Ken's 5 E's of Success
I would like to share with you the E’s of building a successful team. And I love Jim Rohn’s definition of easy. Jim Rohn said “Easy is anything you can do.” Something you can do is easy. I promise you this and all you know this who are building teams, this takes effort. There’s no question it takes effort. Hopefully by the end of this journey you’ll understand that it is easy. It is something you can do. And the journey starts with this.
Our task in leading a team starts with setting a vision. Christopher Columbus, before he takes off for the new world, he sells his vision to a group of men who are looking for something more. He says to them “I freely give my vision to others, so when they see the belief in my eyes they will follow.” He sold them a dream. For all of us personally or professionally we need some destination, some place, something to move forward to in our lives. For us to move from where we are right now we have to have some place, some idea of where we want to go. The most successful leaders, they create these goals and dreams that create this direction and focus for daily activity.
Once the direction is set, once we have our destination set, as leaders it’s our responsibility then to empower our team to move, to execute in a way that helps us move in the direction of our goals.
The first part of empowering for us is to identify the gifts in the team that we have, in the power that they have. Many times as a leader I, especially early in my career, I focused on solving problems, on fixing things. I thought that was my responsibility as a leader, so what was I looking for? For things to fix. I ended up looking for all the problems in the people we had. What I later understood is that the best leaders are constantly looking for the strengths in their team, and cultivating them for the benefit of the group.
Perhaps the most powerful tool we have in building our team is encouragement. And I think sometimes we underestimate the power of encouragement unless we are receiving it. And when we’re receiving it, we understand the power of it. I ask you, how do you encourage your team members? What is it you do? Do you just clap your hands? Or do you stand up, pump your fist, and cheer their name? What a difference in how they receive it and how they feel. There is a book by Mark Twain, and he says “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
We can do this in so many different ways, but using our words in particular. Our words are so powerful. What I have found in leadership is that our words have the ability to raise people up, or pull them down, and once it leaves our lips, it’s like that arrow, you cannot get it back. We have to be so careful in our words because they have the ability to give life, or take it away.
What I have found is this that the most successful teams I’ve ever been a part of have a genuine excitement and joy about the journey, and that excitement many times goes well beyond the soccer field.
Most people would say “of course in 2010 how could you not enjoy the journey?” Undefeated the whole season, it’s easy to feel the joy but it’s not necessarily the joy that comes from the positive circumstances. The joy needs to come first. That excitement, the attitude of how you approach it every single day should come regardless of the circumstances. To quote Richard Wagner “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” What I know is that the greatest champions have the ability to maintain that joy throughout the process no matter how difficult or arduous it may be. And in your profession, there is no question that you are running into situations that are so difficult and hard. Can you find the joy? Can you find it every situation? And what I’ve found is that it’s all about perspective. What are you looking for?
About 14 years ago Tina and I were presented with a business opportunity that we weren’t looking for, but what we found was that the greatest value in this opportunity was the personal development system. They said that if you want to get in this business, and perform well you needed to participate in the personal development system. It consisted of a book of the month, a CD of the week, and some mentorship. What we found was that there were two things in life that dictated who we became more than anything else. One was what you read, and the other was who you associated with.
The mentorship came through the books, came through the CDs, and we learned that we can grow from our own experiences, which I must tell you are painful and slow. Or we can learn from the experience of others, which accelerates growth and is much less painful.