The best team is not built by just recruiting the best players. It is built by selecting the best players for your system, culture, and values. This is true in sports and in business. A great General Manager and Coach know what their organization is all about and seek to put together a team of great players who buy into the mission, core values, and goals of the team. They also strive to find players who fit into the system and philosophy of the team. Rather than just assemble a collection of individuals, they seek to piece together a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
I have also seen this in the business consulting work that I do in working with high potential and high performing companies and non-profit organizations. If attracting high potential talent is a given, recruiting and selecting the best candidates for the mission, vision, and core values of the organization is essential. You must make it a priority not just to find the best people but to find the best people who are the best fit for your team and company.
I remember hearing my soon-to-be mentor and colleague in the area of sports psychology and performance David Cook pronounce these words at a workshop he was giving in the heart of Texas to a group of coaches. I reflected on the words that came from someone who has studied performance for many years and worked with so many talented individuals across all sports including Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs and PGA golfers. It inspired me to study and reflect on the lessons I had learned through playing and coaching sports and also working with park performers in sports, business, and life.
I thought about great athletes that I admired growing up including Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. The common denominator amongst these 3 basketball players was an intense desire to be the best they could be every day and to compete to win every time they stepped on the court. They knew that the things they did in the off-season would reveal themselves during the season. One year, Magic Johnson worked all summer on becoming a better free throw shooter, driven by the fact that he wanted to be better than Larry Bird in this category and that it would help his team in the final moments of a game. His free throw shooting percentage was already just under 90%, but he strove to be better. To become HIS best with the intention of someday becoming one of THE best!