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Louise Merritt, Director of Ignite Sport Group, discusses why team spirit and cohesion contributes to an efficient working environment
Reserving time to take a step back and reflect on individual and group achievements while looking ahead to the future is a commitment we share with colleagues at Ignite.
Traditionally, we choose the last week of August to host our annual staff conference and combine motivational talks with training, activities and social events to strengthen team spirit and cohesion.
Consequently, we adopted a different approach when organising this year’s conference and opted for two days in the Sussex countryside with Plush Tents Glamping.
It provided an opportunity for staff representing both divisions of the Ignite umbrella to merge and tackle various fun challenges from orienteering to cooking, yoga and drumming.
Working primarily in two fast-paced sectors – education and sport – means outstanding levels of teamwork, communication, leadership and trust are required to fulfil a smooth and successful operation.
Legendary basketballer turned successful businessman Michael Jordan once said, “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”.
We strongly believe the same theory can be applied to business. It’s why investing time in our colleagues to develop strong working relationships outside their usual professional environment is so important to us.
Since Ignite was established in 1999, we feel very fortunate to have broadened our delivery portfolio from school sport and grassroots coaching to include holiday camps, junior and youth football programmes, further education, apprenticeships, festivals and events.
Having a diverse and multi-skilled team in place is crucial in fulfilling these responsibilities.
Naturally, the fast-paced and varied nature of our work means not all staff can spend as much time with colleagues working in a different department to themselves. As Director of both organisations, every day I witness the similarities and shared values between our tutors, team leaders, coaches and business development staff.
We would like to believe those crossovers between our different roles are testament to the work we put in to make our colleagues feel valued and part of the Ignite journey regardless of their experience or role within the company.
What was particularly interesting during our break together was seeing individuals from different departments not only work together to overcome fun challenges, but also learn about each other’s roles within the company.
That included exploring more about the day-to-day responsibilities of their colleagues, and how they contribute towards our shared vision of making sport education accessible to everyone.
When we returned to work later in the week, we asked everyone to feedback how they felt the trip had supported them. We were pleased to learn the overall majority stated they had learnt something new and found our getaway enjoyable and beneficial to their role.
Overseeing several departments each housing multiple roles comes with its challenges. But establishing a connection between those areas is something we are keen to continue developing.
On a final note, we’d like to thank Plush Tents Glamping in Chichester for their hospitality. It was a fantastic break and one our team will remember for sure!
Louise Merritt, Director of Ignite Sport Group.