When do you make it personal?

Team success is a lot of fun.  Personally, I've always been more attracted to team activities.  Yeah, I was that kid growing up who got more excited about group projects than individual projects.  It's not uncommon for high achieving individuals to avoid being on a team.  But it's also not uncommon for some people to let others in the team do all the work, which is why high achieving people will want to avoid a team.  In the end, they will know it's their work that helps the team and someone else will benefit from not having the same level of work ethic. Why is it a team can make the high achieving want to avoid it and allow the low achieving the opportunity to avoid responsibility? Are teams worth it?  How can we lead teams where this doesn't happen?

Both the high achiever and the team member who avoids responsibility has to take things personally. Team success is a reflection of personal success.  Have you clearly defined what it means to win as a team member for this coming week?  Do those on your team have something to look at in order to identify if they are having personal success as a team member?  Have you written it down and each team member knows where to find it?

Empowering others to have personal success will lead to team success.  High achievers shouldn't be avoided because they lift the bar of accountability on the team.  But don't give up on those who want to be a part of team wins but doesn't recognize this means they have to strive for personal success.  Give them something to shoot for so they experience personal success and then redefine goals in four to six weeks.  Short term goals are attractive these types of team members!  Use them.

Being a part of a winning team is a lot of fun.  If you aren't experiencing winning right now evaluate how you are communicating to each team member what it means to be personally successful.

Success is making you suck

Most leaders have a false sense of success.  People have a tendency to confuse arriving with success.  We view what others have accomplished, or something they've built, or something they've acquired and we see it as success.  But if you were to ask any of those people if they are satisfied with their success you would never hear that they feel like they have arrived.  They feel successful in their work but they don't feel like they have arrived. The question is: Have you made success a place you are trying to arrive?

No one ever glorifies the hard work until the world looks at it in hindsight.  No one was praising Steve Jobs in the garage days of Apple and declaring his success.  Andre Agassi wasn't getting endorsement deals from camera companies when he was hitting a 1000 balls out of the monster (his name for the machine that shot tennis balls at him) on the court his father built as a kid.  Mother Teresa held the hands of the dying and learned significant things about God in the process, she didn't show up in Calcutta spiritually perfect and she certainly wasn't noticed when she got there.

As a leader don't get consumed by thinking success is a landmark you can arrive at.  Instead, do successful work.  We are successful in work when we have fully committed ourselves to doing the hard things.  Doing the things that few are willing to do.  Doing these things over a long period of time will cause momentum and it creates a culture.  We have to allow ourselves to do the hard work, the kind of work that may even change on us and the kind of work that can change us.

Can you think of someone who has demonstrated to you that success if found in work and not a landmark?