Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Team Building Sessions

For the last thirteen seasons or so, I have been doing team building sessions with the (American) football team at Southern Illinois University. The Salukis have enjoyed some tremendous success and some rather middling results in those years. The team building does not find its value in the results, as in wins or losses, rather in the results as measured in relationships and leadership development. I also did an abbreviated form of this process with a local high school girls volleyball program with similar outcomes.

This year’s team building took a significantly different style than past years, but I am pleased with the results so far. An outline of the process is below and the outcome of the process is at the bottom. Please give it a look and let me know if you have questions about it or if you’d like to tailor something for your team.

Saluki Football Team Building – 2015

Session 1 – Saturday 8 August – 6:30 pm (one hour)
  • Welcome and introductory comments by Roger. (15 minutes)
  • Bart Scott’s challenge in April – “What defines a Saluki Football Player?”
  • Some thoughts from Saluki Football Alumni (handout)
  • What shall we say is the mission of Saluki Football 2015? (handout)
  • Throughout the preseason, we will discuss this, develop a definition of a Saluki Football player and write a mission statement for 2015 SIU Football. 
  • This handout is for you to write down your thoughts. Deliver your thoughts to me at any time. We will discuss and develop this together.
  • Players are grouped by Alpha Dawg teams to interview and introduce the new players.
  • Alpha Dawg Captains interview the new players with these questions: (15 minutes)
    • What is your name, your uniform number, and your position?
    • Tell us a little about your home town.
    • Why did you come to SIU to play football?
    • How much are you willing to sacrifice to be a Saluki Football player?
  • Each Alpha Dawg Captain introduces his new teammate(s) to the team at large – 90 players. (30 minutes)
Session 2 – Monday 10 August – 7:30 pm (30 minutes)
  • Review “What defines a Saluki Football Player?” ideas to date.
  • Review 2015 Saluki Football mission statement ideas to date.
  • Discussion of ideal characteristics:
    • Whose name comes to mind when you hear, “Saluki Football Player”?
    • How would you describe that player? What made him special?
    • Let’s use these next two sessions to nail down our list of the characteristics that make a Saluki Football Player.
Session 3 – Wednesday 12 August – 2:30 pm (one hour)
  • Review “What defines a Saluki Football Player?” ideas to date.
  • Review 2015 Saluki Football mission statement ideas to date.
  • What are the important factors in the daily process of being a Saluki Football team?
  • What are the values that shape how you go about the daily process?
  • Who are the people for whom you go through the process of playing Saluki Football?
  • Narrow the list of defining characteristics of a Saluki Football Player. (Aim for 4-8)
  • Write a first draft of the 2015 Saluki Football Mission statement.
Session 4 – Saturday August 15 – 6:30 pm (60 minutes)
  • Finalize – What defines a Saluki Football Player?
  • A Saluki Football Player is:
    • Relentless
    • Passionate
    • Selfless
    • Resilient
  • Finalize – Saluki Football Mission statement
    • “Saluki Football will build a legacy through relentless effort, passionate play, selfless character, and resilience… The time is now!”
Upon completion of these sessions and the team’s completion of their definition of a Saluki Football player, as well as their mission statement, I submitted the ideas to the head coach and made a couple of edits. He then reviewed the players’ work with the coaching staff and they were all enthusiastic about the results. The head coach has incorporated these ideas in his daily remarks, we are preparing banners for the inside of our locker room and another one to take on the road to be in the locker rooms for road games.

My aim in this and all team building sessions is always twofold: to build the community of the team by establishing identity, trust, and commitment among the players and to build the culture of the program through discussion of its values. I hope this discussion is of value to you and to those you serve.

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