Treat Your Startup Like The Super Bowl: 5 Tips To Build A Championship Team

Treat Your Startup Like The Super Bowl:

5 Tips To Build A Championship Team

Chaos can feel demoralizing. As humans, I think we all crave order and some extent of routine. That’s why the structure that’s provided in the majority of nine to five jobs are appealing: they take the guess work out of the equation. A job can provide purpose—even if it’s just getting out of bed in the morning because someone is depending upon you to show up. And of course, we all need to feel needed. At times, forming a company from scratch can feel like you’re alone at sea making your way across uncharted waters.

With a startup—you’re captaining a ship on a maiden voyage and it is your duty as a leader to make all those that come on board comfortable and excited to embark upon the journey. Similar to a coach leading a team to the super bowl, you have to be prepared to face some adversity—and weather the storm of defeat—in order to prosper.

In the beginning, you would like your business be a well oiled machine.  You want a team where everyone knows their positions, with QB in the right place, the entire team on the same page in terms of when to show up for practice, what the end goal looks like and what equipment, special teams, trainers, etc. are required to be successful. But the truth is that a start up can feel like your team is playing at the pop Warner level as opposed to the NFL. And that’s to be expected. Extraordinary teams practice together. They put in the sweat, tears, injuries, setbacks, losses, demanding practices and key wins in order to understand what it means to excel together and triumph against all odds. Champion teams aren’t created overnight—they’re conditioned and coached and encouraged over time; they cultivate a mindset of greatness long before they begin to fully thrive.

The challenge as an entrepreneur is that you know what the end goal looks like: you see it clearly in your mind. But in order to win the championship, you must be prepared to build a foundation for greatness first. Some of these steps may seem counter intuitive, but these 5 steps will help you to create a team that can take on any challenge and win big.

1: Lose

You’re reading that correctly. Outright losing is critical to your success. Why do you need to lose in order to win? Well, a couple of reasons. Losses provide important feedback so we can grow. Businesses tend to be a reflection of the core team running them, and if each of them aren’t growing personally, the company will surely fail to grow outwardly and eventually become stagnant. Losses build character and they make you hungry to win. The way people react to failure is indicative of how successful they will inevitability be in life and in business. Failure can make you want to quit or hide in humiliation. A winning character is marked by an openness to absorb information and feedback when a failure occurs and create a strategy to combat that challenge the next time around. Great leaders study their losses more than their wins to discover what went wrong and how they can better prepare for success the next time around.

2: Identify Weaknesses

Nothing will humble you and expose your weaknesses more than starting your own company. In the beginning, entrepreneurs are undoubtedly going to be wearing many hats and often times as an entrepreneur you’ll try to take on way too much. As you begin to develop as an organization, you must take the time to identify critical gaps. What are the areas where you need to ask for help? The more you understand yourself and recognize your own limitations, the faster you’ll be able to grow. It’s okay to ask for help because there’s no way you can do it all on your own.

3: Stretch

Recent studies have shown the benefits of stretching on peak performance. While stretching can seem elementary or time consuming, underestimating the importance of stretching can be catastrophic to your business. So what does stretching look like in the business world? Stretching looks like applied energy to grow past your limits, fears and fixed mindset to reach greater lengths. By stretching outside of our comfort zones were able to find comfort and confidence in working through self imposed limitations. If every member of the team gets in the habit of stretching on a daily basis, imagine the new territory that you’ll be able explore collectively while along the way developing a sense of self confidence that is unstoppable.

4: Focus on Each Quarter

What you choose to focus on is the single biggest predictor of success. Is your team focused on small, unimportant tasks or are they armed with the knowledge and power to make big plans happen? That is up to you as an entrepreneur. You have to help your team to focus on the things that matter most and win big in those areas.

Another critical (and sometimes extremely challenging) aspect of that is: helping to take their focus off obstacles. Obstacles will always be there, especially with a start up. Do things feel uncomfortable or chaotic? Are there projects that have been failures or haven’t gotten off the ground? Have you taken on more than you can reasonable chew? If you haven’t experienced all of these things as an entrepreneur, you probably haven’t been in business very long as these setbacks are to be expected. However, these “loses” can feel uncomfortable or like a sign of defeat for some team members.

Your responsibility as a leader is to shoulder the brunt of the impact, so that team members are able to focus on what matters. You have to give them the big picture vision often enough so they don’t lose sight of it, but encourage them to stay aligned to the present moment and the key objectives at hand. Break things down into manageable pieces. (I.e. what are the most important goals for today, this week, this month?). You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to accomplish as a team when you have a team that believes in each other and has the right focus.

5: Celebrate the Win

Winning the Super Bowl is a big deal. There’s a lot on the line—international celebration, the Vince Lombardi trophy, and not to mention a lot of money. The winning usually attends a super bowl parade with thousands of screaming fans in their hometowns celebrating their achievement. In business there are “super bowl” caliber wins and then there are many more smaller milestones. Your team should get in the habit of celebrating victory so cultivate a winning mentality (ie you get addicted to what success looks like and the feeling that’s generating by doing good and making an impact) and also because if you’re not celebrating, it begins to feel monotonous fast. A strictly work hard mentality is not a great environment for a team—great work, needs to—at times—be broken up by play. And there’s no better reason to play then by celebrating a small or big victory together as a team.

In conclusion, if you’re embracing and learning from your mistakes, if you can identify and address your weaknesses, if you’re stretching to become better every day, you’re focused on the things that matter most and ignoring common distractions, and you empower your team to celebrating key wins along the way—you’re going to build an unstoppable, championship winning team—it is only a matter of time.

Emily Ghosh

Emily Ghosh is the Founder and CEO of Soul Media, a socially conscious digital media and experiential marketing firm that inspires genuine, authentic connection and engagement. Emily is the creator of 'Future of Female Leaders' a holistic mind, body and soul empowerment series for women leaders. When she’s not writing or interviewing people on her podcast, Emily enjoys paddle boarding, traveling and live music.

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