For the non-sports fans amongst you let me start with an apology ... I'm a Leeds United fan and a big rugby supporter. Sport has always played a big part in my life. There is of course the thrill and drama of the sport itself, but it has also taught me much of how I work with others and shown me what can be achieved by a tightly knit group with a shared objective.
The title of this blog is a famous quote (amongst Leeds United fans at least!) by the late, great former captain of Leeds United, Billy Bremner. It's a quote that is very close to my heart, and one that drives the way I work, and the working culture that I look to build into the teams I manage.
When I want to draw influence from how sporting teams operate though I look to rugby rather than football. For me rugby is a true team sport with the success of each role vitally important to the success of the team. Rugby teams contain players of all shapes and sizes, many of which would not be able to play in any other position on the pitch other than their specialist position. By no means do they work in isolation from each other though, in fact it is linking all these specialist skills together that makes rugby players into a team. Even average players can make a great team if they work together. Great players who work together successfully can become world beaters.
My team at VLI is made up of Designers, Front End Developers, Web Developers, Project Managers, Customer Service and IT Support. As per a rugby team, the skill sets, and the personalities, required for these roles are vastly different from one and another. Each of these roles is vitally important to my team though, and it is only working together that we can be a success.
We're a team that supports and encourages each other when the chips are down; a team where one of your team mates will pick up the ball when it's been dropped; a team that shares and celebrates success together, and that feels the pain of defeat together.
Making mistakes is human and is of course forgiveable, but under performing individuals should not be tolerated by the team. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, but a successful team is about melding together complementary skills and everybody working together to the best of their ability. Successful teams cannot afford to carry passengers; it's only by working together, and supporting each other, that you and your team can realise your full potential.
In the words of Billy Bremner, "Side before self, every time".
By Jim Carr