For over ten years now, The Cowboy Solution has worked with groups from all over the world helping them build better teams with its unique experiential leadership programs. Working with horses outdoors, brings abstract concepts to bear so that fresh thinking and new approaches can be immediately applied. The content is memorable and application-oriented. But, recently, The Cowboy Solution’s founder, Dr. Don Hutson, started looking at high performance teams, especially in the sports world to see what secrets these great sports dynasties possessed. Why could Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Phil Jackson, and John Wooden build dynasties? What was their secret? And could it be repeated in the corporate world?
Through this discovery process one thing kept coming up more than any other. Dynasties have a culture that turns players into high performance individuals and high performance individuals into high performance teams.
To survive and thrive in today’s world, organizations are faced with the need to not only be effective but also efficient. However, the first place to look for efficiency is not in cutting personnel but to create individuals who can reach a high performance level. As James Kerr in his book Legacy says about the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team, “If you want to reach high performance, when you get to the top of your game, change your game.”
But what is a culture?
A culture is a set of shared beliefs and shared actions that operationalize the beliefs. In the simplest of terms – C (Culture) = B (Beliefs) +A (Actions). Every organization has a set of beliefs, many posted on websites and marketing materials, which communicate to an external audience its values. However, very few organizations have definable actions that enable the beliefs or values to come to life. The real key to high performance is not just in having a set of values but in a process whereby these values become actionable and come to life.
The foundation of any successful organization lies in a well-defined vison. But vision is much more than just where we are going. More importantly is what are we really in business for? High performance originations take the “what” and transfer it to an even higher purpose that permeates every part of the organization.
Define what needs to be done. Create a credible plan to execute. Everyone understands their role when it comes to their competencies. The real question is do we understand our roles and the actions that we must take to live the values.
Once the values and purpose has been decided, every member of the team must understand their role in living the values.
Define the actionable process that will help change behavior and in turn guarantee success. The high performance process does not allow for failure.
Change is a Journey
Changing behaviors is difficult and will not occur overnight. However, we don’t always have years to wait especially if the change is necessary to the high performance of others. The real key is to start the journey.
High performance is not about I want to, nor is it about I will. High performance is about I did.