Developing a Culture of Excellence: 9 Strategies for Inspiring “Greatness” in Your Team CEO Insights 08-22-2023 By Jim Steinlage President & Chief Executive Officer In sports the head coach is ultimately responsible for shaping the team into a product that is consistently competitive, wins, instills pride in the program, draws fans, looks great, and creates a desire in others to want to join the team. The coach is the visionary, strategist, motivator, and the assembler of parts – getting assistants, trainers, recruiters, nutritionists, scouts, etc. to assist in building the team. If the team performs poorly, it’s the head coach who shoulders the blame. If they succeed, coaches are praised and often rewarded for their achievements. Ask any successful coach how they did it, and they’ll consistently say it wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of their teams. They know that even the best coach, great recruits, and the biggest budget don’t guarantee a winner. No matter how much talent a team has, if a coach fails to inspire their team to greatness, it can miss expectations and disappoint. Just as a good team relies on the collective efforts of its coaches, a business leader’s success depends on the dedication, talent, and collaboration of their teams. As a leader it is important to set high standards for achievement, inspire innovation and creativity, and motivate your team members to greatness. By fostering a culture of greatness, it allows the possibility of unleashing the divinely given potential instilled in each of us that ultimately will result in remarkable achievements and lasting business success. If you are passionate, confident, and deliberate in your daily habits you will inspire those around you to do the same. It is important to be driven by a sense of purpose and responsibility to create a positive work experience, motivating your teams, and supporting them in their efforts to reach new personal and professional goals. Through your consistent displays of concern, understanding, and genuine care for your team, you foster a culture of continuous personal growth and success-driven mentality. Encouraging team members to embrace challenges and growth opportunities, to collectively strive for greatness, and to celebrate success as a united team should be your mission as the head coach of your team. 9 Ideas for Unleashing Your Teams Potential for Greatness Many leaders will admit that personal ambition initially drove them to attain a leadership position. However, once you assume the role, a transformation occurs where you recognize the journey is about much more than personal accomplishment. It also involves elevating those you are leading. As you gain experience and insight, you realize you are responsible for creating a positive impact, and that true excellence lies in the ability to guide others to the same greatness. As you journey from “I” to “we” it requires humility, connection, and a sincere commitment to the development of those you lead. Here are 9 ideas to consider as you craft how to create Greatness. Clarify the Company’s Vision It is important to clearly communicate your organization’s vision. This will allow better alignment with your team’s responsibilities, tasks, and efforts. It ensures everyone’s working toward the same WIG’s (Wildly Important Goals) and creates a sense of purpose and direction. A clarified vision also gives you a leader a steady foundation to stay focused on long-term objectives while creating a culture of greatness that drives performance and team member happiness. Promote Communication Open communication improves collaboration, reduces misunderstandings, and facilitates problem-solving. It also fosters a positive and engaged work environment where teams are aligned, informed, and work in unity. Team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and opinions without fear of repercussion, resulting in a work climate of creativity, innovation, and greatness. Build a Culture of Trust Team members who feel valued and respected are more engaged, take ownership of responsibilities and mistakes, and want to be essential players in your organization’s success. When trust exists in the workplace, your team is more willing to take calculated risks, knowing possible failure will be seen as opportunities, not feared discipline. In a trusting environment, team members are also more receptive to feedback and constructive criticism because they understand it helps them improve their skills and performance along their journey to greatness. Recognize and Celebrate Team & Individual Achievements Boosting morale, team engagement, and relentless efforts can be done by routinely acknowledging and celebrating individual and team successes, big or small. Whether it’s sending accolades via internal messaging systems, encouraging peer recognition, or spotlighting accomplishments of greatness on social media, rewarding progress and wins bolsters self-confidence and sets a great example for everyone in the organization. Encourage and Support Continuous Learning When you prioritize continuous improvement and learning, you demonstrate a commitment to personal growth and development, leading to higher employee engagement and satisfaction. It enables your organization to attract and retain top talent and leads to a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Team members will always feel better when they are personally growing and pursing greatness. Over the years I have seen so many get too comfortable; they quit challenging their personal growth. No one ever stays the same. If we are not personally growing, then we are declining and becoming average; it takes no effort to be average. Grant Decision-Making Freedom Something I learned early on was that granting independence could be one of a great leader’s most impactful steps, but it can also be difficult to do so. Though it’s not always effective to give team members freedom of choice in the workplace, independence with productive limits and meaningful limitations can: Share decision-making when appropriate across the team. Allow leadership to spend more time and effort on shaping the company’s vision. Identify emerging leaders who exhibit greatness qualities. Create an environment where the team feels like they have a vested interest in company success. Share organizational results with team where possible. Lead by Example Actions always speak louder than words. As an encouraging leader you know it’s not enough to talk the talk—you must walk the walk of greatness too. Don’t use words like, “I used to do this” as you should be setting the example by still doing those things that instill greatness. Leading by example encourages teamwork and collaboration, reinforces critical messages, and drives performance. It also provides valuable lessons for future leaders, who learn from consistent behaviors and qualities, on how to work on their own growth and development. Have Fun and Show your Emotions Team members, customers, and other stakeholders like to be around positive, happy people. As a leader are you feared or are you happy and uplifting? Does happiness live in your culture and makes others feel and desire greatness? Would others think of your organization as cheerful and inspiring? Happiness is contagious, healthy, and productive for your organization. Set High Standards Give your team a reputation to live up to by your example. The mind and body are so much more divinely capable of greatness than an individual can perceive. This is where inspiration and coaching by a leader can bring so much value in positive encouragement and passionate persistence. Going from Average to Greatness. To be an effective leader you need to understand the value of your team and the individuals within the team. You know that each person brings unique strengths, passions, and ideas to the table, making your team an unstoppable force of collective greatness. Anyone can become a better leader by adopting simple yet effective habits that encourage and inspire those you lead to become better versions of themselves. Active listening, setting a clear vision, giving constructive feedback, leading by example, having fun, encouraging continuous learning, and showing a genuine appreciation for team and individual efforts are just a few of the strategies leaders can use to bring out greatness in their teams. Most importantly, they also bring out the best in you as a leader.