My experience building teams has led me to the conclusion that you can’t run up the mountain of success. You don’t have to ascend every ridge, but you won’t achieve anything sustained if you attempt to climb too far too fast. Even a dramatic overhaul of your roster won’t yield the cultural change necessary to achieve elite performance. Cultural change can only be hard earned through the crucible of time, adversity, failure, and success.
What you don’t see when you witness a team holding up the championship trophy are the teams that have preceded it, the teams whose efforts and trials helped accumulate the cultural lessons that culminated in the championship. In pro sports, the rosters of preceding teams often have the same personnel, but in college sports the athletes of the earlier teams have often graduated before the ultimate championship formula is achieved. As Aristotle knew, excellence is a habit, and as such, creating elite performance takes trial, error, repetition, and time.
Winners set their goal for the top of the mountain then assess their current location and work to take a step forward. Winners work through resistance, both internal and external, and respond with a productive action to gain a little more altitude on their journey towards the top. Winners focus on what they can control. Winners know unexpected challenges will arise and work hard every day to create the capacity to meet them. Winners make their choices today based upon what they want in the future. Winners learn from success, failure, and those who have come before them. Winners are always growing, even if they are fortunate enough to reach the pinnacle, for they know the air is thin at the top, and failure to continue to acclimate means they won’t stay there very long.
Where are you and your team on your journey up the mountain? What productive action will enable you to gain a little more altitude?