Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on trying not to lose. Are you a winner or a loser?
Being advised that you need to be focused, or be laser focused is one thing. But, what are you being advised to be laser focused on? I am a huge football (soccer) fan, and my favourite team is Liverpool. Throughout my life, Liverpool have always been focused on winning.
They want to win every match, and win trophies at the end of the season. There are other teams who play in the same league as Liverpool, who focus on trying not to lose. I won’t name any names here.
The difference is in terms of football; when you are laser focused on winning, you know exactly what the vision is. You also know how to get there. When you are laser focused on trying not to lose, you are thinking of either winning, or drawing. So the vision is very hazy and unclear.
1. Focusing On The Vision
If we think in terms of our working world; being laser focused on winning, is exactly the same as being laser focused on what the vision for the team, and the organisation is. We are clear on where we want the team to get to, and how we are going to get there.
Being laser focused on not losing, we are not quite sure on what the vision for the team, or the organisation is. We also don’t know how we are going to get there.
Highly effective team players are always laser focused on the vision for the team. They think in terms of the big picture. When they start work in the morning, they have a purpose. They want to make a difference every day.
In football terms; they are laser focused on winning, and they will do anything they can to help their team win. They go the extra mile and go further than what is expected of them. How much are you willing to be laser focused on winning?
Low performing team players are not laser focused on anything usually. They don’t know the vision for the team, and don’t care about the vision for the team. When they start work in the morning, their objective is to be assigned as little tasks as possible.
They don’t want to be part of the team, and will not help the team win. They don’t have a purpose, and are focused on trying not to lose. They look at what they do as just a job, and will do the exact minimum required to get the job done. How much are you not willing to be laser focused on trying not to lose?
Over the years I have led some great teams, and some not so great teams. The great teams had a vision to strive towards, and most members of those teams knew what it was.
So, they were laser focused on striving towards achieving that vision every day. There were one or two team members who were not, as they were mainly laser focused on themselves.
2. Do You Focus On Yourself?
Members of the team who only focus on themselves, are low performing team players. They are usually part of a team because they were told to be, not because they wanted to be. The highly effective team players are there because they volunteered, and wanted to make a difference.
If a person is part of a team because they are told to be, and they don’t want to be there, then that will drag the rest of the team down. Their focus won’t be on the team’s vision, but mainly just to get through the day with doing as little as possible.
It’s possible that you have experienced this in your career. You may have been part of team’s were there were people who were told to be there, and people who volunteered. Have you ever been part of a team that you didn’t want to be a part of?
Have you ever volunteered to be part of a team? If the answer is yes to both questions, then you know the difference in feelings. One team you were excited and driven to be a part of. One team you felt miserable and wanted to be somewhere else. I know the feeling, because I have experienced the same in my career.
If you were in the position to lead a team, which type of team members would you want on your team? Would you want the team members who were told to be there (low performing team players)?
Or, would you want the team members who volunteered to be there (highly effective team players)? The answer is easy; highly effective team player, right?
When volunteering to be part of a team, or part of a group, you are giving yourself a great opportunity. You are willing to accept the responsibility to make a difference, and you are giving yourself the opportunity to raise yourself up.
People who volunteer to be part of teams are usually highly effective team players. So, they will know, and be laser focused on the team’s vision. They will also know how to strive towards achieving that vision.
3. How Often Do You Volunteer?
I would like you to look within yourself for a moment, and be 100% honest with yourself. If a new project came up in your workplace, and had the potential to be a huge benefit, would you volunteer to be part of the team? Or, would you wait to be told to be part of the team?
Whatever your answer may be, will your influence increase with the highly effective team players you work with? Or, would it decrease? What do you think the difference would be from you volunteering to be part of the team, and being told to be part of the team?
If you are thinking that you would like to be on the project, but not part of a team, then I urge you think a bit deeper. It is a huge project, and will benefit the organisation greatly. This cannot be carried out by individuals, it has to be a team.
If you are not willing to be part of a team, then you are a low performing team player, and focussing on not losing. You will soon be bypassed by the volunteers who are highly effective team players, and are laser focused on the vision, and winning.
You are part of the organisation you work with, that is one team. You are part of the department you work with, that is one team. If you are part of a project, that is one team. If you work with different department, that is one team.
4. Are You Part Of The Team?
You are part of many teams that form one organisational team. So, you cannot dismiss being part of a team. All successful people became successful because they were part of a team, purpose, or cause. They had help from a team. To be truly successful, you cannot do it on your own.
I didn’t realise the team scenarios above until I became a project manager, when I worked in Liverpool for their train operating company. The reason I didn’t realise it was because for years we were not all focused on the vision.
We were focused on trying not to lose, or just getting through the day with no issues. It wasn’t until we had a new engineering director, Kevin, and he turned us around and we focused on the vision.
Whatever organisation you work with, you are part of a team of team’s. If you don’t focus on the vision for the team, and the organisation, then you will be a low performing team player.
If you do focus on the vision for the team, and the organisation, then you will be a high performing team player. Make the decision of what you want to be laser focused on. The team, or yourself?
If you focus on yourself, then you are letting the team down. If you focus on the team, then you are helping to raise them up.
Highly effective team players are laser focused on winning. They want to win. They know how to win. They will do everything they can to win, and won’t stop until they do. Is this you?
What you choose to ignore in life, could have serious consequences in your future. Be laser focused on the right things, for the right reasons.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,