Atmosphere is a critical ingredient to the success of any organization. Whether the goal is business success, sports success, or family success, the atmosphere that is created within the group will be a major force in the direction of the group. Having played multiple roles in many different groups over my lifetime, I have seen this first hand. This article will address three key points in creating a winning atmosphere for your team.

Set Expectations

In college, our post-practice conditioning for football was something called "perfect quarters." Each quarter consisted of 20 perfect reps of up-downs on a whistle. Everyone had to drop on the whistle and be back up before the next whistle. Then we would have five perfect 20-yard sprints in which we would have to place our foot on the line when commanded and sprint on the whistle. Anyone whose foot was behind or in front of the line, anyone who didn’t start on the whistle, anyone who didn’t sprint full speed, and anyone who didn’t sprint all the way through the line was called out and that rep wouldn’t count for their entire group. As you can imagine, we rarely got away with just 20 reps of up-downs and five sprints (I’m pretty sure I recall doing something like 30 sprints or so our first time).

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As much as I would love to suppress that memory, it does a good job of showing the importance of setting expectations. Expectations let people know the standard they will be judged against. We knew what was expected of us and the consequences if we succeeded and the consequences if we failed. Did it suck having to constantly redo all those sprints? Hell yes it did, but we didn’t get upset at our coaches; we got upset at our teammates. This forced everyone on the team to make sure they were giving everything they had to meet the expectations set forth by the coaches. In order to succeed, we had to come together as a team and meet the expectations of our leader or we would fail until we learned how to. That year we ended up having the number one defense in the country.

team environment

Fuel the Fire

Once expectations have been set and motivation has risen up to meet those expectations, continue to fuel that fire. Here's another example from college football: We had stat boards for every player and every unit for every game. We had certain expectations for average yards per carry, pass completions allowed, average punt hang time, etc. Each player got graded and given points based on their performance and every one was expected to hit a certain amount of points. Whenever a unit or an individual did well, they were rewarded. When we as a team did well, we were rewarded.

Through competition, recognition, and reward, continuing to reinforce and encourage the expectations that you set forth is vital. If you’re part of a sports team, try giving out special shirts for certain achievements (player of the week). If you’re a business, try keeping a track sheet of your sales people and let them know where they fall in relation to one another. Give a reward if a certain closing rate is reached or if your shipping and handling department meets a certain turnaround speed. If you’re in a marriage, do something special for your spouse if they put their dishes away or put the toilet seat down. Whatever your method, continue to fuel their desire to meet those standards. 

Don’t Take Your Foot off the Gas

As you gain momentum, continue to set new expectations. Don’t let complacency keep you from continuing to grow. Continue to set new goals, new expectations, and develop new strategies to get you there. The same principle applies for other units with the goal of success. This step can be taken straight from the world of iron sports. If you set expectations to reach an elite total, you wouldnt stop training after reaching it, would you? Of course not! You would set new goals for yourself. Great lifters, great businesses, and great teams get to where they are by continuing to raise their standards. Over time this winning attitude takes over and anyone can feel it when they walk through the door.

At NBS Fitness, we take our atmosphere seriously and so should you. Use these three steps to continue to build your atmosphere. Whether it’s a training group, sales team, or family, make sure you set expectations, continue to fuel that fire, and don’t take your foot off the gas.