An All-Star Team

Years prior to my 2019 soccer injury, I was excited to be part of West Virginia’s first over 50 Veterans Cup Team. The Veterans Cup is a National Soccer Tournament. Players had to be over 40 years old. Our team prepared for months practicing and playing together. We scrimmaged the University of Charleston’s men’s team. At the tournament in North Carolina, we lost all 3 games but grew as a team. Our third game was against the team who ultimately won the National Championship in our age group. It was a close competitive game.

After returning home, I got a phone call from the league president. “Greg, the young guys (20-35 years old) have formed an all-star team and want to play the Veterans Cup Team.” I told Lynnda, who said, “That’s not fair.” I said, “Yes, but it will be fun to play with the team again.” Lynnda was right. With 10 minutes left, our Veterans Cup Team led the young guys 5-0. Our team captain told us, “They’re getting mad. Don’t shoot anymore. Just pass the ball around.” The young guys were faster and more skilled but this was the first game they were playing together. The Veterans Cup players were more experienced since many of us were coaches. Most important, we were a Team and that made the difference. The young guys were a group of all-stars.

Imagine what an All-Star Team can do. The USA’s 1992 Olympic Basketball team made up of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Christian Laettner, David Robinson, Drexler Clyde, John Stockton, Chris Mullin and Michael Jordan was an All-Star Team! Chuck Daly was the coach. This Dream Team won the Gold Medal and defeated opponents by an average of 44 points.

In business, can we create a real Team with our best and brightest? At Shale Crescent USA’s networking event in Pittsburgh this week, we are attempting to do just that. The attendees included business leaders with diverse experience from Shale Crescent USA’s Board of Directors and others from the business community. It included leaders from the West Virginia Development Office, Jobs Ohio, Team PA and other economic development organizations like the Polymer Alliance Zone, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, Chemical Alliance Zone and other organizational leaders.

The attendees were truly all-star experts. They are capable of helping foreign prospects interested in the Shale Crescent USA region with almost any problem or need. What they don’t know or can’t help with, most likely someone in the group knows someone who knows someone who can help. They all agreed with the mission of bringing high wage jobs to this region to raise the standard of living for people who live here. One objective of the meeting was to connect attendees who can help each other, whose organizations have synergy, the cooperation of two or more organizations, who can produce a combined result greater than the sum of their individual effects. Everyone wins by producing a better result together than they could individually.

The boys compete for starting positions on our soccer team. They know the real competition is our opponents. The states compete for projects in our region. For this to happen a company must first choose to come here. Our real competitors are the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Carolina’s, Georgia and Florida. A company from India we just learned about from the Shale Crescent President’s India trip is planning to make products for the automotive industry. They think the Carolinas are the center of the auto industry. The Shale Crescent USA region (OH, PA & WV) has the energy and raw materials they need and is the center of the auto industry. Our challenge is getting them to delay their final decision until they look at the Shale Crescent USA (SCUSA).

A rising tide raises all ships. A successful project in one state helps the other states. Workers from Pomeroy and Gallipolis, Ohio will gladly cross the Ohio River to work at NuCor Steel. The Shell Cracker at Monaca has employees from WV, PA & OH. A friend of mine in Charleston is a union electrician. He spent three years working at the Shell plant during construction. Intel will have all of their vendors within 500 miles of Columbus. Intel vendors are already looking at the Ohio Valley. Each state likes to win projects for their own state. If we can get prospects to choose the Shale Crescent USA region, we know one state will get the prize, but all 3 states will benefit financially when a prospect chooses the Shale Crescent region.

Creating an all-star team of experts with large networks of their own supports prospects interested in our region, giving us a competitive advantage over less organized regions and individual states. Our combined strong network enhances SCUSA’s water, energy, feedstock, location and work force advantages. A lot of work is still required to create a team from these All-Stars. We are off to a good start. The big winner will be people living in the region.

What about your business, organization or athletic team? Are they a team or just group like the young guys the Veterans Cup Team played? Every effective team starts with leadership the members respect and trust. In some cases, the leader gets to select the team like the U.S. Olympic Team. In most cases a team needs to be formed from an existing group. Every fall we have a new group of boys to bring together as a team. In your church, volunteer group or business a leader has to start the work with what they have. The starting point of any effective team is a respected, trusted leader who finds a common goal that everyone buys into and is willing to work for. All-Star Teams must be led, not managed.

The leaders at Shale Crescent USA found the common goal. The work has started.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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