structure where the rules were understood by all players and everyone knew their roles helped us advance to second place in the 2016 Cleveland Corporate Challenge.
Kicking a ball or being successful at work requires effective communication
I’ve been taught that the best way to be successful with any team is to work with each individual and help them play to their strengths. This is applicable to both kickball and work. And a big part of working with other people is effective communication.
During our kickball games, our captain explained why he was assigning us specific roles on the field and the expectations he had for us. Knowing what he expected of each of us made all of us aware what the others were doing, how they were contributing, and how our roles fit together. That’s why that strategy was a winning one.
OK, second place, but that’s still winning as far as I’m concerned.
In kickball, each position on the team can appear relatively separate, but team members should work on their own skills to improve their weaknesses in order to best fit into the team’s strategy. The same goes for the business world. There are times when you might feel like you’re the only one out on the field, but all you have to do is look around to see that there are others out there to help you.
Placing ourselves within our team – whether it’s kickball or our workplace – we usually have a fixed role and we follow mostly the same structure on a daily basis. We do our best to take care of our role, but we also have to be flexible enough to help out in other areas – like a good center fielder. And we have to work to overcome our weaknesses, gain confidence and learn more skills.
That’s how great individual players make a winning team.