Work teams aren’t sports superstars

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The analogy of elite sports competition is damaging in the workplace.

Only a few teams can focus on winning the championship. There are millions of teams in organisations. They can’t all have the elite performers.
A good work system works with average people.
A good manager works with what they’ve got.
If your only way of succeeding is to recruit superstars, you have a bad system.
If your way to improve performance is to threaten ejection, you have bad management.
The exception is if you are that one in a million company that really does want to come first amongst the millions, but most of us are playing weekend sport. We want to have a good game, to have room for everybody who knows the basics, and to play better every week. A team coach who behaves like a national coach in a local team damages the team.

Of all the people playing a sport across a country, how many are in the major leagues? Of all the people working in that country, how many are in that kind of team?

Teams can be high performing without being on the TV. That’s where I work because that’s where my clients are: government, manufacturing, banks. Ordinary people doing ordinary work. And all wanting to do well at it. They can usually rock with a little help.