To review, we have discussed 3 vital components to building a champion, and “building” is the right term. This is an exhaustive intentional process that leaves nothing to chance, interpretation or luck.
1. To build a champion, there must exist a goal, benchmark or objective that is worthy of champion status. No little goals, status quo, or getting by!
2. The personalized, custom and unique plan of the champion sets up the behavior and desired outcome. No more doing the same thing and expecting different results!
3. And the perfect adherence to the correct plan separates the champion from all others. Practice DOES NOT make perfect. Only PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect!
4. Finally: the champion needs the right team for support.
What does this mean to have the right team? Of course we know Jim Collins addresses getting the right people on the bus and then taking the bus anywhere! Sometimes, however we inherit the team, we get the team in our class, group, club or even our co-workers. He produces great research that those companies that went from Good to Great all had this in common. But the question still remains, what is the right team? What are the attributes? Or even, how does the championship team differ from everybody else?
To begin, this team of support behaves a certain way. To behave like a champion by definition, means the behavior is different. For example, students that want to come to class for the sake of what they get out of showing up, verses the perception that they “have to be there” is a good indication champions are being built in that setting. Thus the champion builder encourages, looks for authentic praise, understands the term approbation and uses it appropriately and realizes there are plenty of people finding fault. The champion builder finds and focuses on the success. As a test, of this concept, consider the infamous parent-teacher night at the beginning of the year. Why do students NOT want the parents and teacher to meet? Of course it is because the student believes they will gang up and the teacher will not say anything nice about the student. Parents may also believe this and in a situation of self-fulfilling prophecy, the parents and the teacher spend the entire meeting focused on the student’s deficiencies and areas of concern, all under the guise of “helping.” As an alternative, the few days leading up to the parent-teacher meetings, invest time praising each student, in front of the entire class! Yes, even the worst student in class! Go around the room and intentionally share publically some positive attribute about everyone. Let them know what is going on and watch them ALL sit and listen to the individual and specific sentence or four about each of their peers. They will all listen intently. They will begin to believe in themselves just by watching another take the first step. This is called approbation and is the key component to the successful support team behind all champions. Champions are not built by focusing on the problems but by magnifying the positive.
What we just described here is a behavior. It is an action. It is reproducible, a skill to develop and something we can practice on ourselves, get better at, and change in our own lives, even consider accountability to each other. It is not a belief. It is a behavior. It is a choice that we make over and over again. Even when we do not feel like it! Behavior must come before belief, even though our belief influences our behavior, we cannot expect to wait for our beliefs to change if we want our behavior to change. Just like we behaved by saying 2+2=4 as a little child, long before we actually knew what it meant. We behaved, then we believed. These actions all demonstrate an attitude or choice and an active decision on our part as leaders.
This display of care, attention or affection is the best way to connect. The opposite of apathy is care! The champion builder is the first one to care. The champion has to LEARN what it looks like to care, what it means to care and how it is actually vital to care. Our wards do come equipped with the ability, understanding or even the desire to care. As champion builders, we must ignite that passion in others. Before we can reach them with our content, we must reach them as candidates to championships.
This is just the beginning of champion building. I will continue to post characteristics, attributes and attitudes necessary for champions, champion building and how that affects us in our day to day living. Please examine these as perspectives gleaned from experience and not directives. Feel free to take the risks necessary to put these concepts into practice, share them with others and mentor others into championships!