In the last decade, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has made ten straight Final Four appearances and taken home six titles (including an NCAA unprecedented four in a row). But head coach Geno Auriemma doesn’t look for or reward individual superstars. He evaluates the players based on their contributions to the team. No matter how great a player may be, if their play proves they’re out for themselves at the expense of the team, they won’t get in the game. In fact, Geno expects players to contribute even while on the bench. As he relayed in this interview:
“I’d rather lose than watch kids play the way some kids play…They’re always thinking about themselves. Me, me, me, me. I didn’t score, so why should I be happy? I’m not getting enough minutes, why should I be happy? So when I watch game film, I’m checking what’s going on on the bench. If somebody is asleep over there, if somebody doesn’t care, if somebody’s not engaged in the game, they will never get in the game. Ever.”
There’s a growing body of research proving that those who reach the highest levels of success, from athletics to business to science, are those who make contributions to their respective teams, who care more about the goals of the group than they do their own individual aspirations. The more people you help reach their goals, the more likely you are to achieve yours.
Best of all, this isn’t a strategy reserved for superstars. You can employ it no matter what team you’re on, athletic or otherwise.