Why it’s important to Win (or at least try to!)

Why it’s important to Win (or at least try to!)

1024 512 Andy McFarland

Teamwork and the Importance of Winning.

I participated in a couple of seemingly different events last week that got me thinking about the topics of teamwork and winning. The connection between the two might not seem obvious, but by the end of the week I could definitely feel the similarities – see if you can relate…

It all started on Monday with a last minute trip to San Francisco. If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE baseball fan, and that the Giants are my favorite team. The Giants were hosting the Chicago Cubs for a playoff game and so my dad and I flew up to watch the game. Playoff sports are always exciting, and I could feel the energy in the city from the moment we stepped off the BART station on Market St.  San Francisco is never short on buzz, but the atmosphere was downright electric as we walked to AT&T park surrounded by other fans. Sitting in the left field bleachers (where the best fans are) throughout the game, we all cheered together or groaned together depending on the circumstances on the field. If you are a sports fan I assume you know this feeling – as if YOU are actually on the team yourself, and a win for the team is a win for “Us”.

Me on the right, my dad on the left, and our friend Lon in the middle.  Go Giants!

Then at the end of the week on Friday, PPM had our Quarterly Staff Meeting.  This has been a ritual of ours since at least 2008, where we all get together to review how things went for us over the previous 3 months, and talk about our goals for the next 3 months.  We eat a catered lunch, review our financial results, talk about any challenges we faced or processes we improved, and if things are well – we make sure to celebrate our success as a team.  It is a feel-good event where everyone can feel proud of themselves and their teammates for what we have accomplished, and motivated about the improvements that we plan to make in the next quarter to become a better As-Built surveying company for our clients, vendors, and employees.

Question:  What do these events have in common?

Answer:  Teamwork and the power of winning!

As weird as it may sound, I got the same feeling at the company meeting that I got at the baseball game.  It was a feeling of comradery and shared purpose – that we all had the same goal, were all in it together, and all wanted to Win. It is why complete strangers at a ballgame will high five or even hug when something great happens for their team, or why 20 people at PPM will start cheering when I announce that we acheived our As-Built program delivery goals for the quarter.

People want to feel like they are playing for something. In sports, the goal is usually simple – to score more points than the other team.  In business it’s not usually that easy – there are no end zones, home plates or finish lines.  So you have to define your own goals so that your team will know what they should be striving for, and if and when they have won.  But the best part about winning in business is that you can ALL win together.  Unlike in sports, you don’t have to also have a losing team.  You can all be cheering together!

Here’s a few things we’ve done to bring the concept of winning into our business:

  • Define the goals.  Every year and every quarter we set goals for things like revenue, client satisfaction, employee engagement, systems to improve, etc…   They should be ambitious, but realistic.
  • Track and announce progress.  Just setting goals isn’t enough.  You have to track them and talk about them regularly.  In sports, there is a scoreboard there at all times so you always know how you are doing.  You need the same thing in your business.
  • CELEBRATE!  Give everyone an extra incentive to want to win – it needs to be fun!  The danger of not celebrating is that your goal starts feeling more like a punishment if you fall short, rather than a reward when you win.

Our tracking sheet for Q3 Goals.  The reward for achieving them all? Employee Racing Event at K1 Speed!

Getting your team aligned behind the company goals is one of the most impactful things you can do as a leader in your company.  So take a lesson from sports and harness the power of teamwork and Winning!