Great teams don’t surround a star, like our solar system does. They are constellations, like the Milky Way, filled with stars.
It’s Saturday as I write this. So there is a dizzying array of sports to choose from and watch. Since it’s Fall, the easiest choice is football.
The teams that win games are the ones that aren’t built around a star player. Remember the losing seasons when Michael Vick was the Falcons’ quarterback? As good as he was, he just couldn’t win games without the rest of the players doing their roles to the hilt. The same thing happens when a ball hog attempts to steal the show. He revels in his successes and whines like a baby when he fails. The rest of the team means little to him as he drives toward his goals. If he loses, he will blame them. When he wins, he keeps the credit for himself.
When a team is built around a star, nobody wants to sacrifice for the team win. If you want your team to rise above mediocrity and claim the championship, you need to build everyone into a star. Everyone has special talents that can be used to make the Blow Your Socks Off Vision a reality. The job of the leader is to nurture the eagle in every player and make the chicken in each one less relevant.
A winning team’s highest goal is not victory. It’s excellence. The beautiful thing about excellence is that many times it brings victory.
As a leader, you develop excellence in your team two ways.
First, you hold each player accountable to his role. Is he doing his part to ensure the team is performing at the top of its game? Does he see the importance of his role in accomplishing the team’s vision?
Secondly, you give your players freedom to fail.
You might have done a double take after that statement. But did you know that Michael Jordan missed more shots than the average player? No one remembers that. They just know that he hit enough to win consistently. You see, failure is the seed of success. Those missed shots paved the way for better shots afterwards.
How does your team look? Is it a solar system built around a star, or is it a group of stars shining brightly together?