The true competitors, though, are the ones who always play to win.

Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots

Back in the day (October 2004) Tom Brady did an interview with Interview Magazine. From this interview came the above quote. More importantly, Brady talked about his coach, Bill Belichick, and about how Belichick communicates with the players to give them a competitive advantage. Belichick communicates the importance of winning (the attitude) to his team and not the statistics of individual players. 

Belichick believes that if everyone on the team is playing to win, then everyone’s stats will get better. You might have heard, “rising tides lift all ships…” (It’s the same thing.)

“Don’t sell snow to the eskimos.”

Ron Kaufman, Uplifting Service

“you could sell snow to an eskimo” means “you can sell anything to anyone.” But when talking about “snow” and “eskimos” as it relates to “your product” and “your company” it’s different...

Training your customer service team (your eskimos) to project your brand message and core values (your snow) to your customers can only effectively be done if you train your entire team - including the internal teams - to do the same. Every department should infuse your brand message and core values into their day-to-day operations and activities. This way your eskimos have more snow to work with.

"It's not my responsibility to listen, it's your responsibility to make me hear." 

Robert Herjavac

When asked for “just two minutes” in the Shark Tank (after being thoroughly chewed by the Sharks), Herjavec delivered the above line to Splikity. 

For the first few days on the job, your new employees are listening to everything in your company. (Overwhelming!) It’s not their responsibility to wade through all the information to find what’s important to the company (your values), it’s your responsibility to ensure (through words and actions) that they hear, see, and feel them. 

“I replaced every chair on campus. I got hundreds of e-mails thanking me for the chairs. I was focused on reenergizing the culture.”

Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi, Real Simple

When Mindy Grossman arrived at HSNi the culture was, in her words, “broken.” She had to revitalize a dying brand… and her first move was to replace the chairs. 

To Mindy “it was important that people felt [she] was [t]here for the long run and that [she] had [her employees’] best interests at heart.” Changing the chairs and caring for her employees is one of the best examples of changing a little detail and making a big difference.

“… when people have meaningful work, they work harder, smarter, and better, and their companies are more profitable.”

Barry Schwartz,

It’s about caring. The level of care that an employee puts into their job is in direct correlation to how much they understand the meaning of their work on the organization. In Schwartz’s example, it’s about the hospital custodian who sees “themselves as playing an important role in an institution whose aim is to see to the care and welfare of patients.”

Said more simply, and succinctly by Simon Sinek in one of Ted’s most watched talks: It’s not about what you do, it’s about why you do it. Successful companies who apply this mantra to their product (as Sinek presents), will also succeed when creating meaningful opportunities for their employees. 

“He handed me a rope and it was up to me whether I would climb it or use it to hang myself."

Amy Poehler, “Yes, Please.”

The rope was Lorne Michaels’ way of providing Amy Poehler with an opportunity to succeed: advice and expectations. Amy knew what she had to do: The Weekend Update. She was challenged by her manager and supported by her team. 

Help your (new) employees climb the rope. Provide them with the tools and resources they need from day one so that you can challenge and support them through the problems that need to be solved everyday thereafter.

“When people know how their work makes a difference, they feel energized to contribute more.”

Adam Grant, “Give and Take”

By connecting (new) employees to the impact that their work has on the company and it’s product/services, you’re allowing the (new) employee to take pride in what they do for the company. 

As a founder, manager, or team lead, you know how each and every action you take affects your company, but have you ever asked your employees what it is that they do to impact your organization?