In the last week I have been reminded that nothing is impossible and that with a little bit of leadership magic, seemingly miraculous results can occur. It’s led me to reflect on the lessons we can learn from one arena and take into another, so, like many around me, I’ve been asking, how do miracles happen?!
Last week two huge sporting turnarounds occurred. In the UEFA Champions League, Liverpool (of whom I am a fan!) astoundingly achieved a required and seemingly impossible 4-0 victory over the lauded FC Barcelona, the following evening saw an slightly depleted, overworked Tottenham Hotspur team find the resourcefulness, energy and power to come from 3-0 down (half way through the second leg match) to beat the youthful Dutch side, Ajax.
The press duly feasted upon this pair of fairy tales, searching in their coverage, assertions and interviews for the secret ingredients that enabled such dramatic sporting turnarounds.
Having watched both games and subsequent celebrations I distilled some lessons from which we could consider and bring into our own situations to increase the chances of our very own miracles!
Aside from and totally accepting the immense skills, fitness and strategic preparation and pre-work, I noticed three distinct commonalities in both Liverpool and Tottenham:
· Deep connection – across and between the team, players, reserves, management and backroom staff. The connections displayed fondness, affection, respect, loyalty, generosity, consideration, humility, contribution, sharing and an irrefutable desire to be one and win together. No one sought or stayed for long in the press spotlight. And the connection was way beyond professional respect and cross-departmental ‘mutually beneficial strategic partnerships’!
· Emotional leadership – both respective managers, Klopp and Pochettino found and displayed their own balance of stoic strength; drive; humility; open and honest emotions. And both immediately and repeatedly transferred the ownership and success to their teams.
· Doubtlessness – distinct from the inner belief that each team member holds (which will wax and wane from person-to-person and from one moment to the next as challenges are faced) is the absence of doubt, the strength to not dwell on doubts. It was both teams’ ability to not entertain potentially-damning doubt - allowing that (seemingly ridiculous) belief to bubble up again. This and holding their belief in their own performance and trust in the capabilities of their teammates to create the opportunity for the seemingly impossible outcome. Hence the expression “without a shadow of a doubt”.
The whole experience for the spectator was uplifting and inspiring, hence I couldn’t resist bringing it to this Simple Note.
For you, in your world, I urge you to reflect on, explore and discuss the three miracle ingredients:
· Connection- Where are your team now? Whilst you cannot transform connection overnight, what steps; events; initiatives could you add to your year ahead to boost connection (you can explore this further in The Impact Book, chapter 42 ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’)?
If you are a team member, what could you do to connect more deeply with colleagues, event by event? Random acts of Encouragement, positive vocabulary upgrade etc. Just existing together is dull and will only deliver to base expectations and mildly disappointing results - when so much more, miracles even, could be possible.
· Leadership- Bring more and more of you to your day (explore The Johari Window as a methodology for broadening your leadership role). Discover and invest in your authenticity, integrity and focus, and communicate your passions- reveal your emotional connection to the mission. Be with the team, inspiring the connection and doubtlessness!
· Doubtlessness- When a doubt or negative thought comes along, habitually and sometimes unconsciously, we tend to follow the thought and solidify the possibility, brilliantly justifying it as ‘being prepared’ or ‘balanced thinking’ or ‘accepting reality’.
Discuss these doubts with your team early and agree to release them. Act in spite of them, defy them! I challenge you (and your team) to go one week without holding onto a doubt. Notice it coming into your thinking and let it go. Have a becalming agreement with the nervous and fearful part of your mind that you’ll reflect on them all next week.
May your miracles manifest!
And keep it simple,