When team culture meets performance, everyone wins in sport, business and life.

Personal Growth & Development | 0 comments

A reflection of meaningful work the last months.

Case 1: The Sporting Arena

What do you do when you have identified 18 of Canada’s top athletes to come together from different Universities across North America to represent their nation with the goal to qualify for a spot at the Junior World Cup?

You start with leadership and a leadership coaching team that is aligned, focused and invested in people development as much as the physical, tactical and technical preparation.

Our culture conversations started over 6 months ago as we dedicated time to each individual  player before coming together virtually in preparation for the qualifying event. As a team we discussed our purpose, individual and team CliftonStrengths®, our identity, ways of behaving that reflected our values, and ultimately what culture we wanted to cultivate. We highlighted communication styles that would help us on and off the field, our mindset, individual well-being journeys and what success would be for this team. Furthermore, we paid attention to understanding what it would take to travel, prepare and compete while navigating a dual career of sport and study for these high performing athletes.

The result was exceptional. The players trusted one another, they supported each other on and off the field, they held space for joy and heartache while embracing celebrations and defeat. And with the momentum of an aligned team at our backs, we booked a ticket to the World Cup in December. No small feat given that this is the first time that the team will compete in back-to-back World Cup appearances. Yet, the biggest win for us as a leadership group was seeing the psychological safety of the team and how they held space for one another.

While the game itself is finite, given that in sport there is always a winner and a loser, yet what this experience was about for the players was an infinite one. A team of teams that moved from strength to strength demonstrating admirable performance behaviors on and off the field of play.

From the head coach, after a preparation tour, “we came together as individuals and left as a team.” From an athlete’s perspective, “thanks for helping us discover our strengths and powers, define our unique positive culture and be able to learn from our challenges.”

As a culture consultant and then spring-boarded into the role of Assistant Coach, it’s been a privilege to support this team before and during the event, in a way of facilitating team-building, personal assessments, LEGO® Serious Play®, and creating space for moments of mindfulness through yoga recovery and breath-work. The best is yet to come for this group of dedicated, hardworking and compassionate beings. Stay tuned for more.

Case 2: The Tech Arena

Same, same, but different. Working in tech is as volatile as the market can be. After a steep dip during Covid, over the last year I’ve been working with a Canadian based app helping to elevate a team culture that will sustain the expansion of a fast-growth enterprise.

Given that the company is fully remote, it’s been an imperative investment to be proactive in creating a culture that is inclusive and creates a sense of belonging and growth, all while meeting the demands and expectations of a fast work pace.

Similarly to Case 1, the investment started with leadership. As a consultant and coach, I’ve been providing 1:1 leadership and management coaching, offering quarterly well-being workshops and leading dynamic CliftonStrengths®-based and Lego Serious Play team facilitation sessions at the company offsite.

On using LEGO® Serious Play® during a team-building activity, “It was a very creative way to awaken our playful/creative side and reflect on our view of ourselves and learn more about our teammates.”

The impact of their people development strategy is seen in the success and growth of the business, and their 0 % employee churn rate. Two years ago, the company employed 6 people, and now the team is nearly 30 strong. Their culture is described by the team as a close-knit family. Everyone is seen, and they feel like they matter. The leadership works to build culture into the company with an intentional and reflective mindset; cultivating individual and collective strengths. Their investment in people is noticeable.

While advancing  people & culture might not be your first thought, it’s certainly been a game changer for those leaders who are in it for the long game: the success of the business comes from the success of the people in it. If they thrive (in work and life), so can the business.

Might I add, when you’re an external consultant and you start to feel like you are a part of the team, there’s a lot of love going on. The similarities between investing in people, be it for the sporting arena or the corporate arena remains the same; we are indeed human beings before human doings.

Laura Dowling

Professional Coach & Facilitator

My name is Laura, but everyone calls me “LD”.
LD Performance Consulting provides emerging and experienced leaders, individuals and teams with world-class, customized leadership development and facilitation services that build confidence, unlock talent and improve performance.