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Backing a winner – Effective Teamwork and winning the big race

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Regardless of whether you’re a races enthusiast or not, it’s been difficult to avoid seeing updates about the “Spring Racing Carnival” lately. From the regular weather trials and tribulations, through to the heroic uprising of the underdog, the racing season this year has brought people together in a celebration of personal and professional achievement.

Although it’s the horse and jockey that get over the line, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes toward winning the big race. From in-race tactics to pre-training regimes, the distance to the finish line is indeed much longer than what the pundits see on the screen and at the track.

For recent Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne, the dream of winning the big race has become a reality. But, as she notes, it wasn’t a lonely dreamer who made it happen, “All those at Warrnambool, this is all down to them. They got this horse here in the best shape he could be in. I’m just so grateful and thankful to them and all of the owners. This is just awesome.” Payne’s family, friends and co-workers all completed that race with her, each step of the way.

The essence of effective teamwork reveals itself clearly in Payne’s post-win analysis of the big event. Those who she ‘couldn’t have done it without’ can be seen as Payne’s project team, the many supporting roles behind the flash of the limelight.

So, what are some key things we can learn from this galloping analogy? Developing clear team communications, celebrating successes together and acknowledging individual contributions are definitely key themes around such an achievement. Here are some things to consider when your own team is working towards a huge achievement:

  • Having the right people behind you is key – Getting the dynamics of a team right is essential to synergised working practices and good communication. Making sure your team all know their role and their importance in the grand scheme of things is absolutely essential to any successful team effort.
  • Although there can often only be one winner, it doesn’t mean competing is any less special – Even if you don’t place the first go or even after the fifth go, being in the race is what it’s all about. For the team to win big, every member has to show up each and every race day.
  • Motivation needs to be effective over the long term, not just the short term – The big race is the motivator itself for many sports people. For your team, this symbol can be applied to the end project goal or upcoming deadline. Motivation to reach the ‘finish line’ can come in many forms and at many points along the way, as long as there is still a clear direction and purpose to each effort the team is making.
  • Chasing after the big goal is a team dream and needs to be acknowledged as a team achievement – A key characteristic of an effective team is that that each person plays a key part towards the big race; you get a different perspective on an issue or project with each individual. These different perspectives and skill sets all play their part, as such they need to be acknowledged for their individual worth.

Think your team has what it takes to be a big race winner? You can quickly check your team’s effectiveness with the DIY Teamwork Analysis tool. Take the 4 minute quiz to receive some immediate insights into your team’s performance.