Providing an answer to this question, Simon Sinek shared a story about one of the “most elite forces in the world” in the video below.
A digression first.
It has to be around the year 1986, back then a little kid in Zaïre (now the DR Congo), an uncle was watching a game on television and introduced me to a sport, to this name “Magic Johnson”.
Then came the 1992 Olympic games with the “Dream Team”. Now in Belgium, that team pushed us with a few friends to spend the summer, autumn and winter playing outside. I was then introduced to organised ball. I was not the tallest in the team, not the best player, not the best scorer and had to figure out ways to get in the rotation and earn some minutes on the court knowing that other teammates would play the bulk of the minutes.
The game of basket-ball teaches me so many skills that I can translate to the game of business (corporate world, jobs and entrepreneurship soon). This game introduced me to most of my best friends. It teaches me about competition, leadership, discipline, training, motivation, team dynamics, winning and losing, dealing with personalities, faiths, gender, sexual orientations, how to contribute to a common goal, how to deal with people who mostly care about personal accolades, finding ways to self-improve and contribute to the team’s success, etc. I never played as a pro-athlete. Over the six years I played in youth competition, I think I was not nominated twice or three times as the team captain.
This game also provided me with a platform to analyse “what makes some teams succeed and others fail“? And “why some people succeed and others fail” ?
Back to Simon Sinek and his talk “THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I WAS YOUNGER”
He shared the case of the U.S. Navy SEALs (link to be found below):
The U.S. Navy SEALs are considered one of the most elite forces in the world, one of the highest performing groups of people on the planet.
To become a Navy SEAL, they have go through something called ‘BUD/s’ (Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL) which is a multi-month selection process which destroys their bodies and the vast majority of people will drop out and never become SEALS because it is so aggressive.”
What kind of person makes it through ‘BUD/S’ ?
“A former SEAL responded: I can’t tell you the kind of people that make it through but I can tell you the kind people of people that don’t make it through;
- the preening leaders who like to delegate everything, none of those guys make it through;
- the star college athletes who have never really been tested to the core of their being, none of those guys make it through;
- the guys that show up with bulging muscles covered in tattoos who want to show everybody of tough they are, none of those guys make it through;
some of the guys who become SEALS are skinny and scrawny,
some of the guys who become SEALS you will actually see them shivering out of fear but there’s one thing they all have in common,
when they are emotionally exhausted,
when they are physically exhausted,
when they have absolutely nothing left to give,
every single one of them is able to dig down deep inside of themselves to find the energy to help the guy next to them,
those guys that become SEALS,
in other words, the highest performing teams on the planet, (side note: I crosschecked this with a friend in the military, statement confirmed!)
- they are not the strongest,
- they are not the smartest,
- they are not the fastest,
the highest performing teams on the planet are the ones who give to each other selflessly,
they commit themselves to taking care of each other and this is what makes a great team!”
Access the video via Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9gzGmyDJvc
Hope this helps providing a blueprint to transform your team to a great team!
More from me on Talent Development and Ethnostratification:
Born in Congo, I am committed to developing more inclusive workplaces. My passion is to enable others to achieve their potential and to advance equity in corporate Brussels.
About eight years ago, a friend told me something like “in my company, they consider me as a high potential. I participated to the annual event of our industry, 500 people – la crème de la crème – and I was the only non-white in the room. A journalist even came to me and discreetly asked “what about upward mobility”? The problem is that in our industry, the majority of the workers at the bottom of the pyramid are non-whites. The higher you go in the hierarchy, the whiter it becomes.”
How to increase racial diversity at the top of corporate Brussels?
What is the diverse makeup or diversity demographics of your team overall? And of your management and board teams?