The Foundation for Winning Teams

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January 17, 2013

You’ve considered your business vision, where your business is going. You’ve also considered your business mission, why you’re going there. Now, it’s time to think about how you’ll treat others along the way, your values.

Whenever I think about values, whether it’s personal, or business, I always think about legendary football coach, Lou Holtz. Lou Holtz has never taken over a winning football team. Yet, he never failed to take each of those six college teams to a Bowl Game by the second year – at the latest. In the 1978 Orange Bowl, the Arkansas Razorbacks were 24 point underdogs. As a first-year head coach, Lou Holtz, had suspended three players prior to the game for team violations. Two of those three players, had accounted for 78% of the points scored by the Razorbacks that season. The team honored their values and defeated the heavily-favored Oklahoma Sooners 31-6.

Lou Holtz attributes the success of his teams to the 3 main values he instills in every team member…

1. Do what’s right. (This answers the question, “Can I trust you?”)

2. Do your best. (This answers the question, “Are you committed to excellence?”)

3. Treat others the way you want to be treated. (This answers the question, “Do you care about me?)

These three values build trust, commitment, and love, the foundation of winning teams. Coach Holtz amassed 100-30-2 record at Notre Dame and Notre Dame won the National Title in 1988.

These three values are the foundation of a winning team, according to the legendary football coach, Lou Holtz. And, to me, they are also the foundation of a successful organization.

Your business values define your standards of behavior, your code of conduct, how people want to treat each other. They help your team enjoy working together. Values are commitments regarding how your team will treat others. The values displayed by your leaders are especially important in developing your business and its culture. The key is choosing the values that fit your organization best, and instilling them everywhere, within your organizational culture.

Here are just a few of the values your team may choose:

  • Accountability – a personal willingness to answer for the results of my behavior
  • Collaboration – to cooperate and work effectively with others, especially in an intellectual endeavor
  • Commitment – to maintain superior standards of quality and achievement
  • Consistency – to be reliable and uniform in successive behaviors and results
  • Courage – to display physical, mental or moral strength in the face of danger, fear, or difficulty
  • Creativity – to produce original ideas and thoughts, to bring something new into existence
  • Dependability – demonstrate reliability and trustworthiness due to character and competence
  • Discipline – to receive instruction and correction in a positive way, to adhere to the rules and guidelines
  • Efficiency -using the least amount of resources to produce the most results
  • Empowerment – taking personal action to achieve an agreed-upon result, giving or receiving power and authority
  • Fairness – to be free from bias and injustice, to seek out other people’s perspectives
  • Friendliness – to be favorably disposed, kind, and helpful
  • Fun – to foster an environment of playfulness and enjoyment, to maintain a sense a humor
  • Generosity – to give freely of my time, talent, and finances
  • the golden rule – to treat others the way they want to be treated
  • Humility – to maintain a modest opinion of my rank or importance
  • Integrity – to do what I say I will do, to adhere to ethical standards
  • Loyalty – to use difficult situations as an opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to people, commitments, and obligations
  • Optimism – the disposition or tenancy to look under more favorable side of the events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome
  • Passion – to demonstrate a strong fondness enthusiasm for the work I do
  • Positive Attitude – a helpful and constructive mindset, feeling, and manner with regard to people and circumstances
  • Respect – to esteem the worth, qualities, and abilities of another person
  • Service – to fulfill a person’s needs and expectations; to be responsive, flexible, and adaptable to his or her requirements
  • Teamwork – to work together in our development, problem solving, and achievements to accomplish a shared purpose

Values have the power to strengthen personal character, build high trust organizations, and contribute to the greater good. It is essential to hold others accountable for their actions. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the talk.

As Warren Buffet said, “I look for three things in hiring people.  The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence, and the third is a high energy level. But, if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

So, what are the values that help your team enjoy working together while you achieve your desired results? How are you instilling the values into your employees, business and overall culture? Let’s continue the conversation. Leave a comment below, post on my Facebook page, or Tweet me @JoeCalhoon.

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