Today I really need to talk to you about buy-in to team culture because I believe that buy-in is an important key to success for anyone on any team, whether in sport or in business. Yes, buy-in is a key to success, but no one talks about how to achieve it.
So, what is buy-in? I define it as the willingness to support a decision or action by the leader of your team and a firm commitment to the team culture. If you pay attention to the teams that go on 5- to 10-year winning streaks you will realize that every one of them has a very strong team culture that everyone buys into.
This blog post will help you identify what buy-in looks like on your team and show your coach that you buy in to the team culture.
Visualization is a great way to explain concepts, so to understand buy-in, start by thinking of it as a toolkit. To achieve buy-in you need to have three things in your toolkit:
There is so much more to buy-in than knowing the team chant or cheering from the bench. Buy-in looks different on different teams, so to achieve buy-in you have to be aware of what it looks like on your team. Maybe buy-in on your team means you arrive early and help set up the gym. Maybe it means you go out for the weekly get-together with your teammates. Almost certainly it means doing something the coach asks without rolling your eyes.
If you observe what goes on around you carefully, you’ll probably become aware of what buy-in on your team looks like. But if you can’t figure it out on your own, then just stop and ask someone. It seems simple, but so many people are afraid to ask because they think they will look stupid. You know what they say, though: there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But pretending you know when you don’t know — that’s what I call stupid.
So go ahead and muster up the courage to ask your coach or one of the veterans on your team. They’ll be happy to answer your question. And once you know how your coach defines buy-in, make a list of the things you need to do to demonstrate your buy-in.
This will work for your sports team — and for your work team.
Once you know what it looks like to buy in on your team and you’ve made your list of buy-in behaviors, it’s time for the second tool in your buy-in toolkit: the interest meter.
How interested are you in buying in? You can’t know where you are truly at with buy-in unless you can measure your level of interest in achieving it. But how do you measure it?
It’s pretty easy. Take your buy-in check list and pretend that each item on it is a notch on a meter. Let’s say you have 10 buy-in behaviours on your list, so your buy-in meter has 10 notches. Keep track of your buy-in behaviors, and put a check mark next to the appropriate notch for each time you adhere to one of them. If you’re like most people you’ll soon realize that there are several notches with no check marks beside them. Many people think they are showing complete buy-in when they are really only doing one or two items out of the ten on their buy-in list. Your buy-in meter will show you how much buy-in you truly have.
The third tool in your buy-in tool kit is Ownership.
This is where many people fail when it comes to buy-in. A lot of people know what buy-in is supposed to look like, but they feel that others are responsible for making sure they attain the things that buy-in can achieve. Athletes feel that it is the coach’s job to make them better athletes in practice. Employees feel that it is the boss’s job to help them get that promotion at work. But the truth is that the only one who can guarantee a personal win is you.
The coaches and bosses of the world are there to give you the tools you need to be successful, but they can’t spoon feed you your success. They can’t make you practice with your whole heart in it; they can’t make you go that extra mile. Only you can take ownership of your own success. And the buy-in tool kit can help you do that.
Success on any team is a choice, and part of that choice is the decision to buy in or not buy in. Take the time to find out what buy-in looks like on your team and commit to achieving it. Practice mastering buy-in behaviours in your sport now to help your team be a winning team. If you do, then when you go out into the working world you’ll be able to buy in to the team culture of whatever team you are, and that can only help you achieve success!
Alright, that is it for today!
If you want to download a Buy-In Worksheet for yourself or for your team, go to our website www.lifesasport.ca and sign up for our resource guide; it is full of tools that you and your team can use.
If you liked this blog post please like it and pass it on to other parents, coaches, and athletes so they too can learn the life lessons learned in sport for success in life.
Stephanie uses easy-to-understand principles—simple, relevant, practical solutions for dealing with mediocrity at work, at home and on the athletic field—without quick fix schemes.