By Katherine Moore and David Carry at Track Record
Have you ever wondered what is going through an Olympic athlete’s mind when they are competing? Or what exactly is said in those moments between coaches and elite athletes, or amongst teams in the locker room at halftime?
How do Olympic teams prepare for the pressure of competing and giving their best performance when it matters most? What is it that drives the level of determination needed to succeed in the Olympics?
We have had the good fortune to work with, and be surrounded by, some of the world’s best athletes and in our experience, confidence has been an essential component for each high achieving person, team or organisation. Whether it be in business, sport, the military or even astronauts, the unifying psychological factor most crucial to success is confidence.
So how do you develop team confidence?
Team confidence is rooted in 4 key components:
- Belief in purpose
- Ownership of identity
- Clarity of the win
- Commitment to perform
We will touch on the importance of thorough planning and preparation, unity and alignment on the team’s ambition and clearly defined roles in achieving the Win which all set a high level of expectation within the team.
Defining ‘The Win’
The Win should:
- Push you out of your comfort zone, yet be attainable
- Be tangible; something clear that you can measure
- Produce evidence of its occurrence
- Be multi-sensory; you should be able to talk about how it will feel once achieved
- Involve others who are also invested in you achieving your Win
So many businesses and individuals have got a big dream or ambition that they are working towards but many fail to effectively break down the steps between the present situation and achieving the big win. Therefore, they are unable to recognise and celebrate each success along the way that brings them closer to their goal.
By setting milestones and checkpoints along the way, you can help yourself and your team to remain focused and motivated. So what has to be true in order to achieve your Win?
We call these “critical elements”. Once you have broken down your Win into critical elements, you can ruthlessly prioritise and start working in sprints to achieve these milestones.
What priorities will you set yourself each week to work towards the critical elements of your Win and how will you measure progress? Each prioritised task you complete is a marginal gain and one step closer to realising your Win.
Once the team has defined a goal or a win, the next important part of developing team confidence is planning. Born out of the world of elite sport and honed through our leadership coaching, we use a methodology called “pre-mortem planning”.
To start applying pre-mortem planning to your next meeting, consider the scenarios that could occur which would derail you and your team from achieving your goal.
Which potential obstacles are in your control that you can influence and which ones are outside of your control? What can you do to mitigate risk and what would be the best outcome if each challenging situation were to arise?
This may seem like an unnecessary level of detail or perhaps a slightly negative approach to planning but it is this thorough approach that facilitates confident decision making and transforms the performance of teams. This is because even when obstacles occur (because, let’s face it, they usually do), you and your team are prepared and confident that the next decision you will make is the best course of action to bring you closer to achieving your Win.
Ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- What is your team’s 2021 Win, the tangible measure of success you are aiming to achieve?
- Do you know exactly what each member of the team will do to bring you closer to that goal?
- How have you planned for potential obstacles along the way?
- Are energy and motivation in the team high and do you have a sense of momentum?
If you can’t answer yes to all of the above questions, then it is likely you can create a performance advantage through increasing the level of confidence by addressing these areas.
Unlocking the transformative power of confidence for your team will not only increase your performance and ability to achieve your win but we usually see that motivation and fulfilment at work improve as a very welcome by-product.