What all teams can learn from Team USA Basketball

Throughout the Olympics you never heard any single player from Team USA talk about their individual roles. From Lebron James down to Anthony Davis, everyone bought into the concept of being part of a team, and representing country. At the end of the Gold Medal game against Spain Coach K talked about attitude, and how each player on Team USA was willing to do whatever they were asked, even if that meant sacrificing time on the court or the number of shots they took.

Team USA realized that the Olympics and the larger movement was bigger than any one of their egos or individual achievements. Each player knew exactly what they were working towards - the gold medal.

In any team environment and within any organization it's important that each member of the team not only understands the what, but the why. It's not only what role you play, but why you're playing that role. The why for players on Team USA was representing country, winning gold, and being the best.

Awhile back I was watching Simon Sinek's TED Talk on how great leaders inspire action. He talks about the power of the "why" in detail.

At Digital DUMBO, we've recently adopted the mission statement of "cultivating and connecting communities at the intersection of digital and culture." As a team, we try to understand how every small step and task works towards this goal.

As an example, a couple of months ago I asked our community manager to go back through every event we've ever hosted on Eventbrite and do a data dump of the names, job titles, companies, and email addresses of all the people that had attended a Digital DUMBO event. This was a painful task, but we discussed its importance. Our list (ie. our community) is the single greatest asset that we have.

Without our community, we're nothing.

30,000+ rows of data later, she literally cultivated our community and helped us learn more about each of our members. She was also exposed to the history of each of our events and our growth first-hand. We now use this asset as a way to conduct partner outreach, lend insight to our programming and content for future events, and make informed decisions about where to take Digital DUMBO next. It's our cornerstone.

A painful task turned into a greater experience.

What's the why of your organization? Why do you get out of bed in the morning?