Canada’s Women’s Soccer Team Teaches us a Lesson About Teamwork
Teamwork leads to exceptional output. Employees at Global are not merely cogs in a larger machine. While we each have our roles and specific areas of responsibility, our company operates on the premise that we are a team that shares collectively in the wins and losses of the company (Global core value).
One of the most talked about events during the Games was the Canadian women’s soccer semi-final. Most commentators and spectators agreed that the Canadian women played the US team exceptionally well, but that some questionable refereeing that went against Canada led to their defeat.
After an emotional loss, the team was devastated, angry and distraught. They felt they had been robbed of a chance to go for gold because of unfair officiating.
In those first few devastating moments after the game, the media approached and some of the women, still reeling from the emotion and exertion of the game, said some things in anger and frustration that, perhaps, they shouldn’t have. The media jumped on that and the comments were spread around the world.
Talk of punitive measures from Olympic officials, including suspensions that could have significantly impacted the Bronze medal match, made this a dark day in the life of this team.
How do you get ready to compete again with the same level of intensity and passion you put forward in a game you feel you should have won? How do you deal with words you can’t get back? How do you cope with your name, your team’s name, being smeared by others? How do you rally back and find the motivation to play again in the face of what appears to be hopeless?
I think most of us can relate on some level; we’ve said something in a weak moment we wish we could take back, lost a contract, sale, or client in a way that felt unfair, had someone say bad things about us, felt the frustration of a project or task that seemed hopeless.
The challenges of life are difficult enough when we’re facing them on our own, but when we face them as part of a team – where the group dynamics become a factor in recovering, they can be even more difficult.
Team members can get so lost in their own grief and way of coping, that they find it difficult to support one another. But therein lies the difference between a true team and one that just plays together.
The Canadian women did rally. They took responsibility for their actions, supported each other through their grief and ignored the negative media, choosing to gather support from their fans, families, and well wishers. They played with fierce intensity in a game where they were considered underdogs, and won a Bronze medal for Canada – the first Canadian soccer team in history to medal in the Games. They arrived in London with their eyes set on a medal.In spite of their setback, they accomplished that goal.
The Canadian women’s soccer coach, John Herdman, said it best when asked about his team’s efforts. “They got kicked, they got up, they kicked back. What more could you have asked, and what more could you have done?“
In the context of everyday life, the principles are the same. Respect for your team, pride in what you do, tenacity in the face of setbacks, and commitment to the goal provides the framework for winning in sport, work, and life.
It can’t be denied that in the case of the Canadian women’s soccer team, teamwork most definitely led to exceptional output.