Would you rather be the Holder or the Kicker?
If you do a quick search, you will discover that the current record for the longest field goal in the NFL is a 64-yard boot by Matt Prater. A successful field goal is a great picture of teamwork. Every player on the field has a supportive role. Some block. One snaps. One holds and one kicks the ball through the uprights. In this case, everyone executed and the rest is history.
There’s a lot of talk about collaboration. In simplest terms, collaboration is teamwork. The value of collaboration rests upon a core belief that working together yields greater impact. Positive results are magnified through togetherness. If you have ever been a part of a successful team, you understand that collaboration requires rigorous dedication and effort. Understanding three critical dynamics can foster greater success.
First, understand the goal. A record setting 63-yard field goal is a perfect example. Simply put, the goal was the goal. Everyone understood the goal. If you asked any team member on the field or the sideline, they would have articulated the exact same goal. Making a 63-yard field goal is a monumental task. It is “rare air” indeed. Yet, the goal was as clear as the air on a crisp day in Denver. Collaboration is strengthened by clarity. When everyone knows the goal, owns the goal and understands the importance of every contribution to success, teamwork can and will accomplish great things.
Second, inoculate against selfishness. True team members understand that some may receive more credit and recognition than others. Achieving a goal requires contributions from everyone and sometimes it’s difficult to discern how credit is distributed. This can be touchy. When you search for the field goal record, your search may or may not produce the name of the long snapper, holder, or other team members who were on the field at the time Matt Prater launched the successful kick. Obviously, Matt Prater deserves enormous credit for the kick and he deserves having his name in the record book. However, unselfish celebration is not always the norm for teams. True collaboration requires vigilant defense against jealousy, envy and selfishness.
Third, everyone executes. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to measure the distance to the goal, check the wind and calculate the probability of success than it is to execute. Execution breaks down at the individual level before it shows up at the team level. The old cliché, “there is no I in team” gives a false impression. The “I’s” make the team and when it comes to execution, individual attitude and effort matters. Great teams understand that accountability is a gift not a punishment. Accountability builds strong commitment to execution. There’s only so much a holder can do with a bad snap. Great kickers can fail if the hold is not solid. Have you ever seen a blocked kick because someone missed an assignment? Individual execution unites the pieces to a puzzle and delivers a magnificent finished product.
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