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The Midweek Motivator – Leaving Footprints

There are enough sports clichés to fill the Rose Bowl. Most of them trample the obvious and are frequently heard from “tier-4” announcers at the Captain Crunch Bowl. You may consider it cliché but the following statement-of-condition deserves your consideration; the meaning and impact of the “championship culture.” This concept seems at odds and doesn’t easily fit radio’s current challenges: Covid’s fallout, some national groups’ financial structures, and growing tension within the leadership ranks of select regional groups. Even so, there are glowing exceptions that happily include a number of our clients.

In your entire career, there may only be four or five times when you’re in a true cycle of greatness. If you happen to be there now, it’s essential to recognize it and to buy-in to the process and practices required to sustain your organization’s high level of inertia.

A while back one of our columns referred to NBA master-mind Pat Riley’s description of one of his LA championship years with the Lakers. In the first minutes of a euphoric locker room celebration champagne was dripping from coaches and players as emotions soared, all playing out before a gaggle of reporters. One of them shoved a camera in Coach Riley’s face and asked in a challenging tone, “What about it coach? Can you win again next year?” This is the place where many coaches would crayfish with a vague response. Instead, Riley slapped it all aside. “I flat out guarantee it!”

 Truth told, most caveats and vagaries uttered by coaches, CEO’s, even media managers, are really escape clauses; padding for potential failure in disguise. The difference between a sports team, a car dealership, or a radio group that wins only occasionally while their rivals win most of time, can be explained by the concept of “championship culture.” Sure, prudent leaders create “cushions” as insurance against adversity. But average businesses (including some radio companies) create cushions to sit on. The very best teams use “what-if” planning as a springboard toward their cycle of greatness. In NFL context it’s the difference between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Bucs. Both teams have NFL talent, only one sustains a championship culture.

A business mission is likely to succeed if (1) the plan puts a clear team culture in front of raking-in money, (2) gets rid of the “elite stars” mentality where one or two people are at the pinnacle, (3) hires for attitude and trains for skills, (4) vigilantly adjusts for changes in their competition, (5) develops its talent by comparing each player to their competitors’ players (as opposed to their teammates).

And, if you can improve ten sales people by 1 percent each week over 4 weeks, you’ll have improved your sales skills by 40% this month. If you can coach 5 air talents to improve 2% every month, you’ll achieve a 120% performance increase over the next year   

In any competition team ascension begins with relentless determination that’s sustained through terminal determination to outthink and outperform competitors.  Championship cultures only end when leadership changes or self-importance overrides “the greatness of all of us.” Success is never final…but it can last a long, long time.