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How can you inspire your team to play to win?

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June 12, 2015
Tech & Leadership
Renie Cavallari

Most of us can name a leader who had tremendous impact on our lives and I was lucky enough to meet my first in high school. She was my lacrosse coach, Gladys Hart, and she understood how to inspire people to play to their true potential.

I had never played lacrosse before and where I come from, lacrosse is a no-nonsense sport. You play to win. Let me be clear: when I tried out for her team, I really stunk. In fact, my team lost a lot of games at the beginning of my first season. We were always one step behind the competition and there were times when we felt we would never catch up.

Then things started to come together. For one thing, Coach Hart led practice each day. Then there were the clear values she established so we knew how she expected us to act and participate on and off the field if we wanted to stay on her team. Winning took a lot more than great strategy, daily practice and endless stick work drills.

Our mission was clear... to win games. Coach Hart achieved it by inspiring each of us to play for something bigger than any one win. She inspired us to play for the team and the legacy of poise, power and professionalism that we would leave behind.

Our skills, combined with the self-leadership and alignment with a higher purpose that Coach Hart developed in each of us, is what allowed us to refocus on the team after each loss. We improved our play and eventually won – together.

This is where great leadership comes from: the power to coach and inspire others to achieve something bigger than any one person can achieve alone.
The Lesson: Technology is a competitive industry. Time to market is short. Competition is fierce. Collaboration within your organization is key. Then there is the reality that you are playing in a marketplace where any one person or organization, regardless of size or “playing time,” can develop the next big thing in their niche.

It is more important than ever for tech companies to ensure their teams are aligned with customer and marketplace opportunities, their workplace is truly agile in nature, and that collaborative thinking (both inside and outside your organization) allows you to be disruptive and create the next big thing. Your team must be able to respond to the demands of the game in real time to stay competitive.

Leaders who inspire alignment, create environments where there is ongoing and healthy communication, and design accountability up front always win.

Renie Cavallari is founder, CEO and chief instigator of Aspire, a captivating speaker, author, leader, coach and strategist who has driven measurable results for businesses around the world for more than 30 years. Cavallari is the author of aspire to lead, the second book in the aspire series. The book provides a 360-degree view of what it takes to lead today and includes tools to help strengthen your leadership muscle.

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