Getting Real About Winning. How do they keep doing it?

“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”  -John Wooden

Millions of us are feverishly preparing for one of the most coveted events our culture has enjoyed now for over five decades.  The air however is thick with skepticism, criticism, and layers of poo pooing on a team that continues to find their way to the Championship Event of the year.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know who I’m talking about...the Patriots.

Growing up, my sister and I felt like football bleachers were our second home.  Snow, rain, umpteen layers, our father LOVED football and we spent every weekend with him traveling to games, following the greatest high school games he could find.  We also grew up in Southern yes...we were Patriots fans...and Celtics...and Red Sox. I know, I know...for some of you, you are already like, ugghhhh...but... what I love and admire about my father, is that he taught us to admire and respect organizations that played like a team.  He would show us what made a great coach, a great leader, and the impact their coaching philosophies had on the development of the players, and the overall success teams would to earn because of it.  Even when their roster of talent wasn’t consistent, he would illustrate to us that the greatest coaches knew how to tap into the strengths of the individual players, how to develop a sense of unity, and how to bring together the sum of those individual parts to execute in ways that many are often mystified by.

As a society, we are excellent at breaking greatness down.  Doing everything we can to illustrate the holes, the weaknesses, trying our damndest to prove people that achieve consistent levels of success aren’t really earning their way there.  But let’s get real about winning. If you study the coaches with the greatest winning percentages, John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson, Geno Auriemma, and New England’s own, Bill Belichick, you will see many common threads that echo the John Wooden quote I added above.  They cultivate teams with people roaring with a passion for the sport, and focus on encouraging collaboration, selfless contributions for how they collectively help make each other better.

When you apply the same success habits to the business world, you will also find that the organizations out there with the highest retention, highest number of engaged employees, the most innovative and productive teams...they all have leaders at the helm who subscribe to and practice very similar success habits...and they build teams of leaders that understand the value of drawing out the greatness in each individual contributing member.  They understand the value of investing in their people, developing their natural talents, and focus on what they are naturally best at, plugging them into roles that accentuate that.

We are all wired to achieve, as Dr. Maxwell Maltz reveals in his book Psycho Cybernetics he wrote back in 1960.  It is a huge contributing factor to why sporting events remain one of the most highly attended and watched forms of entertainment.  We are all aspiring to explore ways to raise our ceiling of potential so we too can achieve more, feel a greater sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and enhance our overall sense of well-being.  We often just go about it in the wrong way. We don’t focus on studying what the great ones are doing and attempt to replicate their efforts. We tend to focus on what is wrong with them, break them down, and struggle to humble ourselves with what we can actually gain, learn, and apply from their proven successes.  

The greatest leaders I have personally had the chance to work with, study under, and help contribute to adding value to the overall performance of their team-they are all avid, humble learners.  They study the success habits of others and work towards lifting the ceiling of potential higher and higher by cultivating prosperity within each and every contributing member of their team. Conversely, the organizations out there dumping thousands upon thousands down the drain on turnover issues each and every year, questioning why their people are not performing, why they are investing so much each year on recruiting expenses, they are typically the ones without a training & development budget.  The ones not studying, practicing, and applying the success habits of the leaders in their industry, or other great organizations who just seem to keep winning.

I’m fascinated by this paradox and am grateful I had a father who taught me the power of looking for the greatness in others.  I’m not really a Patriots fan because I grew up in New England. I am a Patriots fan because I admire, love, and respect what Bill and his coaching staff continue to create...each and every year.  Even with an ever changing roster, his leadership yields results. My competitive spirit and the results-producing achiever in me will always study, admire, and work towards replicating those practices within every organization I serve.  Whether I am contributing to developing the talent of our future workforce, or partnering with organizations that understand the value of investing in their people, most of my guiding success principles, come from studying what is right with people, and helping to implement a recipe of potential that is filled with a constellation of stars just waiting for their lights to shine brighter together.

Cheers to becoming stronger together...and to my or lose, I will always admire your greatness!

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Written By: Erica Ballesteros