What are the options to strengthen team motivation into the “high performing” realm? – A few thoughts based on the Soccer Women’s World Cup and a recent article in the German online edition of the Financial Times.
The FT article revolves around the slogan “Every project needs a brand!”, and possibilities to develop a project into such a brand. What is written there is useful, and at the same time I’m missing something on the way to high-performance teams, something beyond the brand is missing. Don’t you feel it, too?
Two quotes from the soccer national team offer a nice contrast. First, a German player answering an interview question sets us on the trail. The question is: “What are you thankful for?”
My team mates and my friends
Even without asking you now which team mates you are thankful for the quote reveals what that missing something is: It’s something about the people around us, who are – with all their more or less desired strengths – pulling in the same direction and are striving for the same goal as us. The people who make up the team are in focus. It’s about us.
And I can say that in all high performance environments I’ve worked in so far, I was thankful for every single team member, and because I appreciated these people so much, I’m still proud of having been part of every one of these teams, never mind work or leisure. Even the mere thought of those days makes me feel really great. Remember your own high performance periods. For some, it works better to think first of yesterday, then last week, then last month and to collect the team spirit moments from each phase until they arrive at their youth and childhood. Others remember even better by starting at their childhood, collect their experience until they arrive at last month, last week, yesterday and today. Whichever way you prefer to strengthen your memory: Where did you find this really strong, positive feeling of team spirit? This feeling can be your guiding light and tell you the direction.
Because it’s also about our joint attitude – and in all humility, first my own, respectively your own attitude – towards the team and its assignment. I like what Celia Okoyino da Mbabi said:
“Believe me, […for this world cup match…] I’d have played goalie.”
In only a few words, she reveals her passion. Celia wants to play, she wants to win, she wants to do her best, and she’s putting aside the broken shin from a few years ago to make it work. A high performance team needs enthusiasm, professionalism is not sufficient. Burning for the goal, impatience as if right before a world cup match – those things characterize what truly deserves the term “team”. Where I’m passionate for a topic, that passion will in all its intensity rub off to everybody else. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s one of the central characteristics of my successes: From the very first moment, I was enthusiastic for those jobs that turned later into successful high power assignments. Are you aware how your subjective perception is distinguishing mediocre jobs from the champions league? How forcefully do you act on this insight? How do you nurture your passion for your job?
A high performing team starts with you: Do you do more and more of what you are passionate about?