What a treat for our sporting nation – the two key codes of football celebrating grand final wins with the underdogs getting up on both occasions. Having grown up with an almost obsessive love for AFL, I am absolutely delighted that the Western Bulldogs are the 2016 premiers (even though I am a passionate and long suffering Carlton supporter)!
How does a team come from 7th on the ladder to win the flag? How do they overcome a 62-year premiership drought? How do they manage to play as a high performing team week after week even though their beloved and highly skilled captain was injured early in the 2016 season?
My observation – they believed they could do it. They were 100% focused on the outcome, they had a shared goal, a goal which was largely shared by the entire western suburban population of Melbourne.
So often we use sporting analogies in the business world; it seems apt, in a sporting team everyone must know their role, commit to maintaining and building their skills, always be there to play their role in the game, recognise the strengths of others and provide opportunities for them to be optimised, operate selflessly, communicate continually, reflect on performance and opportunities for improvements and always remain focused on the goal, in this instance the premiership.
While the analogy works we are rarely treated to leadership and teamwork such as that demonstrated by high performing sporting teams. There is no doubt that the busy changing world we operate in creates challenges for teams to remain aligned or high performing, but surely they should never lose sight of the goal?
If we believe in what we do, why we do it and our role in it, then regardless of the rapidly changing environment we are faced with, alignment, high performance and ultimately achieving the goal is more likely.
How do you create ‘belief’ in the workplace?
- Share the ‘why’ – ensure every person knows why the business, service or team exists; it builds engagement, ownership and belief, it creates the story which employees can place themselves in
- Be clear on roles so each person knows how they can contribute to the goal
- Keep everyone informed, celebrate successes and share learnings from mistakes
- Encourage ideas from all parts of the business, listen, consider and give feedback
- Invest in skills and behaviours of your team so they are equipped to achieve the goal
- Recognise that leadership can emerge from anywhere at any time, encourage it!
The ecstasy of the Western Bulldogs win will easily carry them through the off-season while they enjoy a well-earned break. But first, they will take a deep breath, they will celebrate, they will reflect on their role in this momentous event and they will demonstrate thanks to every supporter who shared in their belief that anything is possible!