Does Your Team Have Swing?
Every team faces adversity in their business. Even when things are going well, there are times when it feels like we’re rowing against the tide. It’s both easier and faster when we’re all rowing together.
In his book, The Boys in the Boat, about the 1936 Olympic rowing team, Daniel James Brown talks about a phenomenon that occurs in rowing called “swing.”
Here’s what he says:
“There is a thing that sometimes happens in rowing that is hard to achieve and hard to define. Many crews, even winning crews never really find it. Others find it but can’t sustain it. It’s called “swing.” It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of sync with those of all others. It’s not just that the oars enter and leave the water at precisely the same instant. Sixteen arms must begin to pull, sixteen knees must begin to fold and unfold, eight bodies must begin to slide forward and backward, eight backs must bend and straighten all at once. Each minute action—each subtle turning of the wrist—must be mirrored exactly by each oarsman, from one end of the boat to the other. Only then will the boat continue to run, unchecked, fluidly and gracefully between pulls of the oars. Only then will it feel as if the boat is part of each of them, moving as if on its own. Only then does pain entirely give way to exultation. Rowing then becomes a king of perfect language. Poetry, that’s what a good swing feels like.”
That passage is powerful—poetry indeed! Because Leadership Teams can have swing, too. Here’s what it looks like:
- Each team member knows his or her role, is extremely skilled at it, and is ready to act in sync with the rest of the team
- Everyone is striving for the same goal and no one is, or tries to be, more important than the others—it’s a team of equals
- Each team member possesses and lives the values of the organization
- Each team member has committed, in both mind and heart, to the vision of the organization, and is ready and willing to dig deep to achieve it
- Each team member trusts the others to do their part without looking over his or her shoulder
- Everyone communicates with complete openness, honesty and transparency—hidden or held back
On a team like this, there are no politics. There’s no blame game. There’s stellar collaboration and stellar execution. Sweet Success! Who wouldn’t want their organization to have swing?
The good news is that if you want swing in your business, you can have it. Because what Brown describes for rowers is exactly what EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, provides for Leadership Teams and the companies they run.
If that sounds good to you, let us know. We’d love to show you how you can make it happen!