Raising the bar

Mickey Arthur, the Australian Cricket Team Coach has just blogged about recent team discipline issues.

It’s a very focused post that highlights some of the choices that everybody needs to make and be connected by in order that you don’t simply hold a set of hopes and wishes together – but that ensures you behave in a way that gives you the best chance of making the shared objective become reality.

Have a read of this extract;

This decision was about sending a strong message that it is about time all players had some accountability for their actions.

Being late for a meeting, high skinfolds, wearing the wrong attire, back-chat or giving attitude are just some examples of these behavioural issues that have been addressed discretely but continue to happen.

If we’re deadly serious about getting back to number one in the world, all players need to raise the bar and lift their game.

If not, we must be content at being number three or four or five in world cricket because we won’t get any better. The players won’t learn and we’ll continue a vicious cycle.

It is a strong message to everyone in Australian cricket that if you want to play for the Australian Cricket Team, then we demand excellence and corner-cutting, taking short-cuts or arriving with a bad attitude will no longer be tolerated. 

We want to be the Spanish football team, Manchester United or McLaren of world cricket. The absolute pinnacle where high standards are not expected, they are second nature.

It’s a clear choice: behave like we’re serious about being number one in the world, so that no one could doubt that actions are backing up words, and we control to the best of our ability the possibility of being number one; talk about being number one, but don’t deliver behaviours that show we’re serious about making the dream a reality, and we can be content with the world ranking we end up with. Both results ultimately become a choice. You can see that the choice is required to be made by all individuals who are part of that team. Coaches, players, support staff – EVERYBODY.

For this to work for everyone, there is first the choice of stepping into that environment, where the goal to be number one again is not going to changed. Do you want to be part of this? If you’ve made the choice to join that environment, when invited, then you’re agreeing to doing your best at behaving like you’re serious playing your part in making that goal become a reality.

This agreement means that all of the small requests that are part of behaving like you’re going to be number one in the world are executed with ongoing positive intent and the desire to find out how well you can deliver them.

This agreement means that it’s your responsibility to ask for support to become better at delivering those behaviours and also to help others become the best that can be at each of the marginal gains.

This agreement means you’ll challenge others when you believe they’re not following the lead you’re providing.

This agreement means absolutely feeling like you’re a joint leader of the mission and not some passenger who’s going to be chauffeured somewhere amazing by the talent around you.

If you’re serious about being part of something that is aiming to be the best in the world, then knowing where the bar has been set is essential. Only when the bar has been set and everything that goes with that bar has been made totally clear and ACCEPTED as a shared responsibility can you ever hope to raise the bar further some time in the future.

There’s often too much emphasis on raising the bar before teams and individuals have really understood and accepted everything that means the current bar is a compelling height to clear and the foundation for greater heights in the future. Without clarity on where the bar has been set and what is required to take that bar height on, don’t even bother beginning the run up; you’re in the land of enthusiastic hoping and wishing, which has never been a sustainable high performance strategy. Knowing and committing are the qualities of sustained excellence. Small differences in mindset, but these are the small things that make a difference in the long run.

So, where do you need to focus your efforts? Bar setting or bar raising. Choices.