Paul “Bear” Bryant is regarded as not only one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, but one of the greatest coaches in all of sports. During his 25-year career at the University of Alabama, Bryant won six National Championships, 14 Conference Championships, and amassed 323 career wins. Bryant’s success on the field is best attributed to his ability to craft strong, collaborative teams off the field. Below are a few lessons on team building as spoken by Bryant himself.
Create a Teamwork Environment. “You must learn how to hold a team together. You must lift some men up, calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat. Then, you’ve got yourself a team.” Bryant understood the importance of teamwork in order to achieve goals. The most successful teams are those in which members come together to achieve common goals.
Set Goals. “Set goals – high goals for you and your organization. When your organization has a goal to shoot for, you create teamwork, people working for a common good.” When building a team, it is important to define each member’s role. Everyone should understand their role on the team and how it relates to the overall goals of the organization. At the beginning of every season, Bryant’s team had one goal; to win a national championship. Everyone on the team understood that goal and how they fit into it.
Hire for Cultural Fit. “People who are in it for their own good are individualists. They don’t share the same heartbeat that makes a team so great. A great unit, whether it be football or any organization, shares the same heartbeat.” When developing a team, hire those who would mesh well together. Look for people who share similar values and beliefs.
Hire Committed Players. “Don’t give up at halftime. Concentrate on winning the second half.” In order for a team to be successful, its members must be 100% committed to the cause. According to John Maxwell, author of The Qualities of a Team Player, “Commitment is usually discovered in the midst of adversity. You will never know the commitment of a team player until things go bad.” As a leader, assemble a team with members who will “concentrate on winning the second half.”