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The difference between success and failure is a great team

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” —Vince Lombardi

As the English premier league draws to a close, the race is intensifying for a top four finish, which will earn the top teams a place in the lucrative champions league tournament. Log leaders Chelsea are appearing to be invincible after a disappointing 2015-16 season in which they ended on 10th position. Currently, the team have lost only three games in 25 matches. Chelsea are not only a great team with great players and a great coach, they have the right players in the right positions.

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Knowing that the key to winning games is scoring goals, the team placed Diego Costa into the key position of chief striker. The Spain national team striker has been described by analysts as a talented striker whose main attributes are his physicality, goal scoring and ability to keep possession. He is also very aggressive in the field.

Costa has been criticised and punished for several confrontations with opponents. In August 2015, Costa was involved in controversy in a 2-0 home win over Arsenal; he repeatedly slapped Laurent Koscielny and chest-bumped him to the ground, and then confronted Gabriel, who allegedly tried to kick him and was sent off. Costa escaped any punishment at the time but his conduct was deemed “disgusting” by visiting manager Arsène Wenger. As a consequence, on September 21, he was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association and the following day he was given a three-match suspension. After this incident, the Daily Express wrote that Costa was the premier league’s “dirtiest player”. However, the important fact remains: he scores goals and wins games.

Because Chelsea recruits players who are most suitable for their type of play, the team win games and are most likely to take the league trophy this season.

The only way to build a company with great success and scale is to build a great team. No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to build and inspire a team. A successful leader is one who can spur his or her team members to work well together toward a common vision and goals.

To inspire your team members, you will have to talk to them, of course, and motivate them.

The most successful coaches in sport lead winning teams. The teams win not because the players are better than their rivals, but because they are better motivated and know where the team is going. In their minds, they can already see themselves holding the champions trophy and winners’ medals. They have already won before they have even started playing.

It is your responsibility as the leader of your business to motivate your team, make them see and believe in your vision. Your people must understand and believe in what you are building, that is a winning team.

Vision starts with your beliefs, values and principles. These form the foundation of your vision. They are values that you hold dear, and that you will not compromise for short-term gain. Based on your values, start to imagine how your business will look like, assuming you have all the money, time and resources you need.

You can call it the ideal future: describing your business, its premises, people, products, services, customers, accomplishments, size, and growth — all the realities— 20 years from now. Another way of looking at it is finding a successful company that you want to emulate.

Some entrepreneurs still hold the old beliefs that employees are naturally lazy, dislike work and will avoid it if they can. Therefore, they think that employees must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organisational objectives. They also think that the average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, and wants security above all.

These beliefs have been discovered to be wrong, especially in this age of enlightenment and free markets.

Having employees harness self-direction and self-control in pursuit of common objectives is far more preferable than imposing a system of controls designed to force people to meet objectives they don’t understand or share.

Rewarding people for achievement is a far more effective way to reinforce shared commitment than punishing them for failure.

Giving people responsibility causes them to rise to the challenge. Unleashing their imagination, ingenuity and creativity results in their contributions to the organisation being multiplied many times over.

To win in these turbulent times and amidst tough competition, you have to ensure that you have a great team and that you keep them motivated, just like what leaders of great sports teams do. Until next time, keep on accelerating your growth.

Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. His new book Business Survival Amidst Turbulence is now available. You may contact him by email, chichonip@gmail.com or phone 04-700812. You can also visit his blog http://chichonip.wordpress.com

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