Be A Great Teammate

Butler University made it to the NCAA Basketball Tournament championship game and almost won the whole tournament. What impressed me was how Butler University coach Brad Stevens communicated with his team. He said six words I’ll never forget in the locker room before the game. “Be a great teammate. Be accountable.”  What a powerful concept. Be a great teammate. In other words, support the other people around you. Be part of the whole. Don’t look to excel as an individual but look to make the team as a whole better than it would otherwise be.

Does that mean you sometimes have to take the ball and shoot it? Does that mean that sometimes you must take that project on your shoulders and ensure it gets done? Absolutely. But to the degree that you can help the others around you be successful, to the degree that you can help them grow as individuals, then your department and your organization will grow as a whole. Being a great teammate is key to organizational growth and great leadership.

And what about be accountable? Many times, when I talk about accountability, my clients think about being able to stand up and say, okay, it was my fault. I messed up and it won’t happen again. And yes, that is part of accountability but I believe that accountability is your competitive advantage. I believe that accountability should be applied proactively, not reactively. It’s not just about being accountable when something goes wrong. It’s about knowing what you’re accountable for so that it goes right.

I believe in five accountabilities, and the first of those five accountabilities is that we are accountable to do the right things consistently. I’m not talking morally right, which we always need to do. What I’m talking about is that we need to know what are the fundamentals. What tactics do we need to apply daily, weekly, and monthly to achieve our strategic intent? For the basketball team to succeed on the court, it’s not just being accountable when you miss a basket but knowing that you’re accountable to make the pass and set the pick. And in business, we need to know what we’re accountable for, too, whether we’re in sales or whether we’re in the C-suite.

Be a great teammate and be accountable. That’s part of being a leader and growing your business.


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