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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Things Not Going Well in the Business? Get That Winning Mentality!

Vince Lombardi, the legendary and very successful coach of the Green Bay Packers football (American) team was almost as legendary for his long list of pithy quotes.  One of them that I like very much is:

“Winning can become a habit.  Unfortunately so can losing”

He could easily have replaced “winning” and “losing” with “positivity” and “negativity”.  Both of them can be catching.

One of the drivers in Transactional Analysis is the “Be Perfect” drive which can be very painful simply because perfection as such is unattainable.  This driver can make an individual both frustrated and dissatisfied both of which are pretty unhealthy.

I recall a colleague who, when asked how her day had gone, would reply:

“If I had done something differently, which I thought about after the event, it would have been much better”.

Her husband, cleverly, would say:

“Before you decide what didn’t go well, tell me about what did go well”

Again, on one occasion I was waiting for one of my Vistage members in a hotel where we were meeting for his monthly mentoring session and as he came through the door still on his mobile phone, I could see that he was in some turmoil.  He sat down and started to bang on about how difficult people could be and what a problem he had and etc, etc, etc.

I stopped him, said that what I wanted to hear was what had gone really well since I had last seen him and when he had finished telling me that, then h could tell me about his problems.

After some thought and telling me the good news, I asked about his difficulties which had seemed almost overwhelming when he came in.

“Oh, nothing of any significance really” he said.

One of the primary functions of the leader is to help the team to make winning a habit, not necessarily in the sporting sense but more in terms of generating an attitude of mind – the “can do” approach. 

When a leader (or a customer for that matter) asks for something unusual the answer should always be “Yes” and then find out how to achieve it afterwards.

Too often we experience that metaphorical intake of breath, the shaking of the head and the negative response which is always a turn off.  The winning mentality is an attitude of mind and needs to become a habit in everyone in the team.

It is possibly the primary function of the leader to make sure that the winning habit is ingrained into the team. 

Vince Lombardi certainly knew how to do just that.

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