Wider Horizons

Fostering a team spirit, camaraderie and the idea of pulling for one another are all key to a favourable outcome in any group, institution, organization or business.

How do you see teamwork in action?

It is difficult for me to assess all aspects of teamwork at Lethbridge College, but in general it appears quite focused. After almost 25 years of involvement with Kodiaks Athletics, I’ve seen firsthand how important teamwork is - not only among teams, athletes, coaches and Kodiaks administration, but also between students, instructors, managers, administrative teams and indeed all the way up the stairs to the Lethbridge College administration.

Certainly, in my mind at least, information sharing has by and large been adequate at the college. In our fast changing world, such info sharing is likely challenging at times, but nevertheless, successful teamwork depends on it. Things like “here’s what you have to work with, these are the limiting parameters and here’s what we expect” are facts people and teams need to know and discuss before realistic goals can be set. As managers, coaches and teams change, it’s often difficult to maintain equal success rates.

Teamwork is key to a favourable outcome in any institution, organization or business and inevitably most, if not all, have had struggles along the way. My experience with the college has been a real eye-opener, positive in most ways, in terms of how teamwork is able to function in a much larger environment than in my former business, a potato farm with only one or two layers of decision-making power. It blows me away to see how well the college manages to maintain a teamwork atmosphere through numerous layers of management and priorities.

Why should we value teamwork?

Teamwork at its best can be described as people working together successfully for a common cause. On sports teams for instance, it is particularly important that teammates work together with determination. Such desire can often overcome lack of skills within the team and make them successful against more talented but less motivated teams. There are numerous examples of “underdog” teams pulling off seemingly impossible feats in the world of sports. In fact, teams with the best players do not necessarily win championships.

Management and coaching are really important and valuable parts of any type of teamwork in terms of bringing out the best in people. Recognizing strength, weakness and leadership skills among team members along with providing individual encouragement can make everyone feel valuable and part of the team, even if some people fill lesser roles. Coaching can also help instill passion and determination, two important ingredients for success in all phases of life.

People with leadership skills are an important component of successful teamwork whether it involves sport teams or other types of teams. Leadership qualities, however, may manifest themselves in many different forms – from brilliant skills to extra hard work and from strong ethics to keeping everyone motivated. These types of skills are often discovered while working together and are good reasons why we should value teamwork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do the values of teamwork translate to the outside world?

My opinion is that a college education involving teamwork, among other things, often leads to graduates becoming more readily employable. Many employers like to hire college graduates who have participated in competitive sports or other teamwork experiences that enhance leadership skills. Except for the many students in trades, moving from a college setting to the outside world can still be a daunting task even for the most well-rounded graduates unless they have prior work-related experiences.

Many students at Lethbridge College are getting ready to further their education at the university level and for them it’s equally important to have a good sense of what teamwork is about. I personally know of students making the jump from college to university who are thankful to Lethbridge College for a smooth transition. As well, it can be said that the many teamwork activities students organize with assistance from the Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA) are of lasting benefit.

Additionally, the LCSA helps foster the importance of teamwork in the democratic process by facilitating the annual students’ association election campaign. For many students, it is also their first real chance to vote on issues directly affecting themselves and often students who do cast a vote end up becoming life-long voters in municipal, provincial and federal elections.


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Knud Petersen, along with ACAC hall of famer Alvin Tietz, founded the Lethbridge College women’s soccer program in 1994. The team went undefeated in its inaugural 1994 season, winning both the ACAC conference championship and the CCAA national title. Petersen continued to help coach and manage the team for two more years, through the 1996 season, and also helped to finance the women’s soccer program through its early years, working with well-known entertainment promoter Ron Sakamoto to keep the team financially stable.

In addition to his ongoing support of the Kodiaks, Petersen has been an active volunteer at a host of community organizations, including the Lethbridge Food Bank, the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, environmental groups, University of Lethbridge athletics and more. In 2013, he was awarded the college’s highest honour, receiving an honorary degree, and this spring, he was inducted into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame.

Wider Horizons
Interview by Paul Kingsmith / Photo by Ian Martens
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