India has finally started performing well in sports other than cricket. Indian sportswomen/men performance in CWG , 2018 games was commendable and was one of the best in a decade. Per my understanding, there are 3 main reasons for this much-awaited success:
- Better Coaching.
- The discipline of practice with better equipment.
- Improved reward & incentives.
Many companies can succeed & executer better on their growth plans if CEO & leadership team can make each individual in the company(or at least 50%) behave and execute like a sportsperson. Though linking sports directly with business is not fair; as in sports you practice 90% to 95% of the time, and the actual performance is only 5% of the time. In business, you have to perform every day. You don’t have that much time & budgets to practice.
To build sportsmen culture in your people, you have to follow the same 3 principles stated above: “Better Coaching Culture”,” The discipline of execution with better equipment” and “Better Reward & Incentive System”.
Build Better Coaching Culture
Managers are the coaches in a company. A coach is someone who helps in “Understanding the strength and weakness of the coachee”, helps in “Making sure the coachee remains disciplined every day” and “Motivates the coachee whenever she feels down”. In sports, coaches are a former player(might not be the rockstar player of their time), but now has the ability and hunger to make the coachee perform best at the highest level.
To get the managers who are better coaches in your company, 2 critical touchpoints are when you are “hiring a new person as managers” and “promoting individuals to become managers”. When you are hiring the new person as a manager, she should possess all the required coaching competencies. And when you are promoting the individual contributors to the manager role, make sure that you have enough data points on following core competencies a manager should posses
- Ability to understand the strength and weakness of each report
- Should have required functional and technical know-how
- Should have the ability to get execution done with discipline every day
- Should have the ability to give feedback & coaching on a regular basis
- And above all, can communicate well in written/verbally
The Discipline of Execution
I played badminton at my school level and have represented the school at the district level. But failed to perform better because I was not disciplined enough. When a company performs better than its competitors, its because at every level every person brings disciplined of execution towards the direction set by the CEO/Management. And the managers play a very important role in bringing this discipline. The managers will be able to bring a better discipline to the team ONLY when there is a high level of alignment within the company forwards business priorities that need to be achieved.
The process starts with CEO’s ability to cut down the complexity and put in company’s strategy and 3 to 4 business priorities/goals very clearly. And communicates this to the entire company. And than HOD’s take those priorities up and work within the functional unit on what, how and who will work on which goals which will impact CEO’s priorities. Once the managers exactly know what they and their teams need to work on, only then they will be able to bring the discipline of execution in their teams. Currently, the way I see we implement qilo, managers to get hell lot of work done from their team, but lacks the focus on what should be executed.
As a company, you & your managers can get many things executed from your teams. But if they are executed on wrong priorities all this time, it will result in you working for your competitor.
Adopting an efficient goal-setting framework like OKR or Hoshin-Kanri or One-Page Strategy framework can help here.
Better Reward, Recognition and Incentives
Money is a universal motivator. Most companies fail to put in an effective and transparent reward and incentive system in place. And because if this you fail to deliver the message clearly to employees about “What’s in it for me to execute with discipline every day?”. And more than anyone else, it should be the managers who know your reward and incentive system in and out.
A better reward system should always link the people performance with business performance. It should be data-driven and above all should be able to generate enough data points for better decision making on individual performance. And this data should be communicated to employees/managers on the monthly/quarterly basis. Your reward policy and the process should always reward the end tail of the company on their individual performance, managers should be rewarded for their individual + team performance. And HOD’s should always be rewarded for the company performance.
Building the sportsmen culture in your company is not an easy task. But if you are able to bring this change in your company, you will have a far better competitive advantage.
- As a coach, your managers should be able to (a) Understanding the strength and weakness of their team members (b) Put discipline of execution within the team every day and (c) should be able to motivate/give feedback to the team members on the continuous basis.
- To get the discipline on execution, you manager should clearly be knowing what they are trying to achieve. And how their achievement is linked with bigger picture/CEO priorities
- Your reward system should link people performance with business performance.