Why the Best Team Beats the Best Group of Players

“With another World Cup tournament upon us it’s a good time to reflect on what makes a winning team.

Talent, of course, matters. But a team made up from the eleven most skilful footballers in any country wouldn’t win. Like any team there are a variety of roles that have to be performed. Knowing how to prevent a goal can be as valuable as being able to score one.

Successful teams have a system.  And they select the best individuals to fill each role within that system. But even that isn’t enough. Winning teams also have resilience. They have the determination to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Most of all they have team spirit. This makes each person more concerned about the team’s performance than their own. It means that individuals will pitch in and work outside of their defined role to avoid a crisis.

And so it is with infrastructure projects. There are inevitably numerous individuals and organisations involved. There may be different functions from the same organisation. These have to blend into a unified team with the common goal of successful project delivery.

Road and Rail Intersections
The highest levels of team working can come into play where road and rail intersect, as with the recent Apsley road bridge project that crossed the West Coast Main Line. Success was largely down to getting the right expertise together from the outset and jointly owning overall project goals. Concentrating on one part of the process without considering how it affected other partners and activities simply wasn’t accepted by the team.

Likewise, the One Team Wessex partnership continues to prove the value of teamwork in delivering better outcomes in terms of quality, efficiency, value and reduced disruption.
From an increasingly digitised rail network to the adoption of BIM and tools such as 360 Field, the skills needed to deliver modern infrastructure projects are evolving. Not least when it comes to the increasingly difficult but critical point of getting projects going. The team ethos has to be there from day one, or even before.

There has been plenty of talk in recent years about the need for better teamwork on infrastructure projects. Having proved the benefits that can follow, the sector now needs to stop talking about it and start doing it.

Maybe one day we will no longer talk about teamwork. It will simply be the expected norm for how infrastructure projects are delivered. Then we will know we are getting there.”

Mike Todd is the Lead Business Development Manager for Infrastructure at Osborne.