It was game day! A beautiful Sunday afternoon in the summer as we headed to the ballpark. All of us hometown fans were dressed in our spirit wear – team colors, hats and, yes, foam fingers. As a former cheerleader I never pass up a chance to go all out!
The anticipation was evident. The whole season came down to this last game. The championship was on the line.
It was the bottom of the fifth inning and our home team was down by 3 runs. We had two outs and the bases were loaded. My favorite third baseman came up to the plate as everyone in the stands were clenching their fists and turning their hats backward in the universal sign of “rally cap.”
The perfect pitch came right down the pipe and the crack of the bat echoed through the park. A home run! All the fans went crazy. Jumping up and down, high fiving – even hugging. Like we ourselves had just won the World Series. Like the “too good to be true” ending in a movie.
My daughter had just made the hit that helped the team win the championship in the third grade softball league. In extra innings!
You know the feeling. The excitement and pride when the home team wins. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the sixth-grade lacrosse team, high school girls’ basketball program or the NBA. It’s the unbridled passion we feel and the fanatical way we act at sporting events. Like everything is riding on our team’s success.
But what if we brought that same die-hard pride, enthusiasm and competitive spirit to our work lives? Imagine the outcome if we could bring that level of engagement and passion to work?
Seems a little crazy when you first think about it. Right now we have a Cleveland Cavaliers flag proudly flying outside my house in Minnesota. My husband is from Cleveland and would give anything for the city to bring home a world championship. Can you imagine flying a flag outside your house with the logo of your company on it? Or painting your face with your corporate colors?
Doesn’t it actually make a lot more sense to invest yourself in a “team” whose results have an immediate impact on your everyday life? If the Cleveland Cavs win, does that really make a difference for our family? Beyond a few days riding a fan’s high, not really. But if our company wins big? Well, that does make a difference.
Ironically, most people don’t invest very much emotionally in the one team whose success or failure means the most — their organization. It’s a huge miss for leadership. The best leaders have a compelling vision of the future and also work tirelessly to enlist and enroll others to believe in that future. When you unleash more human potential and a passionate commitment to a common purpose across an organization, your impact grows tremendously. Of course, this isn’t just on leadership. Everyone is responsible for their own engagement. You get to decide how you show up every single day.
Raving fans are gold to any organization:
- They are passionate about the results.
- They are highly engaged in the team.
- They expect to win and start every project with positive anticipation of the outcome.
- They want bragging rights about being the best in the category.
- They are loyal even when their team isn’t performing at peak potential.
- They have pride for their team that never wavers.
- They rally around a common goal.
Ryan and I were both raised in competitive, sports-minded families. And that set the groundwork for how we show up to compete today. I still remember fondly our internal sales contests from our corporate days and the massive celebration and “bell ringing” that would rally the entire office with fist bumps and high fives every time a new deal was closed. We played to win and relished the victories together.
I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was our culture then and it defines us today. We’re relentless in pursuit of our goals. That competitive spirit and commitment to celebrating our success has become a defining characteristic of our brand. It makes work way more fun and I think it does fuel our drive and success.
We always enjoy working with clients who share that same commitment to culture, competition and celebrating success. Recently Ryan got to lead our client, Pilot Flying J, in a big team celebration during their annual leadership and development conference. Check out how they celebrate like raving fans in the enclosed video: