“When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad because they'd do the same for you. “ Yogi Berra
- He was selected in the first round of the 1967 NBA draft and won two NBA titles throughout his 13 year career.
- During one of his most inspirational games during an NBA championship, he scored 36 points and had 19 assists.
- He holds the Knick’s record for most assists: 4,971.
- He was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987 and was recognized as one of the 50th most influential and greatest players in NBA history.
- He was a sports commentator for 16 years with the Knick’s organization.
Who was Walt Frazier?
What attributes helped him to accomplish these goals?
- Walt Frazier was born the oldest of 9 children in Atlanta Georgia in 1945.
- Although Frazier became one of the greatest players in NBA history, he never thought he was good enough to make it in the NBA. His mother told him during his adolescence years that if he was going to go anywhere in life he would need to have a plan. So, Frazier developed a plan to work on his skills and practice religiously to perfect the fundamentals.
- Frazier also contributes his ability to overcome adversity to enduring discrimination in his childhood. In his book, “The Game within the Game,” he discusses the challenge of growing up during a time where being black meant people did not expect much from you but his parents used this to motivate him to strive for excellence in everything he did.
- His attitude about practicing also had a hand in shaping his abilities. He believed that talent could only take you so far and that without a continuous improvement philosophy, along with a regimental workout cadence, he would only go so far. Once you reach a high level of proficiency, you can only get better by striving for excellence and mastering the fundamentals.
- Frazier was a leader that also enhanced the playing of his teammates. He was known as one of the greatest not only because of his scoring ability, but also because of his passing and assisting others to be great.
What can we learn from Walt Fraizer?
1) Team work makes the Dream work. Without a strong team you are limited in what you can accomplish. With a strong team and the right people who possess the right skills, there are no limits. A great model for developing teamwork is the “Model of Team Progress” in The Team Handbook which I have outlined below. This book is also featured in my "Book of the Month" section of the blog.
2) Model of Team Progress
a) Clarify Goals
i) Discuss and clarify the team charter. (Why does this team exist?)
ii) Create a team improvement plan. (How can we get better at what we are chartered to accomplish?)
b) Educate and build the team
i) Start building the team. (As Jim Collins author of Good to Great would say, “Get the right people on the bus.”)
ii) Set ground rules and logistics. (What are the rules of engagement?)
iii) Educate team members about the process to improvement. (Teach the team continuous improvement techniques such as Theory of Constraints (TOC), Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), Lean, or other process improvement methodologies.)
iv) Provide tools and technique training for your team as needed.
c) Investigate the process
i) Describe the process or problem. (Develop a problem statement that everyone agrees with.)
ii) Investigate the root cause of the problem. (What is the real problem we are trying to solve?)
iii) Test your assumptions and refine the information you have collected.
d) Analyze data & seek solutions
i) Identify patterns in the data. (Do you see trends in the data that will help you identify the root cause?)
ii) Can you identify any variation in the data?
iii) Propose at least three solutions and additional alternative solutions.
iv) Select and test the solution.
e) Take appropriate actions
i) Loop back for further investigation. (Did the pilot or test prove to solve the problem?)
ii) Standardize the selected solution’s process and procedures.
iii) Monitor and evaluate the results of implementing the solution.
iv) Document any changes or progress.
i) Evaluate the team’s progress. (How did we do as a team?)
ii) Conduct a Lesson Learn Review.
iii) Did the team achieve the results as expected?
iv) Update the process and / or procedures as needed.
v) Conduct a final presentation on how the problem was identified and solved.
vi) Document and recommend any action items or follow up activities.
- Source: The Team Handbook 3rd Edition by Scholtes, Joiner, and Streibel (page 3-58).
- The Game within the Game by Walt Fraizer.
What have you learned from working as a team member or from leading teams? What team development activities have helped you develop great teams?
Principles of Execution Key Concepts:
- Walt Fraizer
- Team Work
Share your ideas or thoughts!