Can you remember a time when you saw a group or a team whose talent and skills were clearly evident, but somehow, the results didn’t pan out?
How many times have you looked at an organization and thought, “With that crew, they should be unstoppable?” Imagine the disappointment when all that talent doesn’t deliver. The stock market, military history and athletic teams have all seen these types of teams and the disappointments that have followed are too numerous to count.
How many times has poor leadership held us back? Teams, and the individuals within, often have substantially more potential than their current performance demonstrates. The skill of good leaders lies in creating the proper mindset, empowering the members of the team to alter their habits, attitudes, beliefs and expectations. Operating through a growth mindset, they foster an environment where the members can perform at a higher level; closer to their full potential. In their book, Extreme Ownership, former Navy Seals Leif Babin and Jocko Willink demonstrated this concept in a vividly concrete fashion. They described the grueling training regimen all candidates endured in order to qualify for their elite unit. As a part of every day’s training, crews were required to paddle out in inflatable rafts and race in the ocean surf outside San Diego. Day after day, one of the six competing crews consistently came in first. Another was frequently last. After a couple of weeks, the trainers swapped out boat commanders between the leading and trailing boats. When they did, an interesting thing happened: the crew that had originally finished last started winning while the other team continued to perform well because of the habits instilled by their original commander.