Not Every Leader W.I.N.S; Here's Why

The motto for my daughter’s under-seven soccer team was “Everyone’s a winner!” Even though her team was terrible, they still got a trophy! Apparently no one kept score…except the kids; because I’d often hear my daughter ask, “Yeah, but who really won?”

The motto for my daughter’s under-seven soccer team was “Everyone’s a winner!” Even though her team was terrible, they still got a trophy! Apparently no one kept score…except the kids; because I’d often hear my daughter ask, “Yeah, but who really won?”

Soulful leading is about helping leaders lead like high performance athletes. High performers take 100% responsibility for the results they have, both in business and in life. There’s a simple formula that has had a radical effect on my life and the leaders I work with. It looks like this.

C > E

C=Cause; E=Effect.

I lived a lot of my life at effect. I could tell you all the reasons why I couldn’t be the kind of person I wanted to be, couldn’t live where I wanted to live, couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. People who live at effect are filled with reasons.

People who live at cause however, are focused on results.

  • I’m not the weight I want to be? How do I cause different results?
  • We’re not meeting the numbers we need? How do we cause different results?
  • I don’t have the relationship I want? How am I at cause? How can I create new results?
  • I don’t have the spiritual life I want? How can I help cause different results?

In 2016, in the depths of depression, some gifted leadership coaches and consultants helped me experience a significant shift. During that shift I started to realize that if I wanted different results, I would need to learn the art of developing small, intentional wins to reach a larger vision.

Eventually, I created a little framework; an acronym to help me and other leaders become more intentional about the outcome W.I.N.S. we wanted to cause. Here’s a quick fly-over, letter-by letter.

W (Want/Results)

What are the results that you want that you’re currently not getting?  Be very specific. By when will it happen? How will you measure it? What will it feel like? Define it with emotion. Here’s a tip, write it out with joy as though it’s already happened. For example:

  • It’s 2022, our Exec team is totally aligned. We’ve just achieved $X in sales.
  • My marriage is full of passion. We just completed our 12th consecutive week of date nights where we engage one another’s love language.

I (Identity)

This is a HUGE reason why not everyone wins. Achieving the kind of results you want requires new rituals and habits (next step). cannot sustain new rituals and habits without first shifting your identity.

Joseph Campbell once said, “Identity is what comes after the words, I Am.” Ask yourself, ‘Who would I need to become in order to accomplish these results?’

You may not yet have the results you’re intending, but you can shift your identity to say, “I am the kind of person that can do hard things” or “I am the kind of person who follows through’. (Some tap into an alter ego until their identity catches up. That’s another subject for another time.)

Once you name your identity or way of being, you then need to recognize that every time you follow through with a small ritual, you’re casting a vote towards that identity.

N (Necessary Systems)

Success is a product of habits. Show me your habits and I’ll show you the trajectory of your results. There is so much great work on habit formation today, so I’ll be super brief. Habits (bad and good) follow a formula: 1) Cue 2) Craving 3) Response 4) Reward. (Atomic Habits by James Clear is ground breaking on this subject!)

Setting a necessary habit system requires you to create rituals that are: Obvious, Attractive, Easy, and Satisfying. You wanna get in shape? Following this framework would look like: 1) I put my running shoes in front of coffee (Obvious), 2) I keep a picture of my target goal in front of me (attractive) 2) I’m only allowed to walk around the block 4 days this week (Easy), 4) I get a cup of coffee after I walk (satisfying).

S (Story I’ll Show Up With)

It’s been said that only 20% of business is skill; the rest is mindset. Our success is directly tied to the story we tell ourselves. Our minds are wired for story. Our brain interprets data and narrates them into a cohesive storyline so we can make sense of life.

Our brain is wired to protect us. That’s both helpful and sometimes harmful. Because your brain wants to protect you from pain, it will keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue the kind of results you really want.

So if you are asked to lead a team, and in the past you’ve done poorly leading teams, what’s the story you’ll believe? “Wait, I’m terrible at leading teams. I can’t lead teams. I can’t step up and take this promotion!”

Identify the story you’re believing and take steps to show up in that state. Again this is such a huge topic we’ll need to address it further in posts to come.

So go get some quick outcome W.I.N.S under your belt! And then, CELEBRATE those wins to lock them in!

Start small. Maybe set your outcome to drink a certain amount of water tomorrow, or to get more sleep, or to eat clean 4 days next week, or to walk or jog 4 times this week.

Until then,

Lead like a champ!