As I watched coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers walk off the court for the last time as the Lakers coach, after being swept by the Dallas Mavericks (what a way to go out!), I reflected back on his coaching days in Chicago with the Bulls.
I lived and worked in Chicago for three years and was a big Bulls fan, still am. Phil Jackson is a great coach. Not just a great basketball coach, great coach in general.
In his twenty-year coaching career he was an eleven-time world champion. No professional North American sports coach has won eleven championships. Even the great UCLA Bruins basketball coach John Wooden, came up one championship short of coach Jackson.
Now I know many readers are thinking, “Hey, I could win championships too if I had the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal on my team.” I can’t deny the fact that great talent gives you a big advantage. However, on the other hand, it could be argued that coaching superstars with their massive salaries and matching egos presents a greater coaching challenge. That being said, I would still rather have Michael, Kobe and Shaq on my team.
There are many keys to success for any coach, in any endeavor, be it sports or business. One thing coach Jackson said many years ago, I believe is the essence of his success and a formula for coaching a winning team. While being interviewed, coach Jackson said, ‘”With the Bulls I’ve learned that the most effective way to forge a winning team is to call on the players need to connect with something larger than themselves. It requires individuals involved to surrender their self-interest for the greater good so that the whole adds up to more than the sum of the parts.”
That statement is how Jackson was able to get great individual players like Michael, Kobe and Shaq to buy-in to his team first concept. Imagine for a moment how your organization might be different if every employee, from the young lady behind the transaction counter in the store right up to the CEO, bought into this team first concept. What would your customer service look like? How much more efficient would your organization run? What would be the impact on profitability?
You Can Dream or You Can Act:
So what would it take in your organization to get all hands on deck, marching to the same tune towards a common goal? How do you get everyone to buy-in for the greater good of the organization? Here’s a simple five-point checklist to help stimulate some thoughts, build momentum, and move forward.
ü Identify Your Top Performers:
Identify the Michaels, Kobes and Shaqs in which to build and rally the troops around. These are not only your top performers, but just as important, they have the respect of their peers.
ü Communicate Your Purpose:
What is your organization’s core purpose; your fundamental reason for existing beyond just making money? Not to be confused with vision and mission. Once you’ve determined your purpose, communicate it loudly throughout the organization.
ü Solicit Input:
Once you’ve communicated your purpose, solicit feedback from everyone asking what your purpose means to them and how they in their job can help the organization pursue the purpose.
ü Act on the Input:
Share the unedited input you’ve received in step 3 throughout the organization. Study the input and develop action plans based on what you’ve learned. Your action plans should include timelines, responsibilities and metrics.
ü Develop a Communication Strategy:
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization. You simply cannot over communicate. Assign someone within the
organization to take ownership of communication. Without having someone responsible for communication, it doesn’t
happen (trust me on this one!).
Remember that old saying, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Is it worth it?