Super Bowl franchises demonstrate great teamwork. Being in the Big Game makes that a seemingly obvious statement. However, aligned football teams foster environments where great teamwork thrives at the ‘tribe’ level and the ‘group’ level. Teams not in the Super Bowl may have good teamwork, but they aren’t aligned to a level of those that make the Game, and win it.
On the offensive side of the ball, there are offensive line tribes, running back tribes and receiver tribes. They are all coordinated on the practice and game field by the quarterback. Each tribe has their roles and develops bonds of connection in order to perform their specific and unique tasks optimally.
When tribes work well as teams within themselves, but don’t coordinate, communicate and hold each other accountable across the other tribes in the group, the group performs sub-optimally. Super Bowl teams aren’t perfect in their group teamwork, but they demonstrate these qualities much more often and in situations that are critical to winning games.
However, no matter how well the running back tribe bonds and hones their craft and responsibilities, if they are not in sync with the offensive line or the quarterback, they can’t perform to their potential. The wide receiver tribe also has a critical role in how well the running back tribe performs. Many times, a wide receiver will set the key block to allow the running back to go down the sideline for a touchdown.
When we see offensive tribes connected and working together as a group towards the common goal, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. We don’t even need to know football well to see the high level of performance.
Actually, offense, defense and special teams are simply tribes within the larger team on the field which is a tribe within the entire organization. Offense, defense and special teams coordinate their efforts to make each other as impactful as possible. All three tribes need to perform well together to be successful. Back-office functions need to be aligned with them to reach the goals of the entire organization, which isn’t simply to get to and win the Super Bowl, come to life.
In our own organizations, and in our lives, we see how tribal teamwork focus with a lack of group teamwork execution causes a lot of wasted time and effort, poor results and a lot of pain.
Sales and marketing teams obviously need to be connected and aligned. However, they depend on so many other groups in order to thrive. Product development creates and supports products that fit with customer needs. They need marketing and sales to obtain needs and market trends. They also need finance to help develop business cases, and operations to source materials and even build the product.
Customer service must connect and support the needs of the customer and the organization. A bad experience after a sale may cause the loss of a customer and bad reviews that could impact future sales.
Human resources assists in hiring and creating development plans. They set compensation levels that attracts and retains quality people. IT and facilities make certain the infrastructure of the organization is stable and supports the people and processes.
Breakdowns across those tribes, unfortunately, occur frequently. Many times, egos and an over-focus on one’s tribe are big causes. Ineffective communication, planning and consistent alignment with the reason why the organization exists also disrupt solid group teamwork.
Great teamwork in your tribe may help that tribe feel they are doing well. However, if they don’t work well enough with other tribes in the group, that teamwork cannot be leveraged by the group. Great teamwork across tribes also won’t translate to superior performance if other aspects of organizational alignment are not strong.
In the end, each organization is simply a tribe in a greater network of a society group that needs to show great group teamwork in order to function on a high level.
Good luck to the teams in the Super Bowl. Pay mind to how you see teamwork across the three tribes play out and how it impacts the result of the game. It may help you see things in a new way in your organization.