Saturday, 3 August 2013

Team Dynamics

Working with people has always interested me, working with teams of people even more so. The dynamics within teams are fascinating. Different people from different backgrounds all working towards a common goal is what team work is all about.

For international agility events we bring together people from all parts of the country. Some are very close friends, some train regularly together, some barely know each other. Then we have groups within this group: males, females, handlers of different sized dogs, different age groups, people who like their own space, extroverts and so it goes on....

One of my main objectives this year was to focus on building a close knit team. If we were going to win medals it was going to have to be a team effort.

I intended to use this year as an experiment for one or two team ideas. Some of the ideas worked, some need more refining. However, it's very clear in my mind that this is the way forward.

What I started was a mission to develop Agility Team GB culture. In it's simplest form we can describe culture as 'the way we do things'. I believe the way we need to do 'things' is act as a one supportive team - more on this in the future.

This years team was made up of handlers who performed best at the Performance Weekend back in April. It could be argued that there was an element of luck that these people all performed well on the day, and double luck they worked well together as a team. Next year I'll be removing some of the luck element. The two teams going to the World Championships and the European Open in 2014 will be selected from a squad. So I get to see these people working from January through to May as part of a bigger squad to see the team dynamics develop.

Back to this year. The team trained together at least five times. Simple activities like building courses, sitting around at the end of a Champ show discussing course design etc. all helped to develop relationships which became essential in supporting each other at the event. A simple conversation at one of our shows after a good, fair or disappointing run can suddenly become very difficult after an run at a international event. This is where you need to have the strength of the team to pick people up, reassure them, or help them recover from the run of their life etc....

The Support team had regular Skype calls leading up to the event too. They all knew where and how their individual part played in the bigger picture of building a strong team.

When you think to ANY sport, teams are what make winners. Whether its Manchester United, a F1 Team or Andy Murray they all are surrounded by a team who help them get over the line.

"There is no I in Team"

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