Summary: How Winning Works 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth by Robyn Benincasa
Summary: How Winning Works 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth by Robyn Benincasa

Summary: How Winning Works 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth by Robyn Benincasa

Gaining total commitment

Have a brainstorming session at your next meeting about all of the possible client objections and challenging you might encounter along the way to your goal. Maintain a positive, open discussion about how you can prepare to deal with them. Take notes and distribute ideas to the team after the meeting Identify people with a specific skill set and talent to deal with specific issues. Let your team be aware of them as they’re your team’s lifelines.

Have each of your teammates jot down a quick PPN (position, progress, needs) report and send it to the rest every week. This will bond the team and allow them to share ideas and accomplishments they’ve had. 

Ask your team why they’re here. What are they getting from this job? What do they hope to get from it? What are they not getting? If you start asking these questions, you’ll be surprised by the answers you get. Great leaders set the stage for their team to motivate and inspire themselves.

In small teams, ask each member to visualize how success looks like and feels like. Have them think through the end of each goal, how great they’ll feel and what they’ll do with the accomplishment they receive. Winning must be a need, not a want. Make them feel the result of winning and the motivation to go for it will grow exponentially.


Developing empathy and awareness

Have each member of your team fill out a life pyramid consisting of three goals they have in life, two things people would be surprised to know about them and one peak experience. Talk about how you can help one another achieve their goals. Here’s an example of the author’s pyramid:

One peak experience: Seeing my nephew’s birth

Two things people would be surprised to know about you: I can ride a unicycle. I was a national judo champion.

Three life goals. To be the person that dogs think I am. To help over 1000 athenas each year live an adventurous dream. To develop project athena adventure travel to help everyone live adventurous dreams while raising money for the project athena foundation.


Managing adversity

When going through an adversity, assemble a team of employees of similar rank or job description for a ‘team brainstorming’ session. Ask each to write down a challenge he or she is going through. Then ask everyone to pass the paper to the right and read the challenge for two minutes. Then let them offer advice on their own ways to resolve it. 

To remind your team of how they’ve dealt with and overcome adversity in the past, have them write down a ‘timeline’ of their lives in years, with hash marks that denotes times of major change or adversity. Underneath the timeline, have them write how they handled that change, what they learnt and how it made them stronger. Pick volunteers and ask them to share their stories. This reminds people how resilient and resourceful we are in overcoming adversity and how sometimes a setback becomes the best thing ever happened to us. 

To help your team focus on what it takes to ‘win’, have them write down two key factors contributing to the success of your organization. Then, by vote, generate a team agreement on top three key success factors. Take each factor and write it at the top of a single page on a flip chart. Have two columns underneath, indicating “Win” and “Not Lose”. Ask each member what they think of. Finally gain consensus on top three ideas and research the possibility of execution.


Spreading mutual respect

Whenever the warm feelings escape you or you need to respond to a challenge within your team, ask yourself “What would I do right now if I were the person that my (someone who loves you unconditionally and always assumes the best about you) believes I am?” 

To promote respect for each other on the job, ask your team to write a one-page “Week in the life” that illustrates exactly what the person does in a given week and the outcomes for which they’re responsible. Also have them answer these questions at the end of their narrative:

  1. What’s the biggest misconception about what I do?

  2. What do I wish more people understood about my job/responsibilities?

  3. What’s the toughest thing about my job?

  4. What’s the best part of my job?

You’ll be surprised by assumptions people hold on each other and that they’re rarely accurate. Doing this exercise will help everyone to appreciate each other better as well as appreciate their own jobs.


Finding ‘We’ thinkers

At the end of a meeting or a job interview, suddenly stop and say “Oh no, I’ve lost my keys. I know I just had them right here.” and start pretending to look for your lost keys while paying attention to how the other person responds. Some will just sit back and say “Bummer, I hope you find them soon”. Some might say “Where did you last see them?” But the biggest ‘We’ thinkers in the room will jump off their seats and start looking around the room with you. They essentially make your problem their problem. It’s a simple and effective way to discover a person’s potential as your teammate.


Giving ownership and getting ‘buy-in’

Hand your team a questionnaire with the following questions:

  1. What would your job/mission be if money was no object?

  2. What motivates you to do your best and exceed your goals?

  3. What’s your favorite part of your job?

  4. What do you wish you could do more/less of when it comes to daily responsibilities?

  5. When you retire, what is it that you would like people to be inspired to say about you?

  6. What would you like to be best known and remembered for?

A leader armed with this information is in a perfect position to get ‘buy in’ from their teammates as they’ve gained new insights into what motivates them, what inspires them and how they see themselves and their contributions. If you can give your teammates more of what inspires them in their daily work lives, and recognize them for their accomplishments, you’re well on your way to developing an extremely engaged and energized team.


Relinquishing ego

To drive home the power of leaving your ego at the door, gather your team in a room and ask them to learn and recite the alphabet backwards from memory. Give them two minutes. Many people will instantly see this as a personal challenge and desire to be the solo act that pulls off an impressive feat. The person who can think outside the box and satisfy their ego with a team success rather than their individual glory, will quickly count the number of people in the room, divide up sections of the alphabet and have each learn a small part. This is a great way to show that success is just as meaningful and far more likely when everyone is on the same page and carries a piece of the load.


Empowering and developing leaders

Have your team answer the following questions:

  1. What talents or unique experiences do I have that can add value to my team?

  2. What are some examples of how the team benefits from my talents or experiences?

  3. Some of my greatest business successes can be attributed to…

Now do the following:

  1. Collect the answers.

  2. Choose at least one talent reported by each member.

  3. Setup a monthly coach’s corner via conference or in person. 

  4. Have them share their talent with the rest of the team (e.g. how I won the biggest bid of my career)

This exercise not only creates a great environment for mentorship and promotes deeper human connection, it also empowers each team member to contribute as a leader and to feel even more responsible for the outcomes.