Culture of a TEAM

Written by Posted On Friday, 05 August 2022 00:00

The National Football League consistently promotes the theme “Football is family.” This has been of significance to my family since the NFL has fulfilled that role for me for 62 years after I joined in 1960.

With me on the field for 31 seasons, my family has watched with great interest my involvement. I’m not convinced too many families had the same interest. However, I have noticed many times that families do attend their home games. Thus, ‘team’ brings us all in the family together.

The NFL officiating family comprises crews whose lives are interwoven both in the season and after. The seven members in each crew know each other’s personal families and develop their own group culture. In each crew is a referee – the crew chief – who sets guidelines for each member of the crew. Each member of the crew has his/her own style but conforms to the standards set by the crew chief.

I would suspect the same method is used by each of the teams. However, as I observe the behavior of some teams, it is apparent that no one is in charge. Is it the head coach’s responsibility to see that proper guidelines are established to expect conformity?  I don’t need to go back to the rogue behavior of Colin Kaepernick to cite this behavior. I know that Kap wanted to make a statement about his beliefs,  but it was done on “company time” and not with the outward approval of management. Good/bad/right or wrong, in all fairness, it did raise interest in his cause with some good to follow.

Having had the privilege of playing, coaching, and officiating in team sports for my entire life, it has always been my belief that team, family, and officiating crew culture must take precedence over personal issues. Does this mean one devalues or foregoes issues of integrity?  Of course not! It does mean that one needs to accept the culture of one’s team or help his/her team change what is necessary for that culture.

It occurs to me that if one is unwilling to adapt to or is unable to accept his/her team’s culture, then separation from that team must happen for the success of both the individual and the team.

Will you accept your team/family’s structure and work successfully within those guidelines?

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Dr. Jim Tunney

Jim Tunney had an exemplary career in sports. A former high school coach, teacher, principal and district superintendent, he had a 40-year career in officiating football and basketball.

Thirty-one of those years he was an NFL Referee working a record twenty-nine post-season games including four Super Bowls, ten NFC/AFC Championship games, six Pro Bowls and twenty-five Monday Night Games.

He officiated some of the most memorable games in NFL history. His book Impartial Judgment: “The Dean of NFL Referees” Calls Pro Football As He Sees It, chronicles his NFL career.

As a Professional Speaker, he is Past President of The National Speakers Association and a Charter Member of its most prestigious group – The CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame. Jim holds every professional designation of the NSA, including the Oscar of Professional Speaking – The Cavett. NSA named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Tunney (a doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California) continues to serve his community as  Trustee Emeritus of both Monterey Peninsula College and York School; where he once served as Headmaster. In 1993, he founded the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation to support local community programs that develop leadership, work skills, wellness and self-esteem in youth. He and his wife Linda live in Pebble Beach, California. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.

As an author he has written and/or co-authored thirteen books: Impartial Judgment, Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Speaking Secrets of the Masters, You Can Do It!, Super Bowl Sunday, Insights into Excellence, Lessons in Leadership, Build a Better You and his most recent book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill.

If you are looking for a keynote speaker who educates, motivates and entertains with a lifetime of stories about leadership, team building and sports 831-595-3258.

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