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What did I learn about individual-centered cultures and dynamic teams through college sports?

Wanda, ATAÁs founder and creative mind.

I played tennis in college for four years. From that time, there is a moment I remember so clearly—a moment when I overestimated my impact on the results of activities. At the time, I was a freshman in college. We were on one of our first tennis trips. And as we know, it takes time for a team to bind into one effective unite. Not to mention when you turn tennis into a team sport—changing athletes' mindset from individual-centered cultures and people who see themselves as independent into a dynamic team requires trust.

The meaning of collaborative effort

Unfortunately, the day hadn't gone our way. So even though it was a beautiful and sunny fall day, no one was laughing. We could all sense that our coach was not happy. Our coach gathered us all together into a circle. He went around and asked us all if we had won that day. Thus, one by one, the girls answered, "no." Last but not least, our coach then turned to me to ask if I had won. That day, I had been the only one from the team to win my singles match. But because I could sense the tension in the atmosphere, I hesitantly said yes. It was like a pin had dropped.

"No, you have not won anything today. If you win, but the team does not win, you have lost!"

That was the moment when I understood the meaning of collaborative effort. It doesn't matter if one from the team succeeds; we need everyone. We are only as strong as our weakest player.

Throughout the four years of playing college tennis, I kept going back to this same memory over and over again. And I still do. There is so much in sports that we could apply to business.


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