Closed Circle

I just watched “The Heart of the Game“, a documentary about the Roosevelt Roughrider’s girl’s basketball team (my old high school).

At key moments, the coach called a closed circle meeting where the players went off by themselves coming back with resolution or a group decision.

In the first example, the team worked through tension between players resulting in dramatically better play — going from tight games to blowing out opponents.

In the second example, the team rallied around a player at the risk of forfeiting their season.

As reward for their camaraderie and commitment, the coach made sure every player received game time during the close-fought final championship game. What’s more, the starters rallied around his decision. The younger players not only held their own but played above themselves.

There’s a lot of hype about teamwork in business and self-directed teams in agile practice. A lot of managers look to sports as an example. Rarely do we pull it off.

At the end of the day, it’s about actions that value the group as much as the individuals and actions that source from trust to earn trust.

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.

One thought on “Closed Circle

  1. Wow – what a coincidence. I just saw the same documentary this week. It is an amazing doc. What I thought was interesting about the “circle” – pay attention to the moment when they are in the locker room at halftime. Who is coaching the team on adjustments? The players are; they are so busy talking amongst themselves about who to guard, how to guard them, where the openings in their opponents defenses are that the real coach doesn’t have much more to add. It was a great example of a self-organizing group.

    When I watched that doc all I could think was: I would want my daughter to play for that guy.

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