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A fundamental success factor of any sports franchise is the four-syllable fun word dubbed "togatherness".
The word conveys several messages in it various definitions, all of which speak to building overall team spirit.
"Togatherness" is an adverb indicating that people are physically gathering with common purpose.
Other meanings include being and interacting with one another, by joint effort, becoming in contact, integrated coherent structure.
Simply put, "togetherness" means setting and unifying a mission to gather or attract people for a movement.
Think about it, a sports team may have any number of persons associated in their work or activity, but a successful and efficient team always demands that everyone be in harmony with the larger agenda of winning a championship.
Whereas the prime requirement of a productive philanthropic team is fostering a sense of family to gather enough service motivated Human Angels to accomplish a common purpose or mission for a specific humanitarian agenda.
By gathering in small groups or larger teams, we strengthen our individual and collective desire to safely co-exist in numbers as well as elevate our collaborative skills which will ultimately solve the most difficult problems facing humanity.
In nature, for instance, such collaboration is not always obvious (e.g., how the eagles need mountains to plant their nests and bees need the nectar of plants to make honey)... but in the something like the sporting or a philanthropic community, all team members function in a unique yet collaborative ecosystem.
One cannot exist therefore without another, and that shared truth is what protects and strengthens the tribe over generations.
When professional athletes gather to accomplish a common mission (win a championship), they do so with the expectation of payment… hence a bottom up approach.
However, when a group of philanthropists gather, each is compelled as a volunteer of their skills due to the greater good cause in service of a common objective.
That's a top down way of thinking.
Ex-athletes will tell you they cannot simulate this team "togatherness" in regular life, the corporate world or even in bottom up volunteer communities because money is always the key motivator--not the pure service of others.
But there are no ex-philantropists… once you join this team, you never go back to anything else because you understand lives are at stake.
And because we are an infinitely affluent top down philanthropic community, money is of no concern… only mission.
So how must we as new global top down philanthropists adapt just as professional athletes must adjust as the rules and conditions of the game change overnight?
As a philanthropic leader, you must constantly be seeking innovative ways to share your mission, build confidence, train a mercy staff, plan celebrations and apply new delivery techniques.
Committing to developing your own team's sense of "togetherness" is critical to building a successful philanthropy, just as it would be a successful sports team.
Thus, to use proven methods of how and why successful sports teams and franchises build for success year after year is worth your time.
Below are 7 activities which help said sports teams and franchises foster such "togatherness." It's wise we learn from sport's successes and failures, and apply all meaningful lessons to your own philanthropic team, mission or in some cases ministry.
#1 - Traveling Togather
Sports teams are required to travel to away venues to compete. In such times, the teams go togather in a coach or an airplane.
They meet at a single location and travel togather. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big star or a small star.
Everybody gets on the same bus!
This removes emotional fences that usual separate teams, as only a united philanthropic team can earn consistent victories in their respective causes.
Philanthropies need to travel frequently together on an equal emotional, physical and mental journey.
#2 - Rooming Togather
Team spirit is strengthened as individuals become personally and physically exposed to each other when traveling and sharing the same space.
Their vulnerabilities and physiques are known to each other which translate to covering for one another in the field of play especially if some are playing with injuries.
Although some philanthropies attempt to simulate rooming togather with open offices, it still does not have the same intimacy as sports players sharing hotel rooms.
#3 - Sharing Victory Togather
A point earned, a touchdown, a home run, a goal scored, a ball placed in the basketball net are all points of victory which members of the team share.
Which player earns the point matters less to the team members because victory and its benefits are shared experiences.
This might explain the joint celebration with a team mate who does the final act.
Philanthropies should learn how to share and reward victory across the board, more frequently and innovatively.
This will help eliminate the "ME" mentality and drive home the principal that "WE" rise and fall togather as a team.
#4 - Training Togather
No matter how good a player is, he or she cannot be isolated from the rest of the team while training.
Some players might need extra exercises to focus on particular objectives, but these will mostly be done in the presence of other players.
Philanthropic teams may not have the advantage of training togather, but they can engineer activities which give the semblance of training in a group be it web seminars, video conferring or group telephone/internet calls like this one.
Training courses, retreats, away-days, productive meetings and similar assemblies can be valuable tools for philanthropies that desire to replicate the closeness of successful sports teams.
#5 - Dressing Togather
Wearing uniforms is a non-negotiable part of being in sports teams. Even top players are never so good that they will be excluded from wearing team jerseys.
Jerseys are always the same colour for each person even though numbers and names may provide identification.
Dressing in similar fashions creates a sense of sameness which tears off many layers of human ego and infirm erodes bogus emotional barriers that keep man from helping man.
In the curate world they call this "swag," but in top down philanthropic world wearing similar shirts, hats, buttons or even using a common writing instrument reinforces to all that we're all on the same mission to serve.
#6 - Celebrating Togather
All sports teams celebrate togather.
They never exclude any member of the team from celebrations, even those that are not directly involved in games are invited to participate.
Celebrations reinforce performance as well as desired behaviour. Lack of celebration delivers the impression that all events are of equal significance.
Celebration doesn’t have to be ‘big bang," in fact most sports teams understand that celebration is not only about absolute victories but incremental progress or many small victories accumulated.
#7 - Losing Togather
Even the best sports teams lose games they are expected to win.
Sports people realise that although losing is painful, it does not bring an end to the team. Instead, it serves as a learning tool.
While emotions may run high and tears may drop from sporting eyes, the back pats and embraces convey messages of hope for future victories.
As in sports, philanthropic reality is that winning is not an everyday affair.
There will be down times, heartbreaking defeats, but they should be shared similarly to the victories.
These lessons from sports teams are more than just a list for top down philanthropers--they are historical facts of what motivates human beings to unite successfully for the achievement of a common cause.
They are actionable ideas which all greater good philanthropies can adapt to their internal operating mechanisms and culture.
The closer philanthropies mirror the traits of successful sports franchises, the more collaborative and productive their own Human Angels will become... and more importantly... the greater number of people in dire need that will be mercifully served.
Lord let's us dare to heal the soul of the world ... one soul at a time!
God is with us.
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