“They have to learn how to win.”
This quote came from Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers. He was talking about his young team, and it made me think. “They have to learn how to win as a team.”
Per usual, my mind started chewing on this thought, looking at it from all sides.
We might say that in order for a team to learn how to win, they must first learn how to lose.
The pain of losing or failing seems to me to create a bifurcation that gets described in a couple of ways, there are people who you might say “just hate to lose” and then there are “the others” who, for some reason, remain unnamed. I see this in the teams I work with all the time. Either they are described using the cliche “winners” or they’re the other unnamed group in business.
To learn how to win, we must understand and embrace what it means to lose. We must have a way to learn from the losses. At the very least we should point out who the “losers” are and help them self-select off the team. Maybe we call the winners “the engaged” and the losers “the disengaged”, to use a couple terms familiar to us all.
Of course, this leads me to the 7 Questions - the 7 Promises, and how they may shed some light on all this.
1. I belong: Most of the core value sets my teams come up with are pretty much descriptors of winners. Here’s a set from a Fast 50 company:
- On it
- Understand it
- I Positively Care
- Have Fun
The “paranoid” core value means not letting the details fall through the cracks. It’s saying there is never room for complacency when doing what they do. Can you see how these values describe a “winner”?
If you fail get and keep the right players on your team (the ones who have a winning attitude and the skills to fill the positions and roles) you WILL lose as a team.
2. I believe: I believe in one single organization that is focused on one single mission and I understand and embrace the strategies and tactics we are following to get there.
I don’t need to continue with a sports analogy here, it’s all the same. The team has to buy in to the methods being followed and agree on one single dream/vision.
3. I understand and embrace my roles and accountabilities as they relate to the overall goal of winning as a team.
Nothing is worse for an engaged human than getting called out by their team for not holding up their end of a bargain that results in a loss. In his career, Tom Brady has come back and won 43 times in the final drive of the game, 43! I can say pretty confidently that he must understand his role and accountability when it comes to helping the team win.
4. I understand and embrace how my success or failure is measured as it relates to my specific accountability and to the whole.
Everyone on a team needs to understand how a win in measured - that is part of a clear believe plan. Each individual also needs to know their own rubric for success and have a voice in what makes them a winner or loser.
5. I understand and embrace how my opinion is heard as it relates to helping the team, and myself as an individual, become and stay a winner.
6. I understand and embrace how I am developed as part of the team so I can become and stay a winner. I see how it all lines up and how I can turn to the team for help.
7. I understand and embrace the organization’s expectations around balance. I embrace the level of commitment we need to become and stay winners, and I am willing to commit to this definition of balance.
If any of the 7 questions are not answered with a strong “yes” by each individual, the team will suffer and it will be hard to become winners. In essence, you will be losers.