Do you wanna know a coaching secret?
It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s free. It’s easy and it can change the attitude of your team or organization. I use it all the time but never realized the power of this secret to transform attitudes until late this summer, when I did a couple guest gigs at several high school conditioning sessions.
What is this secret bit of magic? It’s the word “We”.
I told you it was simple. “We” transforms. “We” unites. “We” ingrains common purpose. “We” trains together to achieve goals. “We” suggests a collective, a common thread within a group and a team. Humans are hard wired for small group functionality. We are small group hunter-gatherers from way back in the day. Our drive and ability to work in groups for a common goal have been part of our machinery since the first human stood up on two feet and walked around. We want to work together, but this unity has to be built and nurtured.
Common purpose, common goals, common challenges and common suffering all unite young people to work together. Doesn’t matter how different they are from each other, it doesn’t matter where they come from or where they are planning to go, they can unite under the umbrella of “we”.
For example, instead of saying, “Today, you guys are running six Terrible 20’s”, say, “Today, we are running six Terrible 20’s.” The “We” example means we are in this thing together, common purpose to work our asses off because we need to get better. Both examples have me, the coach, telling the players to go out and run something very, very physically demanding. But, there is a huge shift in attitude from the individual players training, to one with emphasis on the collective good of the group working to prepare themselves.
A simple word can make a huge difference in the approach and philosophy of an organization or team. Successful teams and organizations unite to work toward achieving a common goal. You can’t force unity, it has to happen, it has to be forged through time and common purpose. Team unity happens every day, but not by isolated, contrived team building activities. Kids have well honed BS meters, it is their superpower. They can sniff out the attempts to force unity and then they will resist. This important use of semantics can make a difference when used every day. “We” can get it done .
Don’t believe a simple word, like “We” can have such a dramatic affect? Try it out. Go out next practice or team meeting and throw it out there. Let it rip and see what happens.