Leading Legacy Teams


I have heard the word “team” used hundreds if not thousands of times since leaving the NFL in 1988 and entering the corporate world. CEOs, presidents, managers, and front-line employees have all spoken the word “team” without ever really knowing how a true team behaves or what it can accomplish. I also know that you don’t leave building a team to chance, because people can form some sort of team without you. Being intentional in everything you do is critical to forming a winning team.

I have come to understand that there are essentially four types of teams. There are teams in name only, good teams, great teams, and then there are legacy teams. When I ask audiences how many have been on a great team, a number of people will raise their hands. I find that those who raised their hands evaluate a great team based on tangible criteria, such as winning a championship or having the leading scorer. But legacy teams are much more than that.

I’ve learned about legacy teams from great coaches I’ve been fortunate to play for during my 22 years of playing competitive sports. I have taught these legacy team concepts to clients and many have embraced the legacy team model and adopted it into their culture with great success. Sites of the legendary Ritz-Carlton Resorts have embraced it. Marriott has embraced it. Shell Oil and the US Navy have embraced it; and others are beginning to realize that being a team is more than just working under the banner of your company name.  I’ll explain the characteristics of legacy teams in coming blogs.