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It's. A. Team. Sport.

When you hear the word ‘team’ what comes to mind?

Is it the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers that consisted of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Rick Fox and a host of complimentary players that ended up winning the 2001 NBA Championship? 

Or maybe it’s the 2014-2015 New England Patriots that consisted of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Darelle Revis and a host of complimentary players that ended up winning the 2015 NFL Championship? 

Or is it the 2015 U.S. Women’s soccer team that consisted of Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd and a host of complimentary players that ended up winning the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup? 

If you haven’t noticed a recurring theme, a team is a group of individuals that come together for a common cause. BusinessDictionary.com defines a team as “a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.” 

Sports are known for their ability to mesh people together that have different capabilities, skillsets, and even views on life. The teams listed above are well rounded groups. Sure they may have their fair shares of first ballot hall of famers, but it takes a team effort to win a championship. To complement the superstars and their festering egos, you must have the role players that are low maintenance. The glue guys/girls that don’t get a lot of playing time, but are on the team for moral support and can step up to the plate if called on.

And let’s not forget the coach that must know their personnel and which pieces of the puzzle fit together to deliver the desired masterpiece. Along with the coach, there are captains, who serve as the voice of the team and must make sound decisions. Most importantly, the position of captain is given to those individuals whom the rest of the team respect and trust to lead the team in the right direction.

As a former student athlete, I have been part of a handful of teams, some good and some bad. I have had teammates with different cultural backgrounds, political views, sexual preferences, and varying skillsets. However each person played a role on the team. More importantly, each teammate put aside their differences to come together for a common goal.

The great thing about sports is there are many parallels that carry over after your playing days are long gone.

The great thing about sports is there are many parallels that carry over after your playing days are long gone. One take-a-way is the experience of being on a team. Teams are needed in sports to compete in a game. The goal is typically to outscore or outlast your competitor. Score is kept in sports to distinguish who won an event, but the scoreboard often comes with a game clock that will eventually hit zero, indicating the end of a game, season, or career.

The first thing I noticed after my playing days were over was that in the corporate world you are part of a ‘team.’ In the startup world you ‘team up’ with other people. If you are a business owner, you have a ‘team’ you are working with to handle your accounting, HR, production, and marketing.

Again, no successful person has reached their pinnacle without some teamwork. As a member of the corporate world, I can’t count how many times I have heard the phrase, “What team are you on?” The question has zero to do with sports, in fact, it's gauging my line of work, who I report to, and the type of activities I’m involved in pertaining to the company.

Just because my new team isn’t formed to outscore the other team, it is still a group of people that must come together for a common cause, outperforming our competitors. Under the tutelage, direction, and strategy from stakeholders, companies form teams to produce quality goods and services that yield a profit. As I eluded to earlier, entrepreneurs, business owners, and creatives alike often are parts of teams that are constructed to carry out an idea that could lead to a world-changing product.

Even though you can’t play your respective sport forever, you will inevitably be on a team again, because at the end of the day success is a team sport...


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Layden Williams is a former collegiate basketball player at Catawba College. After his playing days were over, Layden earned his MBA and currently resides in Charlotte, NC where he is an up-and-coming author and compliance professional in the banking industry. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.