In every professional sports championship winning interview, I inevitably hear some version of “these are the best group of guys I’ve ever played with, it took every person on the team to get it done”.


I’ve played sports my entire life, and I can tell you winning is fun, a lot of fun; winning bonds people together forever… losing sucks, losing pulls people apart at the seams.


Something I’ve never been able to figure out: do teams with the best chemistry win or do winning teams create the best chemistry?


Just like with sports, in business teams have different levels of chemistry with different levels of performance…at different times. I know there have been a lot of years in my business when the scoreboard of likability did not necessarily match up with the one for profitability…in fact, it’s sometimes hard to see a whole lot of correlation.


Where I do see that correlation is when we get a team that really enjoys working together but also productively challenge each other every day, continually bringing out their best performances.


Sports teams have to capture that lightning in the bottle for a small period of time to ride it to a championship; in business we must continually maintain the spark and oftentimes completely reinvent it over time.


What I’m realizing is just because teammates like or even respect each other isn’t enough to produce a winning team. Everyone must be culturally aligned to perform at a consistently high level, and as leaders, we must not be willing to allow mediocre performers to lower the expectations of excellence.


Because that is what makes a winning team. A group of people who have high expectations for their co-workers and even higher expectations for themselves. 


As leaders, when we are able to inspire this type of team to align on a singular vision or goal, that’s when that indescribable magic happens. When everyone can look around in awe and say “this is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with”…and the scoreboard of growth and profitability agree.


How are you curating the chemistry among your team to put them in a position to win?

Are you unintentionally sabotaging them by not putting the best team on the field or providing a clear enough vision of success?

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