The photo below is picture I took from the Indiana girls high school semi-state cross country team. Westfield girls are the only past state champions (ever) at the high school and this is a big reason why. These girls below aren’t “bonding”. They are bonded. At the numerous cross country meets that I’ve been to, only Westfield is doing this. Following each race you will see these girls headed back to their tent (in background) arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand.
In running, there is such an enormous amount of pain to deal with, the teams that can endure the most pain during the race, during the hard workouts, and the weekly mileage with great discipline, are what it takes to be great. And you must do it together. Not alone.
The Westfield squad knows that every girl is all-in, every race. And certain of that, not just hopeful. They can trust that the rest of their teammates are laying out every ounce that day. And that’s what brings them as close as this image shouts so loudly.
Success is often driven by having a purpose larger than individual pursuit. In cross country it’s the team that you are normally running for. Not yourself. As you know, team’s working for a common goal are stronger than individual effort. [The team above did not win state title, but finished once again in the top 10. A perennial power. ]
At the America’s Best Hope conference in November a friend of mine Jeff Simmons (President – Elanco) was presenting that once he determined that Elanco was in the hunger business (a higher purpose), their growth really took off. They are a $1 billion Indy-based company.
No Weak Links
Success depends on the combined effort of the team. Each race, in high school cross country you run 7 runners (per school). The top 5 runners for your team are the ones that count. If your lead runners a amazingly strong but your other teammates are weak, you will lose.
With your organization, you need to make sure all phases of the game are being done well (i.e., communications, follow ups, fundraising, web and social presence).
“Run in such a way as to get the prize.”