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4 Reasons A Winning Team Keeps Winning

By Hunter Swanson | Friday, October 12, 2018

New York Yankees.  Alabama Crimson Tide.  New England Patriots.  Golden State Warriors.  I’d ask what these teams all have in common, but it’s a little obvious – they win.  A lot.  Yeah they got crazy talent, but there’s more to it than that.  Talent can only take a team so far (looking at you LeBron).  The reason a winning team keeps winning is because of their culture.  Teams with far less talent than their opposition have won it all because of their commitment to one another.  If you’re looking at building a winning team culture, here are four key aspects to have at the top of your list:

  1. A Clear Vision

Let’s think literally here for a second.  You are in a closed-roof stadium all alone standing on the 1-yard line and have 99 yards to go.  Nothing to distract you, nothing to block your line of sight, just you and your goal.  Pretty simple right?  Now add some teammates, defense, a roaring crowd, a pacing coach, some torrential rain for good measure, you’re down two, and the clock is counting down with seconds left in the championship game.  You know where the endzone is, but seeing it is a whole different ball game.

Having a clear vision as a team means that everyone is on the same page.  They know the overall goal for the team, are aware or the roles they play, and how to go about achieving their goals to support the success of the team.  A team is made of individuals players, but they act as one heart, one mind, one vision and are committed completely.

  1. Engaged and Accountable

Even if the team is working as one perfectly cohesive unit, they still won’t succeed unless they are engaged and accountable.  These two, like vision, revolve around the belief in the team’s goals and then doing whatever it takes to see the team succeed.  It may be complicated or difficult at times, but when everyone takes pride in working towards the team’s end goal and holds one another accountable, winning is just around the corner.

Let’s go back to the field.  You’re on the one, everyone is there, and you trust your teammates to have your back.  If they aren’t engaged and accountable, as soon as that ball is hiked, no one is going to move.  Your teammates may want to win, but unless they engage and are accountable for their position, nothing happens.  You’ll end up with a face full of dirt and an L in the big game.

  1. Transparent Communication

You would think the key term in this one is communication, right?  I mean, we hear it all the time when talking about successful teams.  But the truth is it’s not about just communicating – you have to have transparent communication.

You’re in the huddle.  You get the call from the coach, but it makes no sense.  There’s no time though.  You do your best to convey it to your team, but you’re out of timeouts.  You’re trying to tell everyone what to do, but they’re just confused.  You see how this ends – the play breaks down and you end up on the ground again.  There was communication, but it wasn’t clear.

Transparent communication doesn’t just happen on the field.  It takes place all the time.  Being open and honest as a team helps keep the peace and stops rumors from spreading, keeps everyone bonded, and clears the air before any negativity can set in.  Decisions for the team are then based on this transparent communication and help everyone understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

  1. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Having a winning culture doesn’t mean that the team doesn’t struggle or even lose.  It’s easy to be positive and healthy when things are going right, but it’s when the adversity sets in that a team’s true nature shows.  Do teammates pick each other up and find someone to blame?  Are they working as a cohesive unit or trying to do it all themselves?  Is their trust or hesitation?

In this final play, respecting one another means that it doesn’t matter who makes the winning score as long as you do it as a team.  The individual accomplishment is great, but so is the team’s success.  Draw in the defense, take the hit, and flip it to a teammate to close it out.  Game over, your team wins.

Teamwork transcends the field and carries on into life.  Whether you’re a freshman on a football team or the CEO of a multi-billion company, the core values of a winning team culture all look the same: clear vision, engaged and accountable, transparent communication, and respect.