We’ve all seen this in sports. The team that everyone thought would be a “sure thing” and would come out on top is beaten by what seems to be a less talented team. The big tournament comes around and the first seed is shockingly out of the game early on and can’t recover.
The talent appears to be lop-sided towards the assumed winner. Their record shows this. Their fans “just know” that they will win. The coaches have prepared their teams and plays are in place. Yet the team that everyone thought was already beaten before the game begins ends up as victors.
How can this be?
If you follow sports at all, you’ll understand that so much of the game is won or lost by that 5″ space between the ears. Winning teams put in the practice and discipline. They execute their plays with precision.
But, somehow something creeps into their thinking…
“We’re good enough…”
“That other team doesn’t have a chance…”
“We’re the shoe-in…”
And then the other team – that no one sees any hope of winning – comes out hungry. They out hustle the assumed champions. They see small mistakes that are being made and they take full advantage. And then the crowd starts to notice. “How can the score be this close!?” And then the crowd sees their champions falter. They witness the battle that is going on in the players’ minds. The underdogs are pulling away. The underdogs are winning. The underdogs are cutting down the nets as victors.
Here’s our reminder for today: As leaders, don’t assume the victory. Work for it. Keep the fires of passion burning in your team. Remind them of their mission. Cast your vision. Keep your team forging ahead. Execution of the mission is critical. Don’t assume anything. Work towards that win, every day, with every encounter, in every action, with every decision.
When your team wins, make sure they have left their A game on the court. Celebrate with them. Prepare them. Help them fine tune their skills. And then ramp up to do it again and again.