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It doesn’t matter whether you are one down in the Ashes series or teeing off in the Open, reviewing a loan application or baking the next batch of bread; whatever you do is coloured by past experiences, expectations and the way you engage with the task ahead. And it is this engagement and purpose, this awareness of shared values and goals which binds the team together and contributes towards its success or otherwise.
Take the Australian Cricket team as an example. Losing the first Ashes test match by the smallest of hot spots is bad enough. Following the loss with revelations about disunity in the team could be a recipe for disaster and yet thanks to some hard work the message from the dressing room is that the team is more united than it has ever been.
Or look at the Open Championships. From the moment the first ball is struck, earlier controversy about Muirfield Golf Club not being open to women members has to be set aside as the top golfers in the world do what they do best and deliver up a feast of sporting entertainment. Training and focus and vision are all that matters if the dreams are to be realised.
Even away from the sporting arena in work places across the country, employees are pulling together to deliver exceptional customer service and an exceptional product. But whether in sport or in other fields of business the exceptional only comes with clear leadership, with a vision and with a culture which actively engages employees. Let these slide and you simply won’t make the cut.