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White Paper Preview: Re-thinking High-Performance Teamwork

Our latest white paper – Re-thinking High-Performance Teamwork – is set to be released at the end of August, and we’re delighted to share this special preview.

This is the fourth in our ‘Re-think’ White Paper series and explores the parallels between organisational success and the elite sporting arena, and the search for synergies – that elusive ingredient that enables teams to rise to the top.

If you enjoy this preview, register to have the full white paper, Re-thinking High-Performance Teamwork, delivered free to your inbox when it’s released, along with updates on diversity, inclusion and flexibility with Autopia’s Re-think newsletter.

Get Re-Think here


We all know that high performance teams have the ability to outperform other teams. However, they do more than that. High performance teams also have the potential to lift both the performance of other teams within their organisation and other teams within the competitive market space.

What sporting teams and business teams have in common is the human dynamic. In an organisational context, we choose to work together in order for the combination of skills to drive an outcome in the form of a “collective dividend”. In a team sporting context, this is not so much a choice as a requirement of the rules of the sport itself. However, in both cases it is clear that some teams are able to work more effectively together and create a much higher “collective dividend”.

You don’t win an Olympic gold medal without doing a lot of things right. This paper begins with that premise and applies insights from elite sporting teams to an organisational context.

The paper provides 10 lessons in team dynamics from high performance sporting teams in the context of contemporary organisational theory. As a result, the paper provides some opportunity for reflection for those of us who have not been, and perhaps never will be, part of an elite sporting team.

Given that this paper has been inspired by, and built on, the success of the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Team at the Olympics, we have devoted a section of this paper to gender, including observations about how our society views women’s sport relative to men’s sport – as it is likely that this same cultural bias impacts our workplaces.

This paper does not suggest that great sports persons will necessarily be great team members in an organisational context; rather, the paper seeks to distil insight from the combination of team members in an elite sporting team. That is, we are seeking to distil rules of engagement in a team context, to encourage organisations to apply these rules to their own teams.

It is often said, “The only constant is change,” and there is little doubt that competition has increased and will continue to increase. Now more than ever, we need to create high performance teams not only of our organisations, but within our organisations.


“Talent wins games, teamwork wins championships.”

Michael Jordan, NBA Basketball Player


Posted by The Autopia Team

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