Circle Opinion

Shaping an elite team mentality

Richard Thompson

Written by Richard Thompson, Senior Technical Consultant, MooD 

Team sports and consultancy may at first appear to be separate disciplines, but scratch beneath the surface and there are many similarities that can be drawn between the two. The drive to produce topclass performances is not something that comes naturally to all, but for those who strive for it, the end result can be quite special. The quest for excellence is an attitude that is forged and shared by all whom strive to be at the top of their game and constantly improve. 

Working on the analogy further, additional commonalities between sports and consultancy unveil themselves, especially in terms of the approach taken. Nothing is achieved easily; judgement is based on the outcome, and difficulties are faced along the journey to achieving desired goals. 

While everyone involved will have a different take, below are my four main focuses when undertaking any activity (both sporting and consultancy) to ensure my team achieves its greatest potential. 

1. Why are we doing this?

In any aspect of life, if people innately understand why they are conducting a task and believe in its benefits, they will give it their all. Having personally been involved in consultancy for 13 years and coaching sports for 25, , I always ask the team “Why are we doing this?” upon carrying out any activity for the first time. The answers serve as a great barometer as to whether they have understood what they are being asked to do, and will flush out any concerns (or better alternatives) and will often provide previously unsought insights. 

This can also be a great validation tool for why the action is being conducted, and the response “We’ve always done it that way” simply does not cut it as a reason. Time and techniques move on, and if people do not keep up, teams will be behind from the start. 


Cooperation between team members is crucial to achieving the desired result. Even individual efforts are reliant on a team who are often behind the scenes, who can ensure the preparation is correct and the conditions are in place for an optimal outcome. 

A top-class performer places immense value on their team, knowing that in order to succeed, everyone must align. Therefore, each individual must be treated with utmost respect. Appreciation on all levels works, whether it be calling out a colleague’s efforts, a token of appreciation or even a small compliment. Teammates are the ultimate ambassadors for future efforts. 

3. “I can’t”

Admitting that you cannot do everything should never be seen as a weakness. Self-evaluation is vital in all walks of life and ensures the team has the right people in the right place, at the right time. This does not mean individual ability is not desired, but it should be used in conjunction with the right mix of abilities. The world’s best footballer cannot beat the best team on their own, for example, they need a strong mix of abilities around them to put them in right position at the right time, to do what they do best. 

The statement “I can’t” should therefore be “I can’t on my own.” 

4. Effort

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke, high school basketball coach.

Effort is the backbone of growth and success. This applies in all aspects of life, especially in learning and improvement. Effort drives learning, and when you put effort into a task, you are actively engaging with it. Effort allows you to learn from mistakes and gain new skills or knowledge while increasing your resilience and determination. 

How CACI can help

Whether you feel you have any sort of sporting mindset or not is irrelevant. What is vital, however, is the merits of the why, the who, the what and the how. 

At CACI, we have the optimal mix of talent and experience across multiple domains, from business analysts defining the why, the who and the what, to consultants, designers and architects providing the how. We help global businesses turn data and information assets to key success drivers as strategic components in a coherent and evolving system architecture, while also connecting stakeholders and practitioners to collaborate in complex business architecture projects. 

If you have a complex problem, contact MooD to see how we may help you align strategy and vision, optimise data driven decision-making and future-proof your business. 

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Richard Thompson