Kansas City Royals: The Ultimate Display of Teamwork

As many of you know – especially if you are a baseball fan! – there is a LOT of hoopla going on around the Kansas City Royals. With over 800,000 people attending the celebratory parade earlier this week, and the sea of blue clothing, ball caps, and Royals logo wear is in every store you enter, folks from Iowa to Arkansas and Oklahoma to Kentucky cannot help but know that the Royals won the World Series. It’s awesome!

Although I am a transplant to the KC area, I am proud to be part of the energy and excitement of the KC Royals and their huge victory. As someone who works with teams, helps to develop teams and promote teamwork, though, I have a unique perspective on the Royals and the journey to their win that I would like to share.

To “Fail Forward” is to fail with the intention of learning. Last season, the Royals lost in the last game. The club made it as close as possible to winning the series without actually securing the trophy. In retrospect, it seems they practiced the mindset of failing forward. Losing in 2014 was not an ending point. Their “failure” last season was a first step this season to their success.

Second, the Royals embodied team. They were all playing with a common goal. No one person had

more to contribute than any other. The team was going to win or nobody would win. This mindset fundamental to teamwork in every form showed up in every game, every interview and ultimately in their winning the series.

Third, the community of fans who rallied around Kansas City’s sluggers was unrivaled. People of all ages supported them, cheered for them, and believed in them long before their big game win. Throughout the season, the team and their loyal followers acted as if they had already won. There was no time for hoping, praying, begging, or wishing. The Royals played from day one with the mindset that they had in fact already won.

Lastly, and most importantly, the Royals players, coaches and staff were committed to each other and the game plan they had for the 2015 season. Their goal to win the World Series was declared at the beginning. Setting forth into the 2015 season with a commitment to this goal created clarity and helped each team member refine and implement the skills necessary to take the best-of-seven playoff series. This commitment created the mechanics, or the ‘how to.’ Not the other way around. Says KC Royals Manager, Ned Yost:

I just knew it was a matter of time before we did it. I saw our players come into Spring Training with the same determined attitude and they were very convicted that this was going to be our year. So, for me, it was just like I had the answer beforehand. When they asked the question I had the answer.

So many people plan the ‘how to’ first and then set goals. I personally believe, and witnessed by watching the Royals win 4 games to 1 this past week, that our commitment drives success and uncovers all the mechanics necessary.

Let’s recap the lessons our World Series winners have taught us about what it means to be a team:

  • Consider challenges as opportunities to “Fail Forward.” Fail with the intention of learning and becoming better.

  • Embody a common goal. Work as one towards that goal rather than as individuals.

  • Rally, support, cheer, and believe! Act as if the goal has already been achieved.

  • Commit to the goal first. The mechanics, or ‘how to’ will follow.

The past two weeks have been so inspiring as we watched exceptional, effective teamwork unfold. Thank you, Kansas City Royals, for giving us the MLB Championship title…and so much more!

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