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Having spent many years in the world of sports, I often find that sports ideas and business ideas are not that different. At a time when I was coaching a women’s lacrosse program, I was asked to help a team that had just gone through a tough string of games.
Morale was low. My trainer friend and I knew we needed to inject some energy into them, so we came up with a cheer called the Heart and Hustle chant. It goes like this:
Coaches: H squared!
Players: Heart and hustle!
And repeat until everyone is fired up.
Simple, right? We instituted this little cheer and all of a sudden these young girls – about 12 years old – went up in flames. The team was playing like I had never seen them play before. The singing invigorated them and they carried on.
They won in more ways than one.
Fast forward to today, and that chant is still shared by all of the teams participating in this lacrosse program – which has grown to over 400 girls playing in any given year. There is a Heart and Hustle tournament, Heart and Hustle t-shirts and in my last year in the program I received a necklace from a group of players with an H2, which stands for – you guessed it – Heart and Hustle. It never ceases to amaze me that a single cheer starts from a team and spreads throughout the organization.
What does this have to do with business? All.
Great ideas rule the world. But what makes an idea great? When I think back to that joy and then to my current career, I think there are three key elements: genuine desire, channeled energy, and receptive people.
Related: Authentic Leadership: What It Is and Why It Matters
You can’t fake authenticity
There are false intentions everywhere – and trust me, they don’t stick. We can intuitively sense if an idea comes from an authentic place.
Making an idea stick starts with not focusing on sticking but on nurturing an intrinsic desire to be of service. I’m convinced that’s why so many successful companies describe themselves as people-centric or human-centric, and then follow those words with actions. A team that truly wants to make a positive change in the world or truly values their company’s mission will inherently have more impact than a team supported only by flimsy, half-hearted slogans.
Focus on your best
We know (and love) all those carefree people who always seem cheerful and upbeat. Maybe you are one of them. But while this kind of positivity can be extremely helpful in creating a welcoming work environment, it won’t make or break a business.
You create strength and movement when you channel your positive energy into the best projects with the highest priority. Scattering your motivation across too many projects leaves each project without the momentum needed to make a real impact. This responsibility often falls to management. Your team may have 10 fantastic projects they’d like to think about, but if you realistically only have time for three, you’re doing all 10 projects a disservice by not channeling your energy. Pick your best projects and put it all in there.
Related: How to Employ a Team That Shapes Your Company Culture
Build the best team
It’s often difficult to know when a team member just isn’t the right fit. Sometimes it’s a question of skills, but often it’s something that goes beyond a listing on a resume.
A team member with average skills who shares your vision will work much more effectively than one with exemplary skills but who doesn’t care. When building your team, look for leads who relate to your company’s mission. These employees will pick themselves up after a failed campaign, get back to work, and work even harder to achieve common goals the next time around. It is often these types of people who come up with the remaining ideas.
Related: How to Create the Perfect Recipe for Persuasive Storytelling in Your Presentations
There is no recipe
Part of what makes ideas stick is having the perfect mix of circumstances that allows these three components to come together – along with other much more nebulous things like community timing, attitudes and trends. – which is part of the reason why not all ideas stick. Even good ideas. So what can you do to make sure you have ideas that stick? Focus on the things you can control and bring them together as often as possible.
There is no perfect roadmap and certainly no instruction manual. But bringing together the best people to share their genuine desires toward a common goal, with focused focus, puts your team and your business in the best possible place to spark those world-changing ideas. As a leader, this is the most important part of my job: creating the best possible atmosphere and encouraging creativity, spark and the free flow of ideas. That, to me, is heart and restlessness.