How committed are you to “winning”? Almost every leader will say things like: “Very!” “I’m all in!” “One hundred percent!”
Unbelievable. The results aren’t just disappointing, they’re disastrous. You and your team are shell-shocked. You thought the market would respond but the market just didn’t respond. So how should you respond?
The results aren’t what you wanted. You had committed to achieving more, but you didn’t. And of course you can tick off a list of reasons why.
You’re ambitious. You’re results-driven. You want to win.
But you have enemies. They’re fighting against what you want. And they’re growing stronger by the day.
When Arthur Blank decided the time was ripe to launch a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team in Atlanta he went all in. They launched in 2017. In 2018, Blank’s team – Atlanta United – won the MLS Championship. Since when does a 2nd-year team in an established league win a championship? Since never.
“Becoming” is more important than “being.” Being is static; becoming is dynamic. Being works if things never change. Becoming is essential because things continually change.
As a consultant, I know that one thing clients want me to do when I assess their organizations is to tell them the uncomfortable truths. Where are they weak? Where are they vulnerable? What are they not doing that they should be doing? What are they doing that they shouldn’t be?
There are lots of reasons for not holding your people accountable for poor performance. It’s uncomfortable. It’s emotional. It takes time. It takes energy. The costs of holding your people accountable are significant. So what do you do? You procrastinate, or avoid it altogether.
Everyone says they’re committed. Everyone says they want to win.
I’ve surveyed thousands of organizational leaders, asking them about their commitment to winning, however they define it. Their answers? “100% committed.” “All in.” “Failure is not an option.”
During my doctoral studies in the psychology of human performance I was fortunate to study with Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who would go on to win the Nobel prize for his pioneering work in behavioral economics. Behavioral economics deals with the systematic “irrationalities” that influence our judgment and decision-making. In short, it is now well recognized we are not the “rational actors” that economists long thought we were.
Last week, with the World Cup underway, I wrote about the resurgence of German soccer and how success can lead to failure can lead to success. I outlined how the defending champions did a tremendous job of rebuilding their national program over the past 20 years.
Pablo Picasso is considered one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. On a recent trip to Spain we toured the Picasso Museum in Barcelona and discovered how he became the artist he was. Seeing paintings by a 13-year-old Picasso, it was obvious he was extremely talented. Yet the more we read about him the more we learned he was also extremely driven, extremely committed.