Name Your Game

“The modern organization cannot be an organization of boss and subordinate. It must be organized as a team.”

–Peter Drucker, Classic Drucker

The world of sports is bubbling with emotion this week, as soccer fanatics around the globe revel in today’s World Cup kickoff and the NBA finals head to a pivotal fifth game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

Beyond the wins and losses, though, there are lessons to be learned from the world of sports—especially about teamwork. “There are only three kinds of teams,” Peter Drucker wrote. The first, he said, is the sort that plays doubles tennis—where “each member adapts to . . . the other member.” The second is more like soccer. “Each player has a fixed position; but the whole moves together,” Drucker explained. Finally, there is the baseball team “in which all the members have fixed positions.” Drucker went on to say that each type of team has its unique utility and applicability. “Which team to use or game to play,” he continued, “is one of the riskiest decisions in the life of an organization.”

In this edition of Drucker Apps, we invite you to join our conversation about teamwork. Weighing in will be former UCLA basketball player and television executive Andy Hill; Portuguese management writer Jorge Vasconcellos e Sá, who is a professor at the University of Lisbon and has also been trained as a soccer coach; and others with insights into the art of coordination and collaboration.

We open things up with this question: What style of team do you have within your organization—tennis, soccer, baseball or some other model—and is it effective?