What leaders can learn from Tom Brady and Serena Williams

What do GOATs (or biggest athletes of all time) have in widespread? 

Serena Williams didn’t simply occur to win 23 grand slams. Tom Brady wasn’t fortunate to take house his seventh Superbowl win. Katie Ledecky’s 20 gold medals aren’t a random incidence. And the 6 NBA championships led by Michael Jordan weren’t completed by probability. They—and their groups—earned their iconic standing with a continuing dedication to enhance.

When athletic groups wish to obtain extra of their sport, they deal with apply, analyzing the output, and utilizing it to develop sturdy, efficient, optimistic habits which might be in step with their athletic targets. But, with most companies, we don’t see the identical logic: enterprise groups are at all times targeted on the tip objective—contracts signed, launch dates, and income targets. The majority of their power is spent on setting targets, and as soon as these targets are set, they focus every part on being forward-looking. 

Primarily based on years of learning how groups greatest obtain their targets, I consider this mindset is a serious barrier. I received’t use this area to debate setting and measuring targets but when , you can read more about my views right here. (Disclaimer: I’m biased towards OKRs—goals and key outcomes.)

What we’ll talk about right here is probably the most impactful option to begin attaining your targets—the act of reflection. By integrating your targets right into a self-reinforcing flywheel of constant reflection and iteration, you too can be a part of the rating of company GOATs. 

What’s that seem like in apply?

Set up a weekly behavior of reflection

Small optimistic habits, carried out repeatedly, result in huge impression. By making a behavior of each group member often reflecting on their work, you’ll create area for large impression, continuous studying and mindfulness. This is step one to establishing a group tradition through which nice communication is valued above all else (an important attribute for these subsequent steps to work.)

Make targets part of everybody’s cadence

When your long-term targets information your short-term planning, your group will see how their each day or weekly tactical work connects to strategic priorities. Reflection on the larger image creates higher psychological context when  you and your group go to assessment the progress made, determine upcoming priorities, and flag probably the most crucial points for dialogue. Each contributor ought to do that individually and then come collectively to assessment the mixture so all views can be weighed equally. 

Work transparently and acknowledge nice work

Research has proven when groups huddle weekly on targets and share classes realized, productiveness and profitability will increase throughout the board. Heck, clients prefer it too. Nevertheless, this requires that your group can be sincere about what’s going nicely and not going nicely. Acknowledge when somebody asks for assist; it’s laborious to be that weak. And at all times inform your teammates after they do one thing nice; recognition issues.

Embrace that alignment can be messy

After getting all the problems on the desk, determine in case your targets want additional focus and if some targets ought to even be totally rewritten or shelved. At Koan, we at all times say we reserve the precise to be higher. This is a chance to stay agile. Rewriting, altering or abandoning targets doesn’t imply you’ve failed, it means you’ve realized one thing new. It’s essential then that everybody agrees on a concrete set of actions to take to maneuver the ball ahead earlier than the following reflection cycle the next week. 

Spin that flywheel 

The hot button is consistency, you need to preserve repeating the steps for them to work. Common reflection and retrospectives have a optimistic correlation with targets planning and achievement. In different phrases, this system has to change into a behavior, not an occasion. 


Matt Tucker is the CEO of Koan, an organizational alignment software program platform that helps groups handle targets.