Michael Jordan said “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Jordan was an extraordinarily talented basketball player, but he recognized that over the long term teamwork trumped individual talent. So what can we learn about business teams from sports teams? Quite a lot, actually. After all, both depend on individuals who are very ambitious, focused and able–and sometimes hard to manage. Both compete in environments where tiny margins make huge differences. And both put personal relationships at risk as rivals have to compete for spots on an elite team.

So here are 10 key points you need to address to keep your team focused and inspired.

1. Have a clear purpose and core values
In order to get somewhere you need to know where you are going and which roads to take. It is the same with the business. Having clear core values, a vision and a mission determines your direction and focuses the company’s future.
2. Hire the right people
Personality assessments and pre-employment testing is imperative if you want not only the best and most talented people, but also want those who are going to be a great fit for your company.
3. Be more selective about your customers
Not everyone is a good customer. By being selective and only marketing your services to potential clients who are a good fit for your core values, you have a better chance of producing a top notch job. However, an example of a bad customer is one who expects everything for nothing and then takes ages to pay their invoice. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
4. Create an inspiring working environment
Inspiration starts with you when you demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for your work on a daily basis. This inspires your workers and motivates them to produce.
5. Foster a strong company culture
Encourage open communication and engagement amongst team members. You should also challenge and reward with small perks. Provide space where team members can relax while brainstorming. Allow mistakes to happen and learn from the mistakes to improve your processes or procedures. Remember, without mistakes there is no progress.
6. Help your team keep a clear mind and focus
Clear mind and focusing helps to keep eyes on the goal. One of the biggest contributors to productivity is the ability to focus. Make sure your teams don’t have to deal with the BS and politics of the workplace. Advocate for them at all times, protect them if necessary.
7. Invest in learning
Leaders should promote a learning culture in the organization while also creating opportunities within the team where the employees can upgrade their knowledge and develop both personally and professionally. Pay for courses, books and experiences that will not only enrich the individual but which will also augment the collective “brains trust”.
8. Support innovation
You can not force creativity, but the right setting will put your team in the right frame of mind to find imaginative solutions. Innovation affords your company the ability to work together, to love what they do, and to produce effective solutions.
9. Treat your people right
Make sure that your staff have the right work/life balance. Running them continuously at 60 hours per week is a sure recipe for burnout – and don’t make them feel guilty for attending their kids track day or having the odd 3 day weekend getaway. We all need to refresh now and again.
10. Have fun
Celebrate achievements and successes by organizing fun activities as a team. Your staff will willingly give you their all, but if they never see any recognition for their efforts, it won’t last long.

Build your team with the above advice in mind, and they will perform like a finely tuned machine.