Creating a Winnable Game for Team Engagement

Back in Mayafter the initial shock and anxiety of the Covid Pandemic had settled inand our team had successfully jumped through some pretty major hoops to assist the bulk of our client base with PPPother CARES Act implementations and business pivots” – we knew that we had to do something to restore a bit of normalcy and bring the team together. Fortunately, one of my waterski friends (Facebook friend), Chris McChesney is a leadership guru, and he timely put out some terrific information (video herethat we learned from and deployed in our business.  

After not getting the runners high associated with a typical tax “opportunity” season it was paramount that together we achieve something and restore our focus – enter the winnable game (or goal). In seven steps (those Covey guys love the number 7), Chris laid out how to create focus in a crisis: 

  1. Focus on one new goal 
  2.  Aim at target (not a concept)
  3.  Own the outcome 
  4. Gain leverage (lead measure) 
  5. Keep score 
  6. Make and Report on commitments 
  7. Acknowledge small wins 

For me, the biggest takeaways were:  

  • the emphasis on “lead measures” – by committing to and monitoring the leading activities our probability of success, hitting our goal, the lag measure, becomes infinitely more achievable. Simply put – if we do the leads, we can get the lags. 
  • Throw the “game on” switch – Keep Score! The team needs to see if they are winning. 
  • Accountability – maintaining the team’s energy and engagement has less to do the launch (everybody leaves the pep-rally fired up) but rather, continuous leadership throughout the game. 

Chris closes by posing the question: “Do the people who work for me feel they are winning at something that matters?” While this is an important question every day, it takes on even more significance during a crisis, when people often take the opportunity to recalibrate what matters to them (people also tend to do this at the end and beginning of the year). It is our jobs, as leaders, to make sure that we lead purposeful organizations that generate positive energy and engagement from those that choose to work with us. Creating a winnable goal, one that was well defined, with specific lead and lag measures, where we could keep score of our commitments and celebrate the wins together allowed us to do exactly that when we needed it most.