How to turn losers into winners

Leading a losing team to success is difficult, and there will be setbacks, but there is no end to the success you can achieve if you push your team to grow, challenge itself, and be better while keeping its focus on what is possible in spite of what is actually happening, according to Joe Frontiera and Daniel Leidl in their book Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams.

After initially researching professional sports teams which underwent significant turnarounds, the authors expanded their investigations to include businesses. From their research they identified six typical steps in a team’s transition from losing to winning:

  • Stage 1: Leading past losing, which involves making an honest evaluation of the team’s current underperformance
  • Stage 2: Committing to growth, which involves creating a vision for the future and the values, plans and goals that will guide the group forwards
  • Stage 3: Changing behaviours, which involves introducing and reinforcing new behaviours and best practices
  • Stage 4: Embracing adversity, which involves growing stronger by meeting roadblocks head-on and overcoming them
  • Stage 5: Achieving success, which involves recalibrating and moving on once initial goals have been reached
  • Stage 6: Nurturing a culture of excellence, which involves sustaining the team’s progress with continual learning, innovation, and maintenance of the team culture

While this six-stage model may not fit every turnaround, it does in my opinion provide helpful guidance for those who find themselves in leadership positions at companies which are languishing on the losing side of the ledger. The book includes numerous interesting and inspiring stories of companies and sporting teams which have undergone successful turnarounds, and the last part of the book provides a Team Turnaround Workbook in which detailed advice is given about what needs to happen in order to progress from one stage to the next.

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