It Takes More than Talent
Here’s a news flash – NFL teams hire great players. How great? Well, only 6.5% of high school players get to play in college. Out of roughly 25,300 NCAA players, just over 1% get drafted by NFL teams. Of that number even fewer make the final cut and join the roster of a Pro team. I think we can reasonably conclude that NFL players are truly the best of the best.
Now, if they’re hiring the best of the best, I mean people who have better football skills than anyone else, do they just send them onto the field and tell them to score (or prevent) a lot of points? They’re super talented, and they definitely have skills, yet before they ever play a single snap, they spend hours and hours and hours reviewing the team’s playbook. They study it until they know it by heart, because even though they’re incredibly talented, talent isn’t enough. They can only be a truly successful team if they all work together to perform their best. Eleven players on the field doing their best in their own way, will get destroyed by another group of eleven players who are working together with an understanding of their individual roles as well as their teammates’ roles.
Do you have a playbook for your team? I’m sure that you spend a lot of time and (sometimes) money to hire people who have the necessary skills, abilities, and experience to perform well – most organizations do. What comes next? HR paperwork? A tour of the office? Some introductions? Surely, some detailed training on their specific job responsibilities. Where is your version of the NFL playbook – the part where you explain how everyone works together and what’s expected of everyone? When and how do you make that so clear that it just becomes the way your team operates every day?
To paraphrase David Friedman’s comments from our last blog, you often hear that “an organization is only as good as its people when it should be that an organization is only as good as its people perform.” So how do we take great talent and help them to perform at their best? How do we create a playbook for an organization?
Creating Your Own Playbook
First, we need to start with absolute clarity about what’s expected from each person. We help leaders do this by identifying behaviors (we call them Fundamentals), that if engaged in routinely by everyone in the organization, would lead to higher and higher levels of performance. Unlike company values, which typically consist of 4-5 broad statements, you may identify 20-30 Fundamentals that are key to organizational and individual success. (I can guarantee you there’s no NFL playbook with 4-5 plays!) I’m talking about things like Honoring Commitments, and Going the Extra Mile, or Being a Fanatic About Response Time.
Once we’ve helped leaders identify those critical Fundamentals, we need to introduce them to everyone in the organization so that they understand what’s expected of them, and just as importantly, what they can expect of each other. This introduction isn’t hard, but it needs to be done in a way that helps everyone recognize the opportunity and potential that those Fundamentals represent. It’s critical to show them that not only will it be good for the business, but it’s great for each of them as well because it’ll make it so much easier and less stressful to accomplish what needs to be done each day, week, month and year.
Being extraordinarily clear about what you need and expect of each person on your team – documenting and defining your company culture – is a step that’s often skipped. You know what needs to be done and how you want it to be done, and, if you’re like some leaders, you simply expect others to follow your lead and to figure it out over time. This is a great strategy if one of your hiring criteria is a well-developed sense of clairvoyance, but that’s not very realistic.
Stepping up to the Next Level
Getting your team to work more effectively together requires that you have your own playbook that’s detailed, clear, and that’s reviewed over and over to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of their roles and everyone else’s. When your team of great individuals starts working together in a way that allows them to perform at their best, well, that’s when you’re positioned to win more business, to have A-level talent seek you out proactively, and to really take your performance to the next level.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a playbook for your team by defining your culture in terms of behaviors, just give us a call, watch the 4-minute video on our homepage, or click the button below.