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The Importance of a Winning Attitude at the Workplace

Why a good team is not good enough today’s world

Nandita Abraham
Feb 6, 2020 · 4 min read

When you look at your business, you want it to grow, innovate, have an impact and be profitable. In today’s VUCA world more than ever, it’s not enough to have a competent team, that has the knowledge, communicates well and works together. One has to have a winning team. A winning team is different from a good team or a strong team. A winning team is the agile one, who can stretch objectives and can accomplish their targets, with a blend of profit and permanence for a better future.

So what are the key triggers that can create an impactful and winning team? Here are some points that one sees time and again in a winning team:

A strong or weak organizational culture can make or break the best teams. I like this definition of culture by the Centre for Advanced Research on Language — “culture is shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialization in a state or family or organization”. A friendly culture or a virtuous culture will create a friendly team or a virtuous team. One presumes that it is enough, but it isn’t. A culture needs to nurture and support results and business performance, as well. A winning culture sets the stage for high expectations, a positive attitude, and successful performance. A winning culture talks about objectives, routes to achievement, values accountability, focuses on results and celebrates wins.

Performance is crucial to winning. To catalyze optimum performance, it’s essential that the team is made up of people with the right competencies and each person is clear about their role. Well-defined roles, responsibilities, authority, and review gives accountability. Many organizations have started using the OKR framework to increase a focus on results. Rewards are linked to objectives and results. Talent development should also focus on improving performance and this should be visible to members at all levels of the organization.

In today’s world, an external orientation to business is critical at many levels for the success of an organization. Consistently monitoring competition, changes in societal values, customer shifts, international regulations, and mindsets are critical parameters for crafting a roadmap to success. Speculative thinking and planning are also important. When there is a change in the environment, there is no lead time for a change in the organization.

The planning for change has to happen consistently and ideally, there should be a team that is looking at this parallelly to the existing business. As the world around us is changing, business requirements change and the skills required to be successful also will change. For example, it took hardly a few months for most of the internet interface to shift from the desktop to the mobile phone. Imagine the preparedness and the continuous learning attitude required to be able to deal with this change. A winning team has to be prepared and ahead of the game.

Leadership is key to a Winning Team. Winning leaders know their purpose. They are obsessed with what’s happening in their environment, embrace failure, are willing to take risks and are obsessed with achieving their goals. They have a strong sense of purpose and communicate the same. Morton Hansen says the three differentiating factors of a Winning Leader are productive paranoia, empirical creativity, and fanatic discipline. Winning Leaders walk the talk and are deeply aware of themselves and their teams. It is also important to note that the concept of leadership itself has changed. It’s not just the Leader at the top of the team that makes the team win, but everyone in their own space has to lead to achieve the objectives laid out by them. Winning Leaders develop winning leaders in their team.

So, if you are a team leader or have a business that you are looking to energize, first you need to be the leader that will make it happen. Next, create the team and culture. The biggest parameters for a successful team include a flexible, mindful and positive attitude to winning. But most importantly, once you have the team in place, trust them and the power of inter-personal bonds that can foster a positive, focused and result-oriented environment. Remember, talent can always be found. But it’s the winning attitude that is the biggest transformative force for any organization and its future. You can then turn every opportunity into a possibility and every failure into a success.

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