I became a Houston Astros fan when I moved here. I remember the Astros made the playoffs the first year I arrived. I remember leaving the office with my co-workers to go watch the afternoon playoff games in that exciting series loss against the Philadelphia Phillies. That was when I started making the transition from a Dodgers fan growing up to an Astros fan.

The Astros winning the World Series meant a lot to so many Houstonians (including me). As an Astros fan for so long and a student of teamwork, there is so much to learn from this team. Here are the 5 lessons that I believe we can all learn from the Houston Astros on how to be a great team:

Lesson #1: Everyone Needs to Contribute

The Astros won because every player made some key contributions. By example, the Astros pitching aces, Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, won 3 games and lost 1 in the American League Championship Series. In the World Series, those aces won no games and lost 2. The Astros winning pitchers during the World Series were not on the ones that everyone considered to be their stars -- Chris Devenski, Lance McCullers, Joe Musgrove and Charlie Morton.

Lesson #2: A Great Team Needs Players Who Are Winners

The Astros and the Dodgers were both great teams with a lot of great players. It felt like the Series could go either way right up until the final game. In the end, the Astros made a few more key plays and had more key hits than the Dodgers. In this Series, the Astros players played like winners -- the walk-off single by the 23 year old Alex Bregman in 10th inning of Game 5, the 4 inning save by Brad Peacock (a pitcher who many thought, including me, had plenty of chances before 2017 to prove himself and didn't) in Game 3, the two run homer by George Springer in the 11th inning of Game 2, etc. These guys got the big hits when the pressure was on. They aren't just great players. They were winners.

Lesson #3: Winning Teams Need to Be Resilient

Game 5 of this World Series was like two prizefighters boxing it out using every last piece of energy. In this game, the Astros were down 4-0 in the 4th inning and then tied it 4-4. They were down 7-4 in the 5th inning and then tied it 7-7. They were down 8-7 in the 7th inning and came back to be winning 11-8. They were winning 12-9 for the Dodgers last at-bat in the 9th inning and the Dodgers tied at 12-12. These prizefighters kept fighting and in the end, the Astros were more resilient - winning 13-12. If they don't win that game, the Dodgers probably would have won the World Series.

Lesson #4: Great Teams Have a Higher Purpose Than Themselves

Hurricane Harvey devastated the lives of so many Houstonians. It was a tragedy for people in all parts of Houston. The Astros were out of town during the Hurricane and away from their families and their fans. This event clearly had an effect on them and wanted to bring some joy to the city by giving those affected something to cheer about. They weren't playing for themselves anymore. Their purpose was much bigger than that.

Lesson #5: Winning is Infectious

I have been a baseball fanatic most of my life. I love to watch and I love to play. I played baseball as a teenager and I am playing baseball as a ... older person. I love the statistics, the strategy and the excitement of winning. It is great to see people that have never really been baseball fans, that don't understand the nuances of the game and frankly find a typical game pretty boring, really enjoy the excitement of this Astros World Series win. For them, baseball is not infectious. Winning is.

It is time to celebrate this World Series win. It is time to enjoy it. It is the first time for Houston Astros fans when we don't have to say, "Maybe next year...."

Mike Goodfriend is a Teamwork Engineer and, Leadership Coach. He is also the creator of the Teamwork Sharks and author of "Breakthrough Time" which is now available on Amazon or your favorite online book retailer. He is a Birkman Master Certified Professional (BMCP) and has been Birkman certified for more than 30 years. He was one of the first to be certified in Birkman Perspectives -- a new report that helps leaders better understand their unique approach to being a strategic leader. Mike Goodfriend can be reached at 713-789-6840 or via email at mikeg@goodfriendconsulting.com.

© Goodfriend & Associates, Inc., 2017


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