In the movie The Replacements, Gene Hackman tells his star quarterback, “winners ALWAYS want the ball!” It’s a strange statement coming from a coach of a football team. To me it feels like a peculiar thing to say because football is a team sport – it’s meant to be collaborative. An individual does not win the game themselves, rather, the team wins together. However, despite football being a team sport everyone must play like a Champion in order to win. They need to practice like a team but play like a champion.
Practice is important, not just in a team environment but in everything we do. Practice means repetition and focus, which leads to mastery; it allows you to see the whole picture and learn how to reach for the best result. In a team environment, practice gives you the opportunity to learn about your teammates: their capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, preferences and how you can best assist them achieve success.
Yet, once the practice is over it’s time to get out on the field and put the work in…it’s time to be the Champion. However, being the Champion does not mean being selfish or egotistical, it means being the best at whatever you do. It also means having the ability to recognize when to engage another teammate and help them do their best. True Champions are team players who know their limits, appreciate the talents of others, and know how to bring out the best in themselves and their teams. All in all, if everyone does their best, teams can accomplish anything!
Just like in sports, practicing as a team and individually playing like a champion will make an organization unstoppable. The whole does become better than the sum of its parts, but perhaps more importantly, playing like a champion allows us to be our best person.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”– Phil Jackson
Who will you be a Champion to this weekend? Let me know.