We get taught from a young age that winning and losing is just a part of life. Generally speaking though, if we were all honest, we would agree that it is much more fun to be on the winning side. So that begs the question – what distinguishes winners from losers? What defines those teams that succeed when it counts, from those that fail? How can one best prepare to ensure the best chance of winning?
What connects those that win consistently?
A review of history shows that there is one common link between champions – the ability to perfect and execute the basics.
Take the current NBA champions, San Antonio Spurs, as an example. The Spurs are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, making 24 play-offs from 25 seasons. They have the second highest winning percentage in NBA history, coming second to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs are the only team in the NBA with a tied or better head-to-head regular season record against every active NBA franchise.
So what distinguishes the team?
The team’s scouter (whom I had the great privilege of working with) will tell you it comes back to basics. Like other sports and many businesses, success in basketball is dependent on the people making up the team. Find the right people, with the right values and principles, and the key ingredients for success are already there.
On my first visit to my scouter friend’s office, a picture above his workstation (see below) caught my eye.
At first glance, one may think the picture shows a mirror image of a door. A closer look shows that in fact, there are two doors. The image was definitely not one you saw everyday. So I asked the question. Why was this picture significant?
The scouter told me that the image visually demonstrated the ‘left door/right door’ policy he applied when looking for potential recruits, explaining it to me in the following way.
“You know when you’re training and you are set a task? In basketball it might be to run 100 suicides (for those not familiar with the term, 100 laps of the court).
…as soon as you get past 50 laps, even the fittest players will be somewhat knackered. There will always be two types of athletes. Those who, when approached by the coach who tells them “OK, I can see you are tired so we will call it a day go hit the showers” and the athlete will respond “Yes” and run off the court, and those that when approached will say “it’s OK Coach I will finish this off, then hit the showers”.
The scouter went on to explain that the first group of athletes were ‘left door’ people, the second group, ‘right door’ people. The latter group were the athletes he wanted – people with the right attitude who wanted to excel and win. Techniques and skills can be taught, but winning attitude can’t. Without the right attitude and the desire to perfect the basics, players would not be winners, no matter the efforts spent on training.
To succeed in business find people that share your business values
Business can be viewed in much the same way. It is the people within a business which differentiates a winning business, from one which is only mediocre or struggles.
Whatever the business sector, and whether it be product, service or aftercare services, finding those who are willing to go that extra distance is the key to ensuring success. It is a basic that so many businesses get wrong, but is so easy to get right.
The retail banking division of CBA illustrates the importance of the personal touch in everyday banking, even with developments in technology. Customer centricity is something an individual must truly believe in and be passionate about so take the extra effort upfront to find the fight people and build the right basic foundations.
Remember technology can never replace the true personal touch only a human can bring!
Miwah Van - Founder of Unvorsum: Customer Strategy Consulting
Miwah Van is the founder of Unvorsum a new boutique consulting firm that helps companies unite customers and strategy. In her former roles as Head of Strategy & Business Development for Fitness First and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company she witnessed companies struggling to align strategy across the entire organisation while ensuring customers and staff are actively connected. Unvorsum aims to help companies make strategy executable and performance measurable while gaining alignment with all stakeholders.