As businesses and sports teams we are always focused on acquiring top talent. Our goal is to get the best of the best and that will “solve” our problems and make us the best in our respective areas. I disagree. I think that “A” performers are going to perform well in most environments. We get so caught up with who is on our bus, we forget that were driving it off a cliff. While top performers may not be as impacted negatively by environment, having the right culture and environment can help them grow tremendously and bring those around them to a higher level. Environment and culture play a huge part in developing your teams and creating growth, let’s talk.
Having a great team, whether you are the manager in a business or a coach at a school, is important. A great team is not defined as being all the best players or the top performers. A great team is a group of people who have trust in one another, look out for the group over themselves, and help each other grow and learn. These values are not just instilled in the people; they are installed in the organization or the group. This is how great teams continually perform and how great businesses remain profitable. It’s not about the result, or if someone leaves the team, it’s about the environment and culture of the team which is based in the culture and environment the respective leaders produce. People will come and go, but the environment in your team will always be in your control. The challenge you have as a leader in your company is how do I create the right environment and how do I repeat it and sustain it?
I listened to Simon Sinek talk about the bus metaphor I mentioned earlier and I really think he portrays it well. As I said, we are very concerned with the people on the bus. In sports teams you see it through the acquisition of other players and maxing out salary caps, in business you see head hunters stealing top talent from other companies. For the most part, these people go to these new teams and companies happily as they often get better deals, more money, better schedules or whatever other incentives they can think of. I don’t want to look at those people though; I want to look the people they didn’t get. The people they have called and offered every benefit under the sun yet they will not leave their company or team, why? I think it’s because the environment and culture they are a part of is something they are not willing to give up. They know that gaining more money or benefits is not worth giving up what they have with the group of people they work with. It is not just about “A” performers. Take care of your people and allow them opportunities for personal and professional growth and watch them blossom. Then when and if you bring more top performers into this growth environment you will watch them not only grow themselves, but bring those around them up. This is why environment is important. It brings your people together and creates loyalty, as well as a thriving culture that allows for innovation, growth, and trust.
Now we can establish that it’s not all about the right people on your bus, environment and culture are more important. Next comes where the bus is headed, vision. Having a vision is something I have talked about before and continually will talk about because it is something that ties people together seeing the connection between why they do what they do and what they are doing. This also affects environment. Your vision directly impacts your culture and your environment. These are mere reflections of what you believe, so having them be in sync not only creates trust with your employees, but also shows them that you are being genuine and authentic. Get the bus going in the right direction and watch your people prosper and grow.
The last piece to this is the bus itself. Another thing that people get caught up in, “keeping up with the joneses”. All I want to say is that a nice bus is just that, nice. It does not affect the aforementioned items. Look at start-ups that being in garages or in college dorm rooms. It’s not about what you’re driving; it’s about having the culture to drive your ideas to fruition and completion.
So what does this mean for you at your desk? How can you make an impact? The good news is you can, but the bad news is it won’t happen overnight. Sustainable change is like going to the gym. You don’t see results from working out for 8 hours one day a month; you see results from going three times a week for 30 minutes for a year. Continue to make small changes in your office or on your team and preach them constantly. Build the culture you desire by creating the environment you want. Then as people come and go maintain the direction of your bus and the standard you believe in and see your results flourish.