In a team setting, the development of shared values can contribute to a sense of tribe, and help influence the players to work together towards a common goal. Shared values refer to the common beliefs, attitudes, and principles that are held by all team members. These values can provide a framework for how the team operates and functions, and they guide the behavior and decision-making of each individual player.
Shared values are important for several reasons. Firstly, they help to build team cohesion and unity. When players share common values, they are more likely to work together towards a common goal, and to support each other through challenges and setbacks. This creates a strong sense of tribe, which is a key part of the NWSF DNA.
Secondly, shared values help to establish a team culture that is conducive to high performance. When all players are aligned around a common set of values, they are more likely to engage in behaviors that support the team’s success. For example, they may be more willing to put in extra effort during training, to communicate effectively during games, and to prioritize team goals over individual achievements.
Finally, shared values can help to prevent and resolve conflicts within the team. When all players are operating from a common set of principles and beliefs, it is easier to address disagreements and misunderstandings in a constructive way. This can help to maintain a positive team atmosphere, and to prevent conflicts from escalating into more serious issues.
Overall, the development of shared values is crucial for the success of any soccer team. By establishing a common set of principles and beliefs, teams can build cohesion, establish a high-performance culture, and prevent and resolve conflicts.
The process of developing shared values within a team should be thoughtful, methodical and deliberate. A rushed process, or an ad-hoc one, may not be effective, especially to create buy-in from players. This buy-in is important so that they feel a sense of ownership, which will in turn create motivation to align to and engage with the team values.
A simple starting point with any team is to ask, in a group setting, what are some key words they would like to describe the team. In this group setting, it is important the conversation is open, and everyone feels they can contribute. To facilitate this, you may arrange the seating in a circle (so all players can see and hear each other). Alternatively, you could begin the discussion by having players speak in pairs, then finding a new pair to share what they have discussed.
Some further questions that can be used to stimulate this group discussion include:
- When people watch our team, what words should they use?
- What is important to you as an individual in our team?
- At the end of the season, how do you want to describe the feeling of being part of this team?
- If someone came into our environment, how would they feel?
Coaches can support this process by contributing their own ideas, and encouraging others to share theirs. Try to involve all players in this process. This can include asking different individuals to share their responses, or using a whiteboard to note down the key ideas being shared.
If a group is particularly struggling, you may have a pre-prepared list of values/words handy. Players could then identify which words stand out to them.
- Hard work
- Fair play
- Positive attitude
Now, you should have a list of potential values. The next step is to refine these into a shorter, more achievable and actionable list – no more than 5 is generally a realistic amount for teams to remember and align towards.
This process may be facilitated by:
- Conducting a group vote on the values that most resonate with the majority of players
- Completing a survey (such as a Google Form) to rank potential values from most important to least important
- Asking players to come up with 1-2 sentences that expand on each value and what it means in the team context
As you go through this step, you may find words will change, or new values will emerge. This is a natural part of the process and actually demonstrates buy-in from players.
It is important to continue to make this a shared process. Constantly try to involve all players through questions and discussion. If one or two players are dominating the conversation, try to redirect follow up questions or discussion points to other players so they have an opportunity to contribute. For larger squads, you may split them into smaller groups to workshop a specific value.
Specifically, try to ensure the team identifies specific actions and behaviours that bring their values to life. This creates clarity around what is expected, and helps keep players accoutnable to what is expected.