What comes first, togetherness or success?

Dec 01, 2021

Does your team have to succeed to come together?


Does your team have to come together to succeed? 


For most teams, they’ll only experience deep connection and togetherness when the circumstances are in their favor. 

When the shots are falling, the ball bounces your way, and the calls are going your way, it’s easy to mistake those moments for togetherness. 

Here’s why those moments have little reflection on how together a team is: they all focus on a circumstance and an outcome. 


Championship teams come together before they succeed. 

Championship teams stay together regardless of the circumstances or outcomes.

Championship teams refuse to let things outside their control dictate their togetherness.


But how do you create a team that comes together before having successful results?


Daniel Coyle provides answers to this question in his book, The Culture Code (a must read for any coach or leader).


First, as a coach, you have to communicate this one message clearly and loudly from the very beginning: 


You belong here, and you are safe here. 


The most important layer of a thriving culture, which is what creates a together team, is psychological safety. 

Players need to feel safe, and a sense of belonging within the group if the group is going to come together. 


Second, you have to create opportunities for shared vulnerability. 


Your team will never stay together if everyone wears a facade of perfection. Your team needs to know this: 


It’s okay to make mistakes and ask for help on this team.


Groups splinter and separate when there isn’t a level of shared vulnerability in the group. 

And this starts with the coach. 

Here’s a few small ways you can model vulnerability...

  • Admit your mistakes. 
  • Ask the players for help solving problems
  • Admit you don’t have all the answers. 
  • Tell them you’re not perfect.


Third, tell the story of your team. 


What’s the story that you’re inviting your players into? Your players need to know the answers to these questions: 


What story am I a part of and what mission am I on?


Maybe your team is on a mission to win the first conference championship in school history.

Maybe your team is on a mission to win the first state championship in school history.

Maybe your team is on a mission to have more fun and play with more joy than any other team. 


Own the narrative of your team.


Tell your team’s story, again and again… and again.


Will these three things solve all your problems? 


But, they’ll create an environment where your players feel connected to one another. 

And that connection is what leads to togetherness. 


And togetherness… 

is what leads to success.


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This blog was inspired by Coach Eric Musselman's tweet of a Pat Riley video, watch it here.