One Reason So Few Teams Repeat as Champions

Admittedly, there are a multitude of factors that go into a team’s chances of repeating as champions in their sport. These include things like the team’s health, the percentage of the team that returns, the strength of opposing team’s, etc.

While all of these factors are key ingredients to a team’s success, there is one thing I have seen that a team must have in order to repeat: A process orientation.

Most teams have the goal of winning a championship and that can certainly get them there. The problem is when you have a goal orientation your focus is on the prize. Now while that is often enough to get players to work harder and play smarter, it rarely can be sustained over consecutive seasons.

Now you may be thinking, well, if it worked once why not have the same goal and add the extra incentive of repeating as champions? The problem lies in that when you rely on goal orientation your focus is in front of you.

Have you ever been so excited to reach a plateau that you hurriedly rushed to the top the quickest way you could and then found yourself unable to find your way back down? I have. When your focus is in front of you, it’s hard to know which of the steps that you took were vital in helping you get there.

Conversely, when you have a process orientation, you have bought into doing what is needed daily and have a repeatable recipe at your disposal for additional success in the future. A process orientation also protects you from the doubts that come when things do not go your way.

You see, a goal orientation relies on a goal to foster motivation and that’s a shaky foundation on which to build upon. What do you think will happen when you have a goal to win a championship and you lose your first several games? I can tell you from experience that it will likely pull your team apart, and in some sports leave you with nothing to play for.

Having a process orientation does not assure that you will have a winning season, much less a championship season. It does however, assure that you will be able to start building a foundation that will likely propel you to higher heights.

If you focus on getting better each day, good things will eventually happen. Best of all is that when those good things happen you will understand how you got there and be more likely to repeat those accomplishments.

I have seen teams with great skill and high goals tank at their first or second setback. I have also seen teams that were often outmanned, who focused on their process, that dominate their opponents.

In summation, you can get to the top of the mountain with a goal orientation, but you are much more likely to get back there again with a process orientation.

As the late great coach John Wooden was fond of saying, “Winning games, titles and championships isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but getting there, the journey, is a lot more than it’s cracked up to be.”


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc



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