What “The Fighter” Can Teach Us About Building Teams

During a long flight this weekend, I had the chance to watch “The Fighter.” Without spoiling it too much, the film follows a welterweight boxer from a small town on his road to world champion. Coming from a large, highly involved household of boxing fanatics, the fighter must choose between his old team – his family, who despite their flaws have taken him this far – and a new team of virtual strangers to take him the distance.

What I liked about this film was the incredibly realistic illustration of the challenges and conflicts which come about as a result of creating and maintaining effective teams. The Fighter has to ultimately decide which was more important: returning the loyalty of his family, his longtime team, or taking his chances with new talent. However, neither the “old” nor “new” teams trust one another, nor do they feel that the “other” had what it takes to achieve victory.

What real-world lessons can be drawn here? As a manager, you, The Fighter, are trying to build your team as you strive to reach your business goals. Does your current team have the experience and expertise to take you to where you need to go, or are they basing their counsel more on instinct than on know-how? Likewise, how skilled are the new team members at building upon the successes and lessons of the past, as they bring their own perspectives to the table? Can members reconcile their differences in order to get things done?

I think the central issue here is trust. Without mutual trust, old and new team members simply won’t be able to develop the kind of working relationship which will result in smart decision making, sound advice, open communication and, ultimately, increased revenue. As a manager, it is crucial to foster an environment where team members old and new maintain an honest professional relationship with each other, as well as with you.

Instilling trust among team members is no easy task. However, when creating teams which are effective, efficient and productive, there truly is no better alternative. What do you think?

Leave a response below – I trust you.

(FYI I am currently on the road, and my posts this week will appear more sporadically; I’ll be back with my usual daily posts next week, complete with pretty pictures and all)

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