I spent a lot of my military career with elite teams and Ranger units. Those men are the best of the best. They have the highest standards, they drive themselves at 110%, they go bigger, further, and better. For any elite psychology, be it in the military, be it the para-jumpers, the elite firefighters that go in on the hottest forest fires, the best of the first responders, when you’re on the elite side of psychology… you live, breathe and believe in the man and woman on the left and on the right of you, this is a team.
It’s not a group of individuals, and you’ll notice the beliefs are driven by the leader. So, the leader must sit down and decide, “How do I get people to live, breathe, and believe in who we are?”
It’s not likely to happen through being smart or spreadsheets and project management reports. Those will be present, and elite units do use them, but how they believe in the team is what I’m talking about. It begins with the standards that are set.
The standards are extraordinarily high. Plans have plans within plans, contingencies within contingencies. Why? Because you’re driven by “shooting for the stars” and you have to think about all the reasons why you can’t get there, and you’re going to have contingency plans. What if plan A doesn’t work? Then plan B. What if plan B doesn’t work? Then plan C. What if plan C doesn’t work? Then we’ll execute D.
I can’t say this enough: The success of the team is going to be tied back to the standards that you have set. It’s going to be defined by the “stars.” Every action, be it big or small, is executed at 100%. Elite teams don’t walk, slow down, or half-ass anything. Everything is done at a superb, extraordinary standard, and then your training is superb. You train to play that way.
The real problem with most leaders is they don’t own it, they are focused on the easier variables they are controlling. You can go to Harvard Business School, some of the best leadership training, and they’re going to say, “Hey you’re going to control very few things and you only influence most things.”
George Patton and Douglas McArthur were not influencers, they owned everything that was in their kingdom and under their watch. Are you bold in what the stars you shooting for are about? We don’t want to just shoot for little stars, we want bold and outrageous stars and the standards with which we’re going to do it.
And if you follow what I am selling for you, and you get the stars is where you are headed, then when an obstacle to the stars comes up and you find that demotivating, you must remember that it’s a law, it’s mandatory that big obstacles come with big targets. So, if you lose sight of the stars because all you have is this absolute tunnel vision focus on the wall that’s in front of you and you’re missing the stars on the other side, you’ve got to believe in your ability to get through the wall. It’s not the “stars” strategy that you worry about in those kinds of cases, it’s what’s your “obstacle busting” strategy is. Now you have to get excited about what an amazing “obstacle buster” you are.
There are some people that get through the obstacles because the obstacles are in the way of above average, and they are determined to be above average. So they’ll do what it takes to be above average. We always get what we set as a target. What do you think about that?
We always get what we set as a target, or if we fail, we get back up, and we get back to it.
People say, “Wait a second, I set a target and I didn’t get it.” No, what happened is they changed the target. If you set a legendary marriage as the target and you got divorced, and then said, “It’s impossible to have a loving marriage again so I just want a relationship with somebody who doesn’t cheat on me,” that’s what you get. You changed your target. You always get the target.
If you start to ponder how these principles and this content is going to impact your job, your family, your health, your community, the people you influence, it gets to be really, crazy, scarily, fun. This is where leadership begins to rock. Is this natural? Can you be more of a leader? Is this something you can really learn and take to really, extraordinary levels?