You cannot lead the top performers in your organization simply by rules. Top performers do not need rules. Rather, they need guidelines. They need standards.
In his wonderful book The Gold Standard: Building A World-Class Team, Coach Mike Krzyzewski writes, “In developing teams, I don’t believe in rules. I believe in standards. Rules don’t promote teamwork, standards do. Rules are issued by a leader to a group…When something is presented as a rule, you can’t own it. You can’t live it. Standards, on the other hand, are lived. This is what we do all the time. These are the things for which we hold one another accountable.”
Coach K had a unique assignment in 2008. As a college coach, he was named head coach of the USA Men’s Olympic squad which featured professional apex leaders like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Jason Kidd among others.
To take this collection of independently talented individuals form them into a cohesive unit, Coach K showed great leadership by creating an environment where they would collectively come up with a group of standards the team would play, practice, and live by. Rather than issuing an order from above, he allowed each Dream Team member to express what was important to them.
From their thoughts, the following are 15 Standards Every Church Staff, Business Or Team Must Have To Be Successful:
- No Excuses – We have what it takes to win.
- Great Defense – This is the key to winning the gold. We do the dirty work.
- Communication – We look each other in the eye. We tell each other the truth.
- Trust – We believe in each other.
- Collective Responsibility – We are committed to each other. We win together.
- Care – We have each other’s back. We give aid to a teammate.
- Respect – We respect each other and our opponents. We’re always on time. We’re always prepared.
- Intelligence – We take good shots. We’re aware of team fouls. We know the scouting report.
- Poise – We show no weakness.
- Flexibility – We can handle any situation. We don’t complain.
- Unselfishness – We’re connected. We make the extra pass. Our value is not measure in playing time.
- Aggressiveness – We play hard every possession.
- Enthusiasm – This is fun.
- Performance – We’re hungry. We have no bad practices.
- Pride – We are the best team in the world and we represent the best country.
When Coach K returned the Duke later that fall, he conducted the same exercise with his Blue Devils squad. The following are 6 additional standards they instituted:
- Confidence – We believe in our own abilities. We believe in each other.
- Confront Immediately – We let nothing linger.
- Dependability – We can be counted on.
- Represent Our Program Off The Court
- We Are THIS Duke Team – The time is now – not the past.
- Family – No one is closer.
Regardless of what team you are a part of, these 21 standards will make you a better organization. Which one can you implement today to become a better team?
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