“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’” is a well-known phrase, and I think most of us would recognise the importance of teamwork in most aspects of business and in life in general. One of my mottos is ‘Sales is a Team Sport’ – no matter what your role or how big or small your organisation your success can be influenced by lots of other people. Colleagues, industry peers, friends and family are part of your own personal team, and by fully including that team in your activities you give yourself the best chance of succeeding and reaching your goals.
That’s only part of the story though; the other part is the ‘I’ in team. You have to choose to take the right actions, choose to take the time to make the plan and choose to follow it.
I do quite a lot of running; I’m not particularly fit and I’m certainly not fast but I enjoy getting out there and have a few half marathons under my belt, and even managed to struggle around the London Marathon once as well. My first half marathon was in Inverness back in 2009. It was cold, windy and snowing but I really enjoyed it – apart from my time that is. I wanted to complete it in under two hours and knew that if I kept to 9-minute-miles then I’d achieve that and complete the course in about 1 hour 57 minutes. It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was a plan – stick to a pace I knew I was reasonably comfortable with and I’d hit my goal. When the day came I got caught up in the excitement of the event and forgot the plan. I spent the first half enjoying the atmosphere and taking in the scenery, running with my friend and chatting to him and to other runners; all very enjoyable but by the time we reached the half-way point I realised I’d been going at about 10-minute-mile pace and was behind target. If I was going to hit my goal I was going to have do the rest of the race at 8-minute-miles to make up the time I’d lost – I thought it was possible so I picked up the pace and pushed on. Sadly I couldn’t quite maintain the quicker pace all the way and ended up finishing in 2 hours and 2 minutes. I’d enjoyed the day, I’d been faster than my friend but I’d missed my goal. Perhaps not by much, but I’d missed it all the same.
I started looking for excuses: was I thrown by the race-day atmosphere or was running with lots of other people somehow off-putting? Was the weather a factor? (after all at some points the sleet and snow was coming sideways!). Did I need new kit? Or perhaps I simply wasn’t fit enough?
At the end of the day though the reason was clear. I’d done the hard work beforehand and was more than capable of meeting my goal. I had my ‘team’ around me – my wife had supported and encouraged me as I trained through the winter and my friend and running partner had been keeping me going as well, and I had a simple plan in mind and had worked to make sure I was able to execute it. The trouble is that I chose (consciously or not) not to follow that plan. I allowed myself to do something different and didn’t get the result I wanted as a result – no excuses, just me.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” is another well-known phrase, and another one that makes a lot of sense. It’s also another one that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. To continue the running theme there is a lot you can do to help aid your success – detailed nutrition plans, tailored training routines to work on speed, strength and endurance, scientific analysis of running style and gait, hi-tech running shoes, socks, shorts, tops, heart-rate monitors and GPS trackers… the list goes on. It can all be combined into a very comprehensive plan to get you the results you want come race day, and can be hugely helped by a strong team – training partners, phyisos, fellow runners, friends, family. BUT, none of it matters as much as you – your own approach and your own attitude. Choose to succeed and the chances are that you will, but if you allow yourself to drift, lose focus or disregard the plan then success gets so much harder. Of course a good coach can help you stay focussed and motivated, whatever the goal, but all we can do is help you help yourself: Your success is down to YOU.