Is Music Metaphor Better Than The Sport One?

“Are sports teams the most appropriate examples for today’s work team?” Interesting answer to this question brings the Forbes’ article Sick Of Sports: Why Rock Bands Are A Better Metaphor For Work Teams. Its author Ruth Blatt writes often about social science behind rock’n’roll music. And her answer here is a clear NO.
In sports, as Blatt writes in the article, there are clear winners and losers, there are rarely changing rules, or customer needs and expectations, and the organizational setup is stable.
But in real life, most organizational teams’ success depends on their creativity and adaptation to constant change. Instead of winning above competition, the most important is meeting the need of their customers – and only through that to beat their competition. And that means responding rapidly to challenges and opportunities.
On the other hand, rock music bands metaphor is much closer to the real life, as they create new products (concerts, recordings, videos) and they sell them in the marketplace. They also have to satisfy stakeholders, be it their audience, their peers, and critics. Rock musicians must generate revenue and constantly innovate to stay relevant.
Blatt summarizes her thoughts stating, “As exciting as it is to watch a great sports team, organizational teamwork is more complex than the playing field. By focusing on winning and losing, the sports metaphor narrows what we can ultimately accomplish.”

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