I just finished watching one of my sports teams come out at the beginning of their game looking like the win was a sure thing. Then the second quarter started, and the team’s performance continued to plummet. Unfortunately, all the way to the end of the game. What happened? From my vantage point, the most obvious challenge was that they began playing together as a team, then resorted to playing as individual participants. Unfortunately, this is never a winning recipe when that happens.
Since I wasn’t physically at the game, I didn’t have the advantage of being able to fully appreciate all of the team dynamics which were occurring. However, I could take an educated guess, but it wouldn’t change the outcome after the fact of what was happening real time. So, was there something which could have been done to have changed the trajectory of the game outcome? Absolutely, and I have some more work to do with this team based on this reality.
You might surmise that I would be upset with the team’s performance outcome. I’m not, as the final score is not reflective of the actual attempts to have made this a competitive game. It was for the first period, and then the challenges of not being able to re-ignite the team set in. The momentum shifted and remained in favor of the opponent, and my team wasn’t able to overcome the powerful momentum their opponent had built up. Could they have changed the momentum? Yes, and that’s where the real story begins.
As I continued to watch the game, it felt as if I was watching a different sport. One where the objective wasn’t to set up their team members up for success, but to individually attempt to change their team dynamics. News flash. When this occurs, this rarely results in the outcome a team is looking for. In fact, it’s as if they go into “panic mode”, and disengage from the reality that they are playing a team sport. Yes, this is frustrating to watch, and it isn’t fun for anyone on the team to experience either.
When the trajectory of a team’s dynamics is shifting away from its favor during a game, or in any competitive situation (e.g., on a sales team), there is something which can be done to course correct this. It involves knowing and understanding each of the team members very well, and in fact, what personally and collectively ignites and motivates them. When this information isn’t understood, or applied, this is when opportunities to win or seek the performance level metrics you are trying to attain begins to evaporate.
However, when you can tap into and apply and appeal to both the individuals and the collective team, this is where you can turn a situation around to be in your favor. Yes, you can also keep this going, even when the odds appear to be stacked against you. I can credibly say this, as I’ve seen this happen more times in my career than I would have imagined was actually possible.
What is the second element which needs to be tapped into to ignite and change up a team’s performance? It’s a six-letter word, and an extremely powerful one. It’s “belief” in themselves, their team members, and the fact they can do what many others would deem to be impossible.
When a united team believes something is possible, this is where the “magic” can be the spark which ignites their minds and bodies to perform at an entirely different level. You know when you see this occur, and as an analogy, it’s similar to when the weather pattern suddenly shifts without warning. Remaining on the weather analogy, the team which is in need of being turned around experiences a tremendous burst of energy. One which is sustainable, and almost impossible for the opponents to get back control of. Similar to a momentum shift which is difficult to change.
If you are looking for ways to understand what ignites you, the team you lead or are on, I have some suggestions for you to consider applying.
- Does your team have an agreed upon motivational accelerator?
- Can you articulate what your true motivational accelerators are?
- If you or your team does not know what your motivational factors are, take some time to figure out what they are, and write them down.
- If you or your team need help with determining your motivational factors, ask someone who knows you or the team well. Have them share what they think they might be, or have an open-minded conversation with them and brainstorm on coming up with what they are.
- The majority of people who are competitively oriented are typically fueled by wanting to win. However, what if you are on a team, and this isn’t a motivating factor for you? Will your lack of competitive spirit impact your or your team members performance? Not necessarily, it’s just that you will be motivated differently to either win, or attain the performance metrics you are focused on. Hint, determine what they are, and let others know this too.
- For those of you who are achievement oriented, and the good news is that this is the number one trait for most team members. Now, factor in what aspects about achievement can serve to fuel you to either a successful outcome, or to help change your or your team’s performance momentum and trajectory.
- Are you motivated by internal or external factors? You will need to know this, and so will your coach/leader and team members. Identify what those factors are, and make sure they can be applied in your favor.
- How easily do you give up? Be honest with yourself. If you are on a team and they need you to commit to 100% believing in achieving sometimes what would seem impossible, what is it going to take to get you to attain this mindset? Perhaps you start with yourself. Then ask yourself if you truly trust that you will do everything you can humanly do to be the best team member you can be. Both from a performance and support perspective.
- How would you rate your attitude? Especially in times of distress. Does your attitude become one which you are not proud of? What can you do to maintain your positive attitude, or who can help you to do this if you struggle to accomplish this?
- If you are not fully able to appreciate what your own innate talents are, then how can you fully leverage them for your own benefit, let alone your teams? This is a rhetorical question, so begin with finding out what they are, and then begin applying them for a solid starting point.
- Let’s assume you know what your talents are, that you are applying them, but others are not appreciating them. Ask to have a conversation with the person or people who fall into this category, and look to resolve this by having the goal of fully understanding and appreciating the talents you each bring to the team.
Emotionally, a loss of any kind is difficult. The good news is that you can learn a great deal from a loss. So, the take away from this should be to objectively debrief together on where the opportunities are to leverage this information to help you, and or, the team you lead. Doing this will develop the foundation you need to change the momentum and trajectory in your favor the next time you need to apply this “play” or strategic move. Chin up team! I believe in you. Now you need to do and show the rest of us you believe in yourself.
TAGS: #Teams #Coach #Sportscoach #Leader #Leadership #Inspiration #Motivation #Talent #Talentdevelopment #Winning #Howtowin #Howtochangemomentum