How to Build a Culture of Trust NFL Style

Not everyone is a football enthusiast. But most of us have been inspired by great stories of a winning football team. We cheered on our favorite players whether watching from a stadium or in the comfort of our own home. We have connected with others by recounting and sharing our favorite stories from the past.

What makes these teams inspiring? What do we see in these players that make us want to be part of their team?

Jeremy Bloom, a former football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, a celebrated Olympian and many times World Cup Grand Champion, has a lot to say when it comes to integrating the factors that makes winning teams in sports into collaboration strategies for other organizations. He put into actions his theories of teamwork NFL-Style when he co-founded a software company that deals with demand generation for marketing five years ago and which currently is raking in exponential growths in revenue.

According to Bloom, trust is the most basic ingredient of any winning team. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, it is the foundation of all relationships. It is the factor that bonds members in the way they function, like having a central brain and several appendages that do exactly as they should. 

A team may have A-1 members… the best doctor, nurse, anesthetist, therapist… with multiple credentials dangling after each of their names… but working as a team, they may fail considerably. Why is this so? One reason is because they have failed to build a culture of trust.

Building Trust in an Organization

According to an article by the Journal of Investigative Medicine, without trust, teams are bound to fail. Now, the question is, how do we build a culture of trust the way they do in winning football teams?

  • Say no to bullying behaviors and promote humility

Bloom makes it clear that in his company, there is no room for bullies. Fear that is sowed by bullying behaviors extinguishes great ideas, team morale and disregards responsibilities, and with these, trust also dies. It is best to teach workers to be humble, speak up for the belittled, and help the aggressor review their work ethics or else, help him get a new home altogether.

  • Make transparency your way of life

Great football players know that without transparency in the team, there can be no trust. It is a natural instinct to protect one’s interest, name or career and hold back on things which may benefit the team. However, an organization doesn' thrive for long when information is withheld from the team or critical knowledge is not shared for personal power.  

Having a common platform whereby rules, guidelines and protocols are readily accessible, increases transparency.  The organization also needs an easy way to elicit feedback to ensure closed-loop communication. And no sugar-coating. If a patient has deteriorated because of an intervention, no amount of fear should stop it from being said so that solutions to rectify the situation can be timely and effectively instituted. 

  • Always debrief to find ways of doing  it better

Make it a point that when you look back at past mistakes, you look for ways not to do it again as a team. Looking back in the past is not meant for people to dwell into it but instead use it as a tool to better the organization. Football teams do not always win. The loser in a major league helps give the winning team their success story. They also give it their all because if not for that, there would be no inspiring game to watch.  Show ownership any time you can and respect others when they do while being careful not to judge or blame.

When a team player makes a mistake, it is hard to trust that person again, especially when the game is on the line. We take matters in our own hands and depend on our skills, thinking that we are saving our own skin in the process. But looking back at mistakes as a team and finding ways to not revisit the same mistake, can open avenues that lead to improvements that individuals often cannot do on their own. The collective effort goes a long way in getting the success we work hard for.

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Collaborative Problem Solving

  • ManageUP can help you build a culture of trust

ManageUP incorporated methodologies from sports teams into the platform because of the core belief the co-founders have regarding how to make healthcare organizations perform at their best. Their unique platform is centered on transparency, gamification and employee engagement that foster trust. To learn more about ManageUP, click here.


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