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Coaching lessons from the Ryder Cup

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Teams often succumb to the perils of one-upsmanship. A star performer will strive to stand out, teamwork—at times—be damned.

Imagine, then, the rigors of coaching a Ryder Cup team. Paul Azinger, captain of this year’s 12-member U.S. team, used a group-dynamic philosophy to pull the best performance from each player.

Normally, PGA Tour players compete as individuals. But Azinger copied an idea from the U.S. military’s Special Forces, which operate in 13-man units but frequently break down into subgroups. He divided his squad into three four-man pods.

Pod members played practice rounds together, were paired with other pod members during the competition and went off sequentially in the singles matches, four by four. 

They took home the prize.

— Adapted from “Team USA’s Management Victory,” John Paul Newport, The Wall Street Journal.

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