Being a gigantic sports fan, I’m constantly making connections between sports ideas and everything else I’m passionate about… especially leadership.
Ryan Pace is the Chicago Bears’ general manager. This means that he evaluates personnel, signs/hires/fires, and is fully responsible for assembling and developing the best team possible. Sound familiar? At the heart of everything Pace does, he is a team developer… and of course the best teams will bring in the most profit and generate the most positive brand possible.
Something he recently chatted about stuck out to me and it’s transformed a lot of how I view performance and goals in general. When evaluating his roster, Pace claimed to focus less on statistics and more on “whether a player’s arrow is pointing up or down.” I think this is a remarkably keen insight on Pace’s part. I think it would be really easy to focus on “player X didn’t score enough touchdowns” or “player Y didn’t get enough interceptions” – and that wouldn’t necessarily be useless info – but it also wouldn’t lend itself to how the team was developing. Instead, Pace (mostly) focuses on getting people who are going to be constantly improving together – as a team – and trusts that the team’s result will be one of victory and excellence.
Now let’s look at what we do as leaders and business managers. It’s easy to focus on certain employees not converting on certain opportunities or hitting a certain KPI – and just like Da Bears, that is part of the story. However, I think it’s easy for this approach to overtake our focus on analyzing each person’s trajectory. Instead, I would highly recommend balancing the two worlds by asking some pointed questions:
-What would it take to activate a person so that their arrow is always pointing up (they’re always improving)?
-What KPI’s (key performance indicators) have been established to help verify a person’s improvement or there lack of? (Remember – once a person is improving and the metrics validate that trajectory, you can use that information to spur on that positive growth curve!).
-What great things could your team accomplish if everybody was constantly unlocking their potential to become a better version of themselves?
Let yourself dream – ideate – the many possibilities of what can be accomplished collectively when you and your entire team work together!