At last evening's Strength and Conditioning session we had 20 student-athletes, the best number thus far two weeks into our summer conditioning program. It was great to hear about your group runs and team building. I can't help but be confident this year will be rewarding for a great group of kids and the coaching staff. The enthusiasm of our athletes is infectious and I left WHRHS thinking each year here has proven to be better than the last and this year promises to be no different. I am truly blessed for this opportunity.
Last night I was asked by one of the athletes, "What is our team culture?" And frankly I was unable to respond immediately. First, I wasn't quite sure why the question was asked, and later learned it came out of the Captain's Council meeting. Second, I had no idea how to answer the question without putting some thought into it. After many years of working in both the public and private sectors I am familiar with "culture" in the workplace. I've always thought of it in terms of values, expectations, work environment and the like. But how is that defined in a high school cross country team? So this morning I put together a list of possible "culture" traits. The words that came to mind?
One for All/All for One
Can that be condensed into a simply defined team "culture"? I don't know and honestly, I don't think I want to try. Much of what we all hope to accomplish is far greater than a single statement or concept. Every element I can come up with is important to our team "culture." And I'm certain each of you can add to that list. So my long winded, verbose response (aren't they all?) to the question of "What is our team culture?" is that you must define your own culture. And more importantly, you must bring that to the team.
In the business world I've always felt it was primarily the employees and not necessarily management that ultimately determined success or failure. And so it is with a high school cross country team. The coaching staff doesn't run a single competitive mile. You run them all. Each of you knows what it is that makes you good at what you do. Share that with a teammate. Help your teammate achieve his or her potential and help guide them toward success. That will serve to enhance our team "culture" certainly. My final addition to that list, and perhaps the best thing any of us can do as a teammate?