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David FullerAl Erricson was my basketball coach in 1982 – he’s learned a lot about coaching since then. If only Al knew then what he knows now, we might have won a game or two. What Al knows, and every business owner and manager should know, is that being successful is not all about skills. It takes the right attitude, team culture and a commitment to teamwork to be successful.

Running a business is much like coaching a team. We need to know what we’re playing for.

When I played for Al, we were playing to play. Now I watch Al and he’s playing to win. There’s a different mindset and it’s the mindset that needs to happen in business. Do you come to work just to put in time, or are you trying to achieve a goal? Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Until we’re clear about what we’re trying to do with our job, our business and our lives, we’re just floating along – rarely winning and often not really in the game.

Great leaders have some similar qualities:

Clarity and vision – They’re clear about what they want to achieve and have a vision of what that should look like.

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Communication – They’re able to tell their team, staff or co-workers what those goals and visions are in a way that’s easy to understand.

Simplicity – Great leaders and coaches keep it simple, teach it simple and simply do it. When we complicate things, ideas or systems, we screw stuff up. We think we’re making ourselves look good because we are ‘complex’ but, in reality, we act stupid.

Determination – If something is worth trying to achieve, it’s likely going to take some hard work: hard work on the part of the team, and dedication and determination on behalf of the leader. In business and with sports teams, goals and visions can take time to realize. We don’t build a dream team overnight, and we don’t build a successful business in a weekend.

Sometimes we can get lucky. We can build a winning team or a business the first time out.

More often, though, it takes time to understand the rules of the game and how to get it right. This applies to business and sports.

Once you can understand what needs to be done and in what order, you can teach others how to do it properly. When we put systems into our business and teach our employees to do that layup properly, when we communicate the skills that are necessary to be successful, we can be on the road to having a winning team.

Coaches look at the scoreboard regularly. Unfortunately, business owners don’t do it enough. In order to understand if we’re winning or losing, we need to look at our financial statements every month. This is our scoreboard. You need to understand if you’re making money or not.

If you’re not making money, you won’t be in business long and you won’t be able to accomplish your mission of helping people. You also won’t be in any position to contribute to your community by employing people and contributing as small businesses do.

If you want to win at business or sports, it takes playing to win, developing your team and reading your scoreboard. Working on these daily will go a long way to ensuring you and your team are winners.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner with Pivotleader Inc. For interview requests, click here.

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