Developing and retaining talent

10 July 2018

Creating effective teams for success

Developing & Retaining Talent with Peter Bell: Connect Event highlights

Peter Bell speaks at the Bankwest Connect Event, Developing and Retaining Talent.

Video transcript (PDF)

The success of teams isn’t dependent on simply “busting your gut” but requires individuals to focus externally, rather than solely on their own tasks at hand, according to AFL great Peter Bell.

The former North Melbourne and Fremantle player has been a part of some of the very best AFL sides in the modern era, as well as teams that have struggled to perform.

Peter won 2 AFL premierships during his time playing for North Melbourne Kangaroos between 1996 and 2000, before moving to a young Fremantle Dockers team in 2001 when the side suffered 17 consecutive losses, which culminated in the sacking of the club’s coach.

Peter said poor performing teams, in football or in business, weren’t necessarily a result of lack of effort from team members.

“What I realised, when teams are performing poorly, it’s not because they’re not trying. What happens is everyone becomes very insular you just worry about your own job,” Peter told an audience of small business owners at a recent Bankwest Connect Event.

“Everyone is trying, you’re busting your gut, but it’s not a team effort, it’s very individual.”

“In successful teams, not only are you doing your own job very well, but you have the ability to make your team mates job a little easier as well,” he said.

Taking a genuine interest in your team mates

The year after Peter moved to the Fremantle Dockers, he was named captain – a title which he held for 5 seasons – and he led the club to its first finals campaign.

As captain, Peter said he made a point of always sitting with different team mates, be it in the lunch room, on the plane after an away game or during training, so he could get to know the whole team on a personal level.

He would ask his team mates questions about their life off the football field, where they’ve come from and the challenges they’ve faced.

“It sounds like a very small thing, but if you can get yourself out of your comfort zone and learn about the people that you work with, who are in your organisation, if they feel like you care, they will do a better job for you,” he said.

Handing over trust and providing direction to retain staff

Having trust in people was also another way to get more from your team and retain staff, Peter said.

“Trust is a massive part of how football clubs achieve success,” he said.

“The coach trusts the players, and they become engaged, so they have ownership of what they’re doing.

“Hold the team members accountable, but back them in when they do make a few mistake as they go along.”

Additionally, he said organisations needed to provide a clear path for their team mates in order to retain staff.

“They (team members) need to believe in the organisation, you need to map it out for them and get them to invest in it. Human nature is you want to be somewhere where you’re comfortable and where you’re valued.”

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