Connect Power & Privilege to Form Championship Teams


Building Championship Behavior Using a 360 Degree Point-of-View in Developing Teamwork

by Lowell Wightman

The team practice today is similar in every way to each practice before. To repeat the success that yields championship results there can be no let up of effort, intent, or accountability. Everyone is responsible for the behavior necessary to become a champion.  Everyone is responsible for their contribution to the team, the team’s chemistry and the effective interactions amongst all the parts of the organization from the organization’s leadership, the coaches, to the support team.  Championship teams are grown from championship behavior with effective coaching and contributions from every member of the winning organization. Consider this:


There is no doubt that the coordination required to pull off this kind of precision is exemplary in championship organizations.  In this video, you think of each performer and their relationship to each other in the team.  Yet when considering the development of a championship team and organization, everyone includes anyone who provides service and support to any member of the team. It could be an administrative secretary or an equipment manager who have nothing to do with gaining yardage, defending a goal, or scoring points but yet they all contribute to the environment of champions.

When you consider the diagonal movement of the drill team, you begin to get the perspective of “how” a 360 degree point-of-view might be important in developing a championship environment.  Let me provide a clear example of how this works, and the level of detail that either “contributes to” – or – “takes away” from the things that make a championship performance.

Mindfulness of winning Conditions

When everyone is aware, deeply aware, of the conditions necessary to process championship results they do not hesitate taking action and holding others accountable for that process. A team as an organization has a higher probability of repeating championship success when “everyone’s behavior” is constantly focused on improving the conditions of others. Each individual is not concerned about their own personal power or privilege they are only concerned about making a meaningful connection for the greater good. They place others before themselves because they know their own power and privilege will grow as a result of their actions.

Even the smallest of gestures are meaningful and have purpose. The more you know about the drives desires and goals of others, the more  likely you are to offer a more meaningful contribution in the delivery of your actions.

For example, at the end of each meaningful workout there is time for recovery and renewal. A common action for athletes to take after a practice is simply clean up with a relaxing shower. Prior to cleaning up you remove your gear and clothing. There are very few sports that equal the amount of gear and clothing a football player uses for each practice. For all athletes and sports there are organized systems for collecting gear and clothing that support getting the gear and clothing back to the athlete for the next days practice or game.

Over the years I have lost a sock, worn a stinky tee shirt, and even had to practice in the wrong shoes because I did not understand the process for preparing my gear and clothing. I have also spoken with athletes at college and professional levels who have had similar experiences. In every case the athlete, including myself, knows how to reduce the errors and continue with championship behavior.  It is true that we tend to think of the big things, the details in execution of a play or proper technique.  Yet when you consider the highest levels of competition, the difference between winning and losing can be razor thin.  Consider the highest level of functioning within an organization poised for a world championship.  Everyone might agree that championship behavior begets the highest probability of success.  Consider all of the interactions in an organization that wants to win a championship.

Here is an example of when championship behavior is beginning to slip.

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Three rolling baskets are provided to collect practice gear and towels. As you can see two of the three bins are full and third has little or nothing in it. Based on my own experience as well as talking with other athletes this does not represent a championship environment.

In fact in this particular situation I actually heard players comment that it was not their responsibility to correct this because there are other people who get paid to maintain these bins and the clothing. I would agree with this comment to a point.

Seeing this picture, at what point does the player’s role stop and the equipment management take over? What are the implications this picture poses related to a player using their power and privilege to hinder equipment managers performing at their championship level?

Consider in this photo that you can see two very relevant conditions. One the bins are over flowing and two a third bin can be seen that has nothing in it. So what are the probable courses of action?

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This is not the first time I have seen a picture like this nor the first time I have asked championship teams to discuss courses of action.

The first comment suggested is “pick up the items on the floor”. Now that is brilliantly simple and to the point. The next suggested comment is something that sounds like “push down on the overflow items to see if there is more room” equally simple and brilliant. The last suggested comment directly relates to this picture “use the third bin”, now that is not only brilliant and simple but overwhelmingly obvious. So why are the bins still overflowing?

All that being said what reasons are there for the behavior that created these pictures? The players/athletes who are responsible for the towels, gear and clothing are the same athletes that take credit for being champions, celebrating great plays and eventually a championship win. So why is their behavior in the locker room different then the care and attention to details they have on the field?

Perhaps the athletes responsible for this mess are not the ones delivering the great plays on the field nor are they the athletes who take responsibility for making sure their gear, towel and clothing are in the bin.

I agree there are people paid to clean the locker room, do the laundry, and distribute gear. But do you understand that if you make their job more difficult on purpose you increase the chance that they will fail? Do you further realize that if they fail you may not get all of your socks or your clothing may be damp when it gets hung in your locker. So how would that impact your ability to perform?

Coach John Wooden, Hall-of-fame coach for the UCLA Bruins and 10 time national champion was famous for his first lesson of every new season.  The first day of practice was always held at Pauly Pavilion with chairs precisely arranged around the center of the tip-off circle.  Every player had their name on a chair and a fresh pair of socks on the chair.  Wooden would spend the first 15 minutes of their first practice session showing the team (freshman and seniors alike) “how” to put on their socks…with appropriate detail paid to making sure wrinkles were smoothed so as to avoid blisters.  Why?  Because blisters could clearly impact a player’s ability to perform.

If a coach or a teammate uses their power to diminish your ability, because they can, does their behavior support your desire to encourage someone else? It is only laundry and equipment and someone else is paid to take care of it. Why should I use any of my time or talent doing someone else’s job?

Desired Outcomes

Be a champion every season for as many seasons as possible. This statement has been realized by teams such as the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, LA Lakers, New York Yankees, USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Crimson Tide of Alabama, as well as IBM, or Apple. The process to become a champion is a series of outcomes connected together by each participant’s actions within the “process” of becoming a championship worthy organization.

The athlete who pushes the laundry down and picks up the loose towel on the floor is connecting the process. The CEO or the quarterback who compliments the actions of others while admitting they can do better is connecting the process to championship outcomes. Your power, your privilege are never greater then the whole.

When every part of the whole are humble enough to find the empty third bin and contribute their power and their privilege in order to improve others….. it is only then the whole moves forward on a path of greatness…..together.

The most powerful outcomes to desire – are those – that place others ahead of you first…. just as you feel others doing the same for you.

From the editor: In recent weeks I’ve explored using an assessment tool that provides information and understanding of what drives motivation in individuals.  The differences in desires and drives can be remarkable.  One might think that team chemistry is attributable to like-minded personalities.  This is true and yet its not the determining factor for success.  Rather, its the understanding and appreciation of our differences and similarities that can help us become better communicators and better contributors to helping one another achieve a common goal, like winning a championship.  Assisting me in this process is Lowell Wightman, a master teacher and remarkable coach in his own right.  This process is key in forming top notch organizations and it is well worth our consideration to understand the 360 mindset in appreciating all that goes into championship teams….you’ll never think of teamwork in quite the same way again.  Thanks Lowell – Stephen Walker, PhD – Editor

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Lowell Wightman, who is often referred as Coach Wightman, has dedicated over 30 years to the study of defining positive mindset and applies practical methods to improve leadership style. In the 80’s and 90’s Lowell worked with legal, medical and accounting practices developing training curriculum.
During this time he built relationships with Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen, and Dennis Waitley discovering that a focus on positive processes is far more effective than the end results. Today Lowell uses his experience with college and professional athletes to enrich leadership theory models as he presents to business audiences.
His years of experience are referred to routinely when Mr. Wightman teaches his Master Coaching course at Colorado State University (CSU). He developed this course for anyone in a role of trust and leadership. Lowell’s doctoral research in Human Development & Performance supports his role as an adjunct professor at CSU School of Education- Adult Education & Training. The combination of business and sports experience sets Lowell apart with organizations looking to define leadership style, promote mental toughness, and develop positive attitude mindset.
Currently Coach Wightman is actively training CSU football players, Olympic athletes and executive leadership while they develop a mindset uniquely suited to accomplish their goals. Mr. Wightman’s favorite quote summarizes his philosophy and passion for discovering the best path to performance excellence. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

Lowell Wightman
[email protected]
Certified Reiss Profile Master-Sports



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