Is your team’s culture an asset that helps your team win? Or is your culture a liability that hurts performance and leaves everyone dissatisfied?
I was fortunate to witness a great leader reach an impressive milestone by using culture as a secret weapon. Head Coach Kevin Borseth became just the 29th head coach to reach 700 career wins in NCAA history. Heading into the 2018-2019 season, the UW-Green Bay women’s basketball program has won 20 straight conference titles. Second only to Tennessee, the Green Bay Phoenix have had 41 consecutive winning seasons.
How have they become the best mid-major team in women’s basketball? By doing the work every day to build an intentional, relationship-based culture. They are intentional in how they recruit, how they are player-led, how they treat each other, and how they hold each other to standards of excellence and positive accountability.
Simply put, their culture is about helping everyone on the team be their best at all times. This is the reason why they are in rarefied air.
“Everything we do… we ask the players to give effort and commit to everything, and it’s our job as coaches to do the same for them. Really good people that have helped along the way. But at the end of the day, it’s about these guys right here,” said Borseth.
The wins are great, but what is most meaningful are the skills these women bring with them into their careers. Most of them are highly successful in their professions because of the lessons they learned as members of this magical team culture. Beyond physical skill, discipline, grit, and motivation, they can transfer perhaps an even more meaningful life skill… the ability to commit to others in a positive way that allows them to attain higher levels of success.
That’s the magic of culture. Be intentional. Be about each other.
Championship Culture = Be Intentional + Be About Relationships
It’s not just about slogans hanging on walls (although promoting it is important). It’s about the conversations and interactions you have with each other. This is the only way you can go into challenging situations and trust that the connections you have with each other are strong enough to carry the team through to the other side where success is earned.