All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned from Sports.
This week’s post, a contribution by co-owner, Jen Park.
I love team sports. As an extreme introvert, I have always found comfort and great solace in solitary sports like running and cycling, but even 15 years later, I still love everything about team sports.
I didn’t grow up playing soccer or anything team based until I got to middle school and I was thrown into yuppy sports like crew, lacrosse (in the 90’s, not many places coached lacrosse), and field hockey. As a somewhat competitive person, I loved that aspect of the sport, but also loved what I learned from being on a team. While each team may have had a star athlete, the one who scored the most or ran the fastest, she did not matter without her entire team behind her supporting her.
I often compare working on the floor at Diesel to playing on a field with 14 other women (or men ). Because sometimes, there are actually that many people scheduled on the floor on a busy shift. And because sometimes getting through a shift or a rush requires a game plan, strategizing, thoughtful player placement and switching out folks when the subs need a turn.
Lately, there has been a lot of focus in our businesses about teams: what makes one effective, what we value as part of the team, what we individually contribute, and what makes a team thrive (or not). I went to a high school in the middle of Boston in the Longwood Medical area, with real grass fields in the heart of Brigham and Women’s, Beth Israel, and Dana Farber, next to Simmons College and Wheelock. Years after graduating from high school, I recall watching a game overlooking from a neighboring window. For the first time as a spectator viewing the game from a bird’s eye perspective, I noticed that the blue team (which happened to be winning) moved together as a group. Like a flock of birds who silently communicate their exact location to another member of the group, they were able to move together as a unit rather than as scattered individuals.
At the end of the day after a line to the door for many hours, piles of dirty dishes, and hundreds of drinks later, when one sits down to breath for a minute before heading home, the reflection of a successful shift in which the team worked together to get a job done efficiently and seamlessly often filled me with a great sense of satisfaction. Not many places can say that a team of 13 individuals worked so well in an 8 hour shift than the crew at Diesel. And this aspect of our store is genuinely unique. Even in times of major change as we face now with the impending opening of a new store and staff turnover, I can still say with confidence that we are the blue team, led by a group of amazing players.