The Will to Win

By Kent Stemper, BluSky CEO

The will to win is the secret sauce that separates successful organizations from unsuccessful ones. When I was moved into the CEO role at BluSky I became aware of the will to win through our senior leadership team.

I observed their reactions to adversity, situations which didn’t go well for us. The first reaction was similar to this: if one of them got punched in the face, lip split wide open, blood spewing everywhere, they just spit their two front teeth out and stared at you. They acted like warriors! They were completely unfazed by the adversity. There was zero time spent wallowing in self-pity; they stayed focus on the goal.

I’ll repeat that one…they didn’t get distracted and focus on the problem, they stayed focused on the goal we were trying to accomplish.

I then noticed that this was infectious and contagious, and it had spread to our vice presidents and to our offices. We have a lot of warriors! And the will to win is a huge asset to any firm.

 Mental strength

Navy SEALs in Afghanistan

Photo credit: U.S. Navy file photo of SEALs operating in Afghanistan

Navy SEALs are real-life warriors; they are one group of people that has nearly universal respect. I had the opportunity recently to hear two of them speak at a networking event. One of my first thoughts concerning this group is, of course, their incredible physical conditioning and attributes. However, it was interesting to hear them talk about what separates their group from others. It had nothing to do with the physical aspect.

They are the elite of the elite, but they explained that what separates the Navy SEALs from the others is the mental aspect. It is their sense of purpose, their mental discipline. It is their belief that they could do anything.

That was enlightening. And when I think about it, it’s not dissimilar to our own warriors.

Author and life coach Tony Robbins says the best and quickest way to learn is to model someone.  If you want to up your “warrior” game, look for people to model.  Call them, observe them, question them, get courage from them, get support from them, and act like them.  It’s mental – anyone can develop this.

 Taking Action

Taking ActionIndividuals and organizations that possess the will to win tend to be disciplined when it comes to taking action.

Things upon which your life depends most are influenced by the actions you take daily.  What did you eat?  Did you exercise?  Did you spend quality time with your spouse/partner/significant other?  Did you try to improve yourself so you will be better a year from now than you are now?  What actions did you take today to accomplish what you needed for your work goals?

It’s been said that the greatest advantage extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is the ability to get themselves to take action.  We have to know how to push ourselves to take effective action because action produces the results. This is a skill we all can, and should, develop!

One of the biggest learnings I had from a former boss of mine was in this area. He and I would be in his office trying to figure out an issue or deal with something, and he’d start attacking it right then.  Sometimes he didn’t exactly follow “Ready – Aim – Fire.” Sometimes, it was “Ready – Fire – Aim,” or even “Ready – Fire – Fire Again – Aim.”  By the time he figured out that maybe wasn’t the best approach, he’d be on the second version.

But he got a lot done that way.  We don’t always have to have the perfect plan to begin. As the folks at Nike would say, sometimes the best approach is “Just Do It.”

 The Rest of the Secret Sauce

Our firm places a premium on getting things done. That’s the rest of the secret sauce – an organization’s will to take the actions necessary to win.  In our Will to Win mentality, nothing less than success is acceptable, and that is why we keep fighting.  And the interesting part is we continue to win because we keep fighting!

 

Other Articles by Kent Stemper:

Hiring for Character

Fundamentals of a Remarkable Culture