Yesterday we took another leap forward on The Emotional Culture Deck journey with The Hurricanes Rugby squad.
It was such an honour taking this group of elite athletes through The Emotional Culture Deck. As a former professional athlete, I know how difficult it is to open up and talk about emotions and feelings in a team environment. But yesterday we broke the mould and had 40 male professional athletes explore what they want to feel and not feel this upcoming season.
The majority of conversations in teams, whether corporate or sports, revolves around cognitive culture and expected behaviours. But that's only half the conversation. Exploring desired and undesired emotions create connection, empathy and understanding.
Sport (and life) is by nature an emotional game. Elite sport and high performance are all about 'feeling' – both physical feelings like how the ball or bat feels in your hands. But also inner feelings. Our emotions and feelings govern how we perform on and off...
It's a privilege to be invited back by the Wellington Firebirds year to help them run their 'pre-season culture training' sessions.
This time 11 years ago, I was starting my professional cricket career and involved in one of these pre-season culture sessions. It left an impression on me for all the wrong reasons.
Looking back, the intent was right. But unfortunately, it divided the team, isolated payers and created a culture of fear (especially for the younger players like me).
At the time, it was difficult to process what occurred, and the experience has stayed with me ever since. But I'm now glad I went through that experience. It has helped shaped my philosophy and the way I design and run team culture sessions – especially for sports teams.
Instead, we now focus on how we better connect people, players and teams. Through the use of #theemotionalculturedeck, we explore the role feeling and emotion plays at an individual level and then how it impacts the desired culture of...
Imagine starting a pre-season campaign by coming together as a team to define how you want your environment to feel and not feel this season! I was blown away again by how open and vulnerable players are with each other when going through The Emotional Culture Deck process.
Although we originally designed the ECD to be used in a corporate or business environment, it turns out that it is equally applicable in a sports team environment – because a sports team is made up of human beings, just like a business or corporate team.
Most sports teams completely neglect this conversation about how we should, or should not be feeling within our team environment. Teams tend to focus solely on shared values and behaviours yet skip the most human part of a team’s culture – the #emotionalculture of a team.
Watch this space for more updates on this pre season culture journey.