TAGFEE in Sports. I have written about core values before here. I think they are very important to teams, individuals and businesses. Normally I apply things we have learned from elite athletes and sports teams to the people I help in the business world. I do a good bit of team building and teaching corporate entities the value of working more like a sports team then a business unit. I’d like to take some time today and reverse this stratagem. It is not that when I work with sports teams I do not use the things I have learned from being in the business world to help them be efficient, I do, but this is something I want to incorporate more. It is not that these ideas are revolutionary to either the business world or to the sports world. I just happen to like the way that this is laid out in I think a very useful way. To be sure for some teams this will be very alien in nature. If this make your club, team uncomfortable that may be good. If you are the owner, GM or coach just consider how this could make a difference. Maybe there are a few things, if not all you could incorporate. I just want you to consider them for now and we can discuss implementation at a later time.
This idea blossomed in my mind after a meeting I had with Founding President Emeritus of a hi-tech company called SeoMoz, Gillian Muessig. She and her son Rand Fishkin developed this model and Rand has been the chief orator on what they call TAGFEE. I thought what I would do was briefly describe TAGFEE and then apply it to a sports team rather than to a business unit. You can read much more about TAGFEE on SeoMoz.
TAGFEE represents the following. Transparency, Authenticity, Generosity, Fun, Empathy and Exceptionalism. Now if you are a Team Owner, GM or Coach you are thinking this is what we do. We may talk about them differently, but basically this is how we roll. I’ve been involved all of my life in sports. It is not how we roll. For a decade working with my own teams I have been asking players to look at some core values for our teams. While I think I looked at a lot of areas that may have included these themes, I assure you not everything here is covered. I suggest that most teams fail to understand how important having this type of core value is to the running of their organization.
Let’s look closer at what this all means.
Transparency – Sharing your inner workings. This includes finances with everyone on the team. I hear families complain all of the time what are they getting for their money. At the professional levels everyone from the ball boys to the stars should understand the teams goals from A to $$. It’s more than finances it is also process. How do we do evaluations? How do we rate players? What makes us trade or cut a player? What is the basis for contracts? All of these things and more are part of a transparent team. It allows everyone to take part. It gives us needed understanding on how our contribution makes the team stronger.
Authenticity – We should be who we are. We should always represent ourselves internally and to the outside world who we are. We are a team and we are individuals. WE need to be able to be ourselves. That does mean that not everyone will fit on the team, but good teams find ways to allow their players to be authentic. I often see teams try to make players have roles that does not fit their skill sets. The team says it is for the good of the team. I see that and if the player can make it work and become that role then there is not a problem, because it has become authentic for them. Too often I see the opposite. I see unhappy players going through the motions, neither playing well or being satisfied even if the team is winning. In the end it often leads to discontent and team problems.
Generosity -Not just a financial statement, we work as a team to be generous to people inside and outside our organization, and help in whatever ways we can. I work with a team that has just held two benefits to support cancer awareness and to help with the Wounded Warrior project. Their generosity helped the team give something more to their community than wins. Internally it created an awesome feeling for everyone. Now they were part of team and community.
Fun – I am always amazed how often I have to tell players and teams to have fun. Not just in games and at practice, but in their social interactions. I was shocked thirty-nine years ago when I was told first the Ball was the money. I asked what that meant. I was told to do my J.O.B. and catch the ball. This was not about having F.U.N. it was about being professional. It seems to me that football was supposed to be fun. Now winning is fun, competition is fun make no mistake about that, I believe in those things, but I also believe that sports are fun in a different way. They are where the child in us can play. Don’t let things get boring. Allow laughter. Make players want to work hard at practice because it is fun. Yes there are always things to do that are tedious. Do them with a partner and laugh and you will accomplish so much more.
Empathy – putting ourselves into the minds of others and feeling their pain, their happiness, their challenges, and their desires. In fact, empathy is at the root of every other core value we have. Without empathy can you understand what your backup feels? Do you get the pressure the star quarterback has to deal with on a daily bases? When coaches understand players and players understand management it makes for a fundamentally better environment. As a player realizing that your coach only wants the best out of you and the team. Understanding they may be under stress. This level of empathy leads us in wonderful directions because it enables us to push ourselves to new places not just for ourselves, but for those around us.
Exceptionalism -SeoMoz describes this as uniquely remarkable and I like this. It doesn’t mean be real good. Not every team is great. Not every team can win. We can as a team always strive to be exceptional and uniquely ourselves. When we do this we may find that we play at a higher level. I’ve been a Denver Bronco fan since I did some work for them in the late 70’s. Last year without (my opinion) a real NFL quarterback (Tebow) they got themselves into the playoffs and even won a playoff game. Why? Perhaps because they found who they were and played to those strengths. They were uniquely remarkable. I prefer them as they are today to be sure with Payton Manning, but I think what we say was instructive.
Come up with your teams core values. Take a moment and see if TAGFEE fits into what you want to accomplish. Trust in your values. If they are true core values you will stay with them no matter what. I believe what it does in the long-term serves you very well. You will have players and staff around you that fit into your team culture. If it is critical to business, it is critical to a sports team as well. Take some time it will be worth the effort. Give me a call and I can help you take your team / company forward.
This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author