Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The simplest hardest thing with a team

This is a simple post. It's about communicating with your team. It's one of the most important things and it's the hardest.

I'm not talking about on field or in practice communication. It's getting your team to read and respond to organizational messages. I've had many coaches come and ask how I've dealt with this in the past, so I thought I'd give some ideas here with hopes of other comments on the topic.

The best solution is to call each person on the phone; logistical nightmare, but it's the only way to get action. I hate the phone, so this really isn't a solution, but if you're willing to call everyone on your team it will work for the most part until they stop answering your calls.

My preferred information channels are:

  • Team blog - for captain's messages. For Torontula I hooked up Google Analytics to monitor how many people were reading per day and relayed that information (passive).
  • BBS - for the team to send less important messages and discuss topics both relevant and irrelevant (passive).
  • E-mail - for direct messages when I want something done, but not used unless it really is important (active).
  • Phone - for those instant messages that have to be done (direct)
Regardless of these channels it still comes down to the team members actually visiting passive channels and doing what they have to do in a reasonable amount of time. Even trickier is that your teammates aren't plugged into the internet all day and regularly checking for updates (some of luckier/unluckier are) or work doesn't allow hobby internet action. The best you should expect is three looks a week and daily checking of e-mail.

It's tricky. You need to provide the information and remind people to look at the information then hope that they'll be active teammates. If they aren't they don't realize that regardless of their play on the field they're a bad teammate and are wasting your valuable time. They need to be talked to about helping the organization and if that doesn't help then I would consider cutting them if it's a real problem.

One other option for internet non savvy people is a phone tree. We used to do this when we canceled practice. We would call two people who would relay the message to the next two and so on.



jaleel said...

You could also set up a BBS or blog and make sure everyone signs up.. then when there is an important msg you need to communicate you can send out a mass email with a link to the post. This would reach out to those who don't check the bbs/blog often but it assumes that people check their email once or twice a day.