Mind The Gap: Winning

October 21, 2010 — Leave a comment


Winning is rarely about a one time event. Winning is about sustaining performance, sustaining competitiveness – about getting to the top and staying there.  Many companies win once – but very few are able to continually adapt the thinking, systems and practices that enable them to sustain competitiveness year after year. Most of us realize that no one goes from being noncompetitive to winning The World Cup without going through a challenging and committed process. Being competitive means you can deploy a winning product or service from a position of relative strength. While there are rare exceptions to the rule, it’s almost impossible to go from a being a laggard in the market to a superstar without doing the hard work to get there.

If you pause to consider sporting teams, they are notoriously BAD at sustaining competitiveness. They work hard over time, win the championship, then (more often than not) tank. They blame the draft, salary caps, or the governing body of the sport. They blame injuries, not having enough money, or anything except what really makes the difference – their ability to seriously commit to continuous improvement and accelerated change. Organizations are not any different.

Most businesses, and sports teams, perform in cycles. There are times when they are performing well – and times when they’re not. The competitive cycle of organizations around the world can be compared to a clock –

At 10 o’clock, the organization is poised for success – working hard and changing rapidly. Players are accelerating the rate of change by learning fast and by being innovative, they are committed to success…

At 11 o’clock, the team is approaching their best. They are properly aligned and playing well. They make the final series and they continue to strive for success. Most importantly, they have created a winning culture that has a high likelihood of succeeding…

At 12 o’clock, the team wins the Championship!  They are at peak performance when an interesting phenomena occurs – right when they are at the peak of the performance cycle, the team stops doing most of what they did to become successful in the first place…

1 o’clock and they stop being creative and open minded. The organization starts believing that their way is the only way and that they have the formula for success. This is where they really need to Mind The Gap, but more often than not, they simply fall in!  Why?  Because resistance to change is greatest when the team believes it has all the answers – it is a key reason most organizations fail to repeat success and the team faces a traumatic, extended losing streak…

2 – 3 o’clock and  the team continues to lose. Outside consultants are brought in to “fix” the problems – it is suggested that the previous MVP’s have reached their Peter Principle. The organization “invests” in new players, new equipment, and new coaches in a frantic attempt to stop the rapid decline in performance…

4 – 5 o’clock,  the CEO and management team are sacked – the organization is plunging into a deep, dark hole…

6’clock and the team cannot win a game. Clients and partners have left the stands… the promoters can not sell a ticket. It appears that the team may never win again…

7 o’clock and  someone with the power to act decides to make a change – and follows through on it. The gameplan is drafted in a new playbook, funding is allocated, and a strong team is put on the field to make it happen…

8 – 9 o’clock,  the team begins to have faith that things can change – they believe they can win again.  New game plan, committed players, and dedicated coaching staff all work together to change the game. There is enthusiasm, energy, and passion  – partners and clients are beginning to fill the stands once again…ticket sales are on the rise!

10 – 11 o’clock: It’s been a long, hard season, but the cycle is complete and the organization looks forward to a new season as their competitive clock is,once again, at its peak.

The reality for most organizations is that they spend one or two seasons (at most) between 7 and 12 o’clock –  then spend many years between 1 and 6 o’clock! There is no reason for organizations to spend years struggling to win a game, much less the championship, because they fall into a predetermined gap that they simply do not prepare to make the long-jump over! The goal should always be to create a high performance, sustainably successful, environment – ensuring the organization remains competitive throughout multiple seasons. The only way to accomplish sustainable success is to manage the performance clock.

Winning once could be considered lucky. Creating a continuous cycle of success is achieved through the sustainable competitiveness that comes only from good planning, good management, good vision and hard work. Success is not a destination – it is a moving target and your aim must continually be adjusted if you want to keep it in your sights!  What are you doing to control the performance clock?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you mind the performance clock in your organization. Please feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of the Mind The Gap series.


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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