Julia answers "the fundamental question - how do you win?"

May 9, 2017

I hate losing. I would say, I hate losing even more than I like winning. The burn of a lose lingers. The joy of a win fades quickly into the next chance to win. This includes any sort of competition and, subconsciously, I believe everything is a competition. So, if I love to win and absolutely hate to lose, the question becomes - what does it mean to win and how do you make it consistently happen?

 

Winning, to me, can be super black and white. You score more goals than the opposing team or you ski faster than everyone else. Done, easy peasy. Where the black and white blurs to a grayish fog is the less concrete competition, like business. How do you win in business? And how do you win consistently?

 

Put simply, if you want to consistently win, whether in skiing or in business, it is all about how fundamentally sound you are built. In skiing that means technique and tactics, especially in a state of recovery. In business, the fundamental questions your business is built on are clutch. Every win is built from the ground up - just like a ski turn.

 

At GroundSwell, we talk about building fundamentals as a pyramid. When the foundation is solid, the scaffolding can be built to create a solid structure. Creating a strong business foundation is like building a solid platform at the top of the ski turn. If you don’t have it, you’re screwed for the rest of the turn or the rest of your business strategy. 

 

At the base of GroundSwell’s pyramid are the foundational questions any business should ask: who are you; how are you different; where are you going? In the middle of the pyramid are the systems and the Market: your products/services; where you are competing; and your operations, resources, and management systems. In skiing, the middle of the pyramid would be your coaches, your equipment, planning, and management - aka the systems, services, and products you have around you to make you great.

 

The pyramid gradually inclines to the tip where culture sits; the core values ruling over the other steps, asking, “what are your values, beliefs, and the norms that drive your choices?” GroundSwell says that 50% of profits come from culture. I would say 50% of ski racing success comes from the team’s culture or environment. I’ve seen a lot of great ski racers crumble under toxic environments. 

 

So, how do you create a good culture? Ask these fundamental questions: what are your values and beliefs (meaning what matters to you), and what are the assumptions you’ve made and live by? Next, what are your norms? The norms are your everyday actions. It is crucial for the norms to be consistent with what you say your values, beliefs, and goals are. It’s simple; a team creates a high-level plan and boils it down for each individual’s specific goals. But culture is what drives that. A toxic environment creates a bad business and slow skiing.
 
Now, back to the fundamental question - how do you win? As a veteran I have won and lost many times. The answer - focus on fundamental skills and build a stronger pyramid. Make your values consistent with your actions and surround yourself with a team that believes the same. I say this not as though I win all the time but from my experiences and GroundSwell’s systematic checklist. People can be successful by strictly sending- a method of reckless abandonment where one just ‘goes for it’ with little tactical thought. I’ve done it, but eventually ‘the send’ crashes because the fundamentals are not sound. Businesses come out hot and fade,  die, or plateau. The pyramid will crumble if you only rely on the send. Fundamentals are reliable and building a solid pyramid of organizational development creates longevity. Believe me, I know every athlete hates hearing the importance of fundamentals, but let’s be honest, losing sucks more.   
 

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