Pushing Team Barbados
Lately, I have been immersed in the play-off games in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Of the 30 teams who began the season, all but eight have been eliminated. With each ensuing level, the competition becomes fiercer and those with elite skills must also bring stamina, focus and a tenacity of purpose.
Only a few of the teams in the league had a realistic chance to compete for the championship so they occupied themselves with trying to build gradually toward a higher level of competitiveness.
Even if they did not win often, the owners, fans and media demand maximum effort and signs of improvement to remain supportive.
After all, this league represents the pinnacle of the sport and the players are considered the best of the best and compensated accordingly.
The objective of each of these teams is to become champions of the world for one year. The convergence and coordination of resources marshalled for this purpose is stupendous and involves a plethora of technology, talent, training, logistics and financial fortitude.
It occurred to me that Barbados has enjoyed an elevated status among nations. Its literacy is legendary. The economic and political stability combines with a relative tranquillity attracts repeat visitors and many, like me, who have come here to live. Many countries envy the level and quality of direct foreign investmentwe have been able to attract.
While we place a lot of pressure on government to lead us out of these extended economic doldrums, it is fair to ask if we are on the team, or a disparate group of individuals and organizations breaking for themselves? It is easy to agree that our chances for success are better if we are unified in the pursuit of a healthy, nurturing nation. The more difficult part is identifying what we must do have an effective, cohesive team.
Since we all wish to enjoy the benefits, how can we as individuals, become better teammates? What are the characteristics of a good teammate? To me, a good teammate is:
• An enabler; one who recognizes the immediate challenges and opportunities that must be met to move forward. This person is conscious of attitudes and behaviours that can be stumbling blocks and seeks to minimize them.
• An encourager; one who seeks to acknowledge the contributions of others and build upon them to create synergy.
• Disciplined; is committed to staying at the top of their game through attention to detail and an openness to correction and improvement.
• Reliable: one whose promise is a bond. Who also recognizes the limits of their ability and is able to ask for help before everyone is compromised by their inability to deliver.
• Respectful; one who recognizes the humanness in each person and seeks to facilitate understanding of needs that may be difficult to articulate. This respect also extends to recognizing how the various elements of diversity can affect the circumstances in play.
• Humble; recognizes that the exercise of power and authority incurs a responsibility to consciously assist the development of others. Also recognizes that all that we have is a gift from God meant for our use to help others.
All of these characteristics ebb and flow in each of us. When we seek to practise them wherever we are; we are then helping the team.
• Dennis Strong is founding president at the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants.