The most important team at any youth sports tournament is the team that produces the tournament. Without this team, the entire tournament falls apart. But, how do you build a team that works together to create the best experience possible for your sponsors, participants and spectators. Having produced cheerleading competitions for years before starting Team Travel Source, and having watched tournament producers across the country for years since, we believe that it all starts and ends with the seven C’s.
You Win In The Locker Room First
In You Win In The Locker Room First, Jon Gordon and Mike Smith lay the 7 C’s out in a beautiful fashion. We suggest you not only read this book yourself, but that you share it with your team. This will help them to understand what you are trying to build and how they can be a part of it.
The 7 C’s
The first thing we want to say is that the seven C’s are not just buzzwords. You can’t write them down, show them to your team and have them work. But when you put them into practice, you will find your team working together and achieving their goals faster and more efficiently than you ever believed possible.
We can give you a quick summary of the book, but the lessons shared by the two writers go far beyond the short synopsis below. Some members of our team have read and re-read the book multiple times, telling us they learn something new every time they read it.
If you follow our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages, you will notice that Team Travel Source is about culture above all else. We understand that our employees are a part of a team that goes beyond the walls of our offices. The culture we build within those walls spreads through everything we do and everything we touch.
Jon Gordon says it so well, “Culture drives expectations and beliefs; expectations and beliefs drive behavior; behaviour drives habits; and habits create the future. It all starts with culture.”
Whether you are just building your team or you are rebuilding a team that hasn’t functioned well before, you must start with culture. The simple way to think of culture is to start defining who you are, what you are trying to accomplish and most importantly, what you stand for. Once you know that and build your team around that, you can create the culture that works best for your team.
This is one that almost doesn’t need to be said, but it is one that is easy to forget. Attitude and work ethic is contagious. We have seen it both ways on teams across the country. We have watched a team thrive because one member of their team has such a positive attitude and work ethic that the entire team falls in line behind them. And we have seen teams completely fall apart, often with no clue what happened until a certain team member leaves. Suddenly with the negative energy out of the office or off the field, the team begins to grow again. Who is most contagious in your office?
Planning a tournament is a long process. It is easy to let your values and mission fluctuate over that time but if you can avoid the fluctuations and remain consistent, your team will achieve more than ever before. The best example of consistency can be seen on the field. Your young athletes come into the tournament in different levels of fitness. The ones who do the best across every tournament we have been a part of are the ones who are consistent. Consistent in their training, consistent in their philosophy and consistent in their mission. Everything they do builds on this consistency. Helping your team be consistent is a huge step in making your tournament one of the top in the country.
We recently overheard the parents of an elite teams talking about the coach. We heard questions, “Did you understand what he meant?” “When is that event again?” “Are we supposed to be there too?” The coach was phenomenal with the girls on the field but when he stepped off the field, when practice was over, he stopped communicating. It’s easy to see how the frustration of the parents will lead to frustrations by the players and eventually leave the coach scratching his head trying to figure out what went wrong.
When planning a tournament, it is important that you delegate. This means creating committees to handle each area of the tournament. If you are really great at delegating, it is easy to stop communicating. This is a mistake many tournament producers make and most often when we see a tournament fall apart, it is because of this lack of communication. The chapter on communication, digs deeper into the importance of communicating with every member of your team on a regular basis. Communication builds on itself with every conversation and makes your team stronger. But most importantly, communicating with your team shows them that you are invested and that you care.
Communication when done right, leads to connections. We have all seen the team that is less about the team and more about the star players. While these teams can do well when playing teams at a lower level, we know they are only as good as those star players. Once that player is neutralized the team falls apart. Don’t believe us? Watch what has happened with the Argentina men’s soccer team. When Lionel Messi is no longer a threat the team resorts to less than sportsman-like behavior and completely falls apart. How are you creating connections on your team? We love the ideas Mike Smith has in the chapter on connections. Whether it is team dinners, mystery chef or holiday celebrations he does a great job of helping his entire organization connect.
How committed are you to your team, to your goal, to your mission? How committed is your team, your sponsors, and the city or county that is hosting your event? Commitment starts with you as a leader. If you show true commitment to your event and mission, your team should follow. If they aren’t, go back to communication. What is stopping them from making the commitment and how can you help?
Your tournament is important. It is not just an event. You tournament has the opportunity to make or break a young athlete’s athletic career. It has the ability to boost the economy of the city or county hosting your event. You should absolutely care about the tournament, the sponsors and the venue. But more importantly you should care about your team. If you take care of your team, if you care how they are doing, they will build your tournament. They will help you create something that exceeds all expectations. But they have to know you care. How are you showing them this?
We believe that great leaders are always learning. Sometimes learning comes in the form of life lessons. But a true leader will seek out lessons through books, podcasts, webinars and more.