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  • Writer's pictureMichael Williams

Tackling Change: A humanised approach that is fun, positive and rewarding

Two ice hockey players going in for a tackle.

We all know what makes a sports team a successful one, right? It isn’t luck that makes them the greatest team of all time or the undefeated squad of the season - it is the approach to their training, the dynamics between the players, the coaches and the long-term strategy.

We believe successful organisational change and transformation has a striking resemblance to the dynamics seen in successful sports teams. Just as athletes collaborate, strategise, and adapt to win, effective organisational change hinges on this same approach. At Eight Eights our proven framework is human-centric - following a similar philosophy, strategies and teamwork ethos used by the most successful athletes and sports teams.

So, let’s delve deeper. Exploring the how’s and the why’s on the Eight Eights humanised approach for successful organisational change and transformation. With a few healthy sports analogies thrown in to cut the corporate grey.

Playing by the Human-Centric Rules

In team sports, coaches carefully select players based on their unique strengths, strategically placing them in positions that complement their abilities to confront specific challenges. Similarly, people have an indispensable role within organisational change and transformation. At Eight Eights, we also integrate well-crafted strategies and tactics, focusing on camaraderie and collective effort to cultivate a team environment grounded in collaborative synergy, smooth communication, and shared objectives. This approach sets the stage for the team to thrive, creating the optimal conditions for excellence and peak performance.

Team Dynamics and Synergy

In sports, the synergy among team members often determines the outcome—players understanding each other's strengths, weaknesses, and playing styles to work together seamlessly. A squad celebrated for its extraordinary team dynamics was the 1970 Brazil National Football Team, coached by Mário Zagallo. This team, featuring icons like Pelé and Jairzinho, displayed unparalleled creativity, cohesion, and mutual understanding on the pitch. Their collective brilliance secured a historic third FIFA World Cup title, emphasising the profound impact of exceptional team dynamics in achieving sporting greatness.

Brazil 1970 FIFA World Cup Winning Team

Eight Eights mirrors this within organisational change and transformation - ensuring the environment is positive and fun, so that individuals can thrive amidst change. It focuses on creating synergy among team members, allowing them to complement each other's efforts and collectively drive the change agenda forward.

Coach-Like Leadership

Great sports teams are often backed by exceptional coaches who guide, motivate, and inspire their players. The coaching legend, Phil Jackson, led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to a staggering eleven NBA championships. His transformative leadership transcended traditional strategies, emphasising mindfulness and teamwork. Jackson's ability to meld individual brilliance, as seen with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, solidifies his legacy as one of the greatest coaches in sports history, demonstrating the impact of visionary leadership on achieving victory.

Phil Jackson coaching the Chicago Bulls NBA team.

Eight Eights emphasises leadership roles akin to a coach's guidance. Leaders are encouraged to mentor, provide direction, and lead by example, fostering a culture of trust and guidance throughout the change process.

Game Plan and Strategy

In sports, a well-devised game plan is fundamental to success. A brilliant example of this is the "Miracle on Ice" in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Coach Herb Brooks devised a meticulous game plan for the underdog U.S. hockey team facing the formidable Soviet Union. The strategy emphasised teamwork, discipline and a relentless work ethic where every player knew their role and stuck to it. Brooks' strategy led to an unbelievable historical win (against all odds!), highlighting the vital role of brilliant game plans for victory.

1980 Winter Olympics USA Ice Hockey Team celebrating victory.

Eight Eights emphasises strategic planning in change initiatives. However, one of our key elements that sets us apart from the usual corporate cookie-cutter approach is our integration of human elements into the strategy. At Eight Eights, we acknowledge that your people are …well, people, not pawns on a chessboard or numbers on a page. They are integral contributors whose buy-in and engagement are pivotal for successful execution and champion status.

Training for Resilience

Sports teams undergo rigorous training to build resilience, adaptability, and teamwork. The All Blacks, New Zealand's rugby team, are perhaps the best example of training for resilience. Their multiple Rugby World Cup successes were due to their "no excuses" culture, instilled by coaches like Graham Henry. This approach fosters mental toughness and adaptability, making resilience a cornerstone of the team's unparalleled achievements.

New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team performing the Haka.

Eight Eights promotes this mindset within organisations. It recognises that change can be challenging, and hence, prepares employees for it by fostering a resilient culture. This culture encourages adaptability, openness to learning, and a willingness to embrace new methodologies and technologies.

Celebrating Victories, Learning from Defeats

In sports, celebrating victories and analysing defeats are essential for improvement. Eight Eights advocates for a similar approach within organisations. It encourages celebrating milestones achieved during change while also learning from setbacks. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Championing Team Spirit

The camaraderie and spirit among team members in sports often define success. The Leicester City football team's 2015-2016 Premier League triumph stands as a pinnacle of championing team spirit. Under manager Claudio Ranieri, a squad of overlooked players defied the odds, embodying unity, resilience, and selflessness. Their extraordinary collective effort turned an improbable dream into reality, demonstrating the transformative power of team spirit.

Leicester City FC 2015-2016 Premier League Champions celebrating.

Similarly, Eight Eights focuses on creating a supportive environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered. This sense of belonging and shared purpose enhances morale, encouraging individuals to contribute their best to the change process.

To sum things up

By recognising the significance of people and leveraging teamwork principles, businesses can foster a culture that not only navigates change effectively but thrives amidst it. Just as a winning sports team evolves and improves with each game, organisations embracing the human-centric Eight Eights framework can anticipate a transformative journey towards success in their change initiatives.

Explore today to see how we do things better and make change a fun, positive and rewarding experience!


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