The 5 Key Components for Success in Sports and Work

Contributed By: Jeff Knapp

Win Dice Representing Champion And Success“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard” – Guy Kawasaki, Entrepreneur and Investor

In addition to the victories, defeats and fantasy league exploits shared by coworkers, there are key lessons to be learned from sports which can directly enhance our success in the workplace. Below are 5 key components for success in sports which are critical as we strive to create success in our workplace.

1) Leadership

It really does start at the top. A successful team and organization require effective leadership. In sports and business alike, the corporate values, goals, and priorities must emanate from the Head Coach or CEO. Players and employees need to have confidence in their leadership, trust that they have their and the organization’s interests at heart, and believe that their leaders respect their role and contribution to the success of the organization.

There are situations in which an organization may experience short term success due to a unique talent or perhaps a market development that provides a short window of opportunity, but extended, ongoing and consistent success requires outstanding leadership.

“Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy, Former President of the United States

2) Team

The most important resources in the organization are the team members. They are charged with developing, implementing, and executing the strategic plan, and realizing the goals and objectives set by the organization’s leadership. The results and success of the organization depend upon the caliber of the workforce and quality of the work product. Thus, every team and every company needs to focus significant effort and attention on maximizing individual team member effectiveness.

The costs of recruitment and assessment, orientation and training, and additional resource investment for new employees to become productive are immense. Hiring the wrong candidate for a position, resulting in an early exit from the organization, is even more costly, and often debilitating and demoralizing for the organization. Have the right game plan for determining what you need, finding the best talent to fit it (and your company) then supporting that talent and setting the team members up for success.

Clarity of communication by leadership, and consistency in reinforcing corporate values, will contribute significantly to employee commitment, motivation, and decisiveness.

“The secret to successful hiring is this; look for people who want to change the world.” – Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

3) Strategy

Successful leaders must also facilitate and articulate a company strategy that will result in employee and team commitment, and a roadmap explaining how to effectively navigate the competitive marketplace. Creating a viable plan is essential for company and team success.

Strategies and action plans (delineating who, what, and when) will be developed to identify the roadmap to accomplish key strategic objectives. These must promote team member behavior aligned with organization goals and consistent with organization culture and values. Success requires that team members and employees understand leadership’s commitment to the process and the resulting strategic plan as the guide determining employee priorities and actions. Clarity of communication is again critical to success.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tsu, Chinese Warrior Strategist

4) Performance

In order to maximize organization performance, the organization must maximize individual team member performance. Team members need to be comfortable in their role.

Each team member must clearly understand his or her role and responsibilities, specific goals and objectives, and the measurements that will define their successful performance. Developing a culture that motivates engagement and generates the level of commitment needed to aggressively pursue change requires clarity and consistency from leadership. Each team member must be confident that the organization will not condemn a responsible, but possibly failed, effort to improve a practice or process, or be a change agent. Managing this level of individual flexibility, while maintaining the required levels of productivity and assuring successful team performance, is a major challenge for the management team but is key.

“You are what your record says you are.” – Bill Parcells, former NFL Coach and Executive

5) Competition

We live, we play, and we work in a competitive world. In order to be successful on the playing field or in the workplace we need to win. We are competing for the commitment of employees and team members in the pursuit of success. Healthy competition is stimulating, motivating, and does not undermine the team. This is not in conflict with the broader goals of the organization. In fact, if goals and rewards are structured effectively, the more productive and successful we are individually, the more successful our team, department, and organization will be.

Leadership must establish a corporate culture and clearly communicate goals and priorities to the team members who are the most important resources in the organization, and understand that a strategic planning process, and the resulting organization strategy are critical in order to realize successful individual and organization performance. Ultimately achieving success requires that you compete and win.

 


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