Everyone can win by chance. Indeed, everyone can win by chance many times. With chance, I mean that there is no correlation between the effort and the results. By winning, I mean achieving their goals.
Many times, there are factors impacting the results that are out of the hands of people: timing, context, others’ skills, and stakeholders to give some examples. Therefore, taking results as the only performance measure can lead to lose valuable people. If you lead a team, there are some things you better bear in mind.
Results are not high performing necessarily
In the last class of this course with my MBA students, we discussed high performing teams, and we landed talking about two Spanish soccer teams: the national team who won the World Cup in 2010, and the Real Madrid in the times of Cristiano Ronaldo. Among soccer lovers, this conversation can be like a two-edged sword, especially for me, far from being an expert in the field.
Nevertheless, I took the risk to use these examples to explain why while the National team was a high performing team in 2010, the Real Madrid wasn’t despite all the titles they had won at the time.
We win together or we don’t win at all
A high performing team win together. In fact, winning is a collateral effect in the process of becoming a high performing team. The focus is the process and not the results.
Diverse skills and backgrounds allow a high performing team to outperform, but this process needs time. Time to join together, to solve conflicts, and to build trust. Like the old three musketeers, all for one and one for all. That’s why there’s no place for lonely starts in a team like this. Everyone works for the team’s benefit and not to shine alone.
That’s what happened with the Spanish National soccer team in 2010. They had the time to build together a context in which everyone had their place and their value. And no one was more important than others. They were committed with the team, even if this meant that for some of them their place was behind the curtain and not in the playfield. What the team needed, decided what they contribution should be, and was put above any other consideration.
On the contrary, and despite the results, the Real Madrid team of Cristiano Ronaldo was a squad around some star players, single focused on winning. As a collateral result of this strategy, many head coaches and players came and went over time. Many of them were dismissed if the results weren’t as expected, no matter how talented they were or how much they did cost. Cristiano Ronaldo became a legend because he’s an all-time leading goalscorer in the Real Madrid history. Results are all that matter.
Talent leads into outperformance under the right conditions
An all-star team will outperform a team of stars over time. For the talent to develop, it needs time. And with time, a talented team can tap into high performance if their leader takes care of creating the right conditions. It is the only way to have a sustainable success less dependent on chance, and more focused on people.
Results should not be the first objective when building a team. Instead, a leader should consider performance with a wider view.
Many times, there are important people who are not getting any business objective, but without the whole team can’t operate. Other times, there are goalscorers whose work won’t be possible without the silent contribution of other team’s members.
Forget about results in the first place and focus on how to integrate the talent and make the most of it, so you don’t win by chance.