[Podcast] Successful Teams Have Pride in Their Organization


Duration 33:05


A successful team is built upon a culture that instills pride in each team member. Leaders must deliberately create the culture by developing the team imperative and principles. In this episode, Thor sits down with the founder and CEO of Afterburner, Jim “Murph” Murphy to discuss how a team can create a culture of success.

[Below is a transcript of the episode.]

Deliberately Create Your Culture

Thor: In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how you build a team and a mission to be proud of. How do you start to deliberately create the culture that you need to succeed? And then how do you inspire a corporate imperative, something that drives your team, something that lives in the ethos of your organization, something that team members are willing to put forth their blood, sweat, toil and tears to see come true?

Thor: On June 25th, 1995, I was 18 years old, freshly graduated from high school a couple of weeks prior to that and I arrived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was my first time ever in Colorado, left from my home in Olympia, Washington. And as soon as I arrived in Colorado Springs and got on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy, they took me aside and shaved my head and put me into Beast Barracks. That’s what they called basic training. And for the next 10 weeks in the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year at the Air Force Academy, I spent that time as a basic cadet trainee. And the entire reason they did that is because they wanted to break me down as an individual, to take away any of the other defining characteristics I may have had in my past and on the teams that I had been a part of prior to attending the Air Force Academy, and they wanted to build me back up. And so over those 10 weeks, they taught me about the Air Force ethos. I got assimilated into the new culture that I was going to be a part of and I learned about the principles of the team that I was joining.

Thor: And at the end of that timeframe, I attended the Air Force Academy and because I was now a part of this new team and a part of this new culture and had these new principles and values that I was adhering to, it allowed me to do some amazing things, some things that I could never have done by myself. I know that for sure. One of the things that I did, while I was at school is, we went through jump training, so we jumped out of airplanes five different times. I was just 20 years old, the summer of my sophomore year. They put us out in survival training, where they give you a rabbit and nothing else to eat, and you’re out there for seven or eight days in the middle of the woods, and you learn how to navigate on that scenario.

Thor: And then after I graduated from the Air Force Academy, that same system, that same culture, that same team ethos allowed me to make it through pilot training and F-15 training and I finally found myself flying aircraft, supersonic, faster than the speed of sound and traversing 30,000 feet at a time, going from 50,000 feet down to 20,000 feet through the clouds with 10 of my closest friends as we’re enacting some training scenarios in fighter aircraft. So certainly some things that I never thought I would personally be capable of, but because the system had created the culture and the team that allowed me to be a part of this, it was a pull scenario. In other words, I wasn’t pushed into these environments, I was pulled by the existing system around me.

Thor: Now, we’re gonna talk about how you create that today, and how you can do that for your corporation, how you can do that for other teams that you’re a part of, and today we’re joined by Jim Murphy. Jim Murphy is our CEO at Afterburner. He has been the CEO since the company was found 21 years ago. And for those 21 years, the company Afterburner has been in front of more than 3,000 organizations. We’ve talked to about a million and a half people during that timeframe and he personally has been in front of hundreds of thousands of people in those 21 years. And he’s got a lot of experience in different successful teams and we’re gonna hear that from him today. So Murph, why don’t you talk a little bit about your experience on the elite teams you’ve been a part of?

Jim Murphy: I was lucky enough to be a college athlete, I went to college on a baseball scholarship. So, many of you have been on great teams and if you think back to maybe even some of the times, maybe you were playing ball in high school, whether you were a good or a great team had a lot to do with the purpose of the organization and the coach. Great teams and great coaches instill not only individual confidence but team confidence and pride. I was part of both good and bad teams, played for good coaches and bad coaches, so I started to get a taste of that. But the whole reason we started Afterburner was this exact ethos that you’re talking about. Because I went from graduating from the University of Kentucky and worked in corporate America for a couple of years in sales and met a fighter pilot and very quickly decided that that’s what I wanted to do.

JM: And it’s a fairly long story, but long story short, I found myself 16 months later, going from farm boy, copier salesman in central Kentucky to flying one of the most sophisticated jets on earth, the F-15. And when I was solo on the F-15 in just 16 months, it occurred to me, how in the world did somebody like me get in this seat? And it wasn’t because of me, it was because of the ethos, the team, the principles that I was part of. It was the esprit de corps. I was surrounded by a diverse inclusive team and we were all doing things that we couldn’t believe we were doing, especially on our own. But as this team, we were doing great things. So that was really the thing that got Afterburner started in the first place.

Thor: Now, somebody out there is saying, “Well, that’s a great story, and you went out and flew airplanes after that. But I know there’s a lot of checklists involved with that, and there’s a lot of rigor and discipline behind the scenes, and you were a great baseball player, but that really comes down to practice and just working hard at it. So what’s all this talk about inspiration and ethos and principles, isn’t that just the fluffy, touchy, feely stuff that we can do without?” How do you think that fits into a strong team?

Alignment is Key

JM: Well, I think it fits into a strong team in many ways, but the two biggest ways are getting a group of individuals aligned. And that alignment is key. That’s the X-factor. That’s what creates championships teams instead of a group of champions, it’s a championship team. And the other part is, really, about the purpose of the organization and the organization itself rising above and doing something that not everybody thinks it can do. So if you think about what’s going on in today’s economy or, more importantly, in the disruptions that are going on and the complexity of business today, teams are finding themselves having to reinvent and create a new purpose much more frequently than they have in the past, just due to the complexity in the marketplace. So if you look at the great companies that have not only survived, but thrived, it’s because they’ve been able to pivot, repurpose the organization and keep that pride, that sense of purpose that drives the efficiencies that are required today, because whatever you were doing yesterday may not necessarily do the things that you need to do to go forward.

Thor: So, when you were a ballplayer, how did that connect, how did this sense of purpose connect to your dreams of being a major league player one day?

JM: Well, that purpose, having that imperative… But that goal, we call that now an HDD, a High Definition Destination, as an individual, that’s the things that allowed me to work harder than normal, and not do the things that all my friends were doing, and stay on track as an individual athlete. But, I think about teams, and I was only on a few really great teams, and what was really cool is, I went back to my alma mater last year, at the University of Kentucky, and we have a brand new baseball coach. And, since I played, we’ve only had maybe three or four coaches in that timeframe, so most of the coaches at the University of Kentucky had been in place for a long time. And we never really had a winning culture up there. We play in the SCC, tough conference. But this coach came in in his first year and we were one game out from making it to the College World Series. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but that’s the first time ever.

JM: That has never been done at the University of Kentucky, so how did this coach come in, it wasn’t even his recruiting class, get that team together, and have such a high-level sense of purpose, that they went much further than any Kentucky team in the past? And I asked that coach that question and spent some time with him, and basically, on day one, when he met his brand new players, he started talking about going to Omaha, and that’s where they play the College World Series.

JM: Now, the word “Omaha” and the University of Kentucky program has never really been mentioned in the same sentence in the past, but he ended every text message, every email, every meeting, every practice with “Omaha”. As a matter of fact, he took it so far, that every week the team would practice the dog pile is what they call it in baseball when the players all rush out onto the field and make a big pile at the pitcher’s mound, they call it the dog pile. They actually practiced their Omaha dogpile, and they did it once a week, so they celebrated success in its finished state. And I thought that really drove a lot of purposes, not only on the team but the Big Blue Nation that supported the baseball program.

Thor: And so here you have this team that really wasn’t supposed to go anywhere, nobody had talked about them in terms of winning the World Series, and a lot of people are just impressed that Kentucky has colleges at this point, let alone has gone for this big opportunity, and here comes this coach who says, “Not only are we gonna do well this year, but we’re gonna go to Omaha, we’re gonna go the World Series.” You gotta imagine he had some detractors on the team and some folks that, even in the community, that were saying, “Yeah, sure, sure thing, coach, this is a rebuilding year, you’re just showing up, you better figure out quickly what you’re really capable of.”

Thor: But slowly, over time, he was able to win them over ’cause he continued to hammer this point home, that we are a championship team, and this is how we’re gonna build it and make sure you got the commitment, the buy-in, and as you said, Murph, the alignment behind the scenes to actually make this happen.

Thor: Well, that’s exciting. So we see this take place in the business world as well, and I could give you countless examples from the military, of how I was pulled by a higher calling than me to do something I never thought I was capable of doing. But I’ve also seen the other side of that coin, where teams don’t have a strong definition of what success could be, and I’m reminded of a company that we sat down with, and you and I were with them last year, Murph, I don’t know if you remember this story. I won’t mention the name of the company, but they do about $12 billion in annual revenue, and they’re doing really well, they’re chugging along, and I sat with the CEO, and I said, “We have to figure out what your imperative is. We have to figure out what is the reason for existence for this team? What is your purpose? I want you to describe to me, in detail, what the success of the future looks like. Why should I join this team? Sell me on what you’re building with this organization for the future.”

Thor: I’ll never forget this. CEO sits there and he thinks about it, and he thought about it for a good minute, and then he said, “We are going to improve our NOI by 4%.” And for those of you who don’t know, NOI is Net Operating Income. And so, he told me, “We’re gonna improve our Net Operating Income by 4% over the next three years.” And I said, “Sir, no offense, but I would never work for you. I am not, and nor will anyone ever put forth all of their effort and give you all their dedication to move a number. You’ve gotta come up with something way better than just turning your Net Operating Income into a number that’s four percentage points higher in three years. You gotta imagine that these teams are gonna run into challenges, run into roadblocks, and it’s the inspired alignment and the motivation that you’re establishing through this purpose that they’re gonna have to rely on at that point. And if you’re just selling them on moving a number, well, at some point, they’re gonna say, ‘Who the heck cares about that? I’m gonna go back to some other thing pulling at me. I’m task saturated, I got 20 other things I could do, and I’m gonna move in another direction.'” Have you seen that in other examples, Murph? I’m sure you have 20 of them.

JM: Absolutely, that… A lot of publicly traded companies obviously are chasing those quarterly numbers. So CEOs have a really hard time looking outside a half or even a year because they’re so measured on these tactical measures, these quarterly measures. So working with CEOs, we constantly have to get them to push as far out into the future as they can. It’s very uncomfortable for them. I think back to that University of Kentucky, example, you know the new coach didn’t come in and say, “Well, it’s my first year. Let’s just have a winning season.”

JM: By the way, Kentucky didn’t have a lot of those winning seasons over the last 30 years, or he could have said, “Let’s really shoot for the moon. We’re gonna win the SCC. We’ve only done that once in the last 30 years.” But that’s not what he said. He didn’t say, “Let’s win the SCC and let’s win our regional and maybe a super regional.” He said, “No, we’re gonna win it all. We’re gonna dog pile. We’re gonna win the College World Series.” And that’s where he started. Now, he pushed his team, his alum, his resources, the University Kentucky Blue Nation that’s around that whole program, much further than they’ve ever gone before. And nope, they fell short. They didn’t make the College World Series, but they got very, very close and you think about what that coach did to the confidence level of the individual players, the alum, and we’re building a brand new stadium now, and we’re getting better recruits, and we did that in one season. Just one year.

Thor: And we dealt with a tech company recently where we were helping out a vertical, it was about 1.5 billion of their current revenue, and we sat down with their leader, and we tried to map out an aspirational goal with them and talk about what could be in the future. I remember he really resisted it, and it reminds me of this story you’re talking about the coach ’cause his fallback goal could easily have just been, “Let’s have a winning season. Let’s win the SCC. Let’s do something where at least I can get credit for saying, ‘I’m gonna do something and then accomplishing it, and having that simple, that goal that we can say with reasonable certainty that we’re going to make it happen.'” And yet, because he set his sights on something that was far more aspirational, he was able to push the team further, but that takes a leader who has the boldness and the audacity and the courage to actually lay out a plan that’s going to be challenging, and he’s gonna push the team outside of their comfort zone where the growth takes place.

JM: You know another thing, you go back to our military examples, right? Our best commanders would not talk about an individual conflict and, “Let’s go win one for the Gipper,” so to speak. They had much larger HDDs that they talked to us about. They always started with the why. And we had to have ultimate buy-in, especially in the military, I’m talking ultimate buy-in in everything that we’re doing. And if you really think about the diversity and the inclusiveness of teams in the military, that purpose is so critical. And when we see corporate America today, with the complexity that’s going on, the human capital challenges we have, there’s lots of turnover at the C suite, the executive VP level, the ripple effects that we have. When a new leadership team is established, they don’t have much time to drive ROI, they don’t have much time to build purpose that equates to efficiency and the productivities that will take them to the next level. So this is just a critical thing, and most people don’t start with that. They start in a very tactical manner. Let’s win the next game, let’s have a winning season.

Thor: Yeah, you’re exactly right. It’s really hard to get people out of their quarterly mindset, out of their short-term focus, “I gotta get the next sale accomplished. I can’t look this far down the road. We gotta make sure… ” They’re basically in the middle of a fire fight right now and they can never pull their heads up to see the horizon, and yet, that’s the most important thing that they could do in that example. But there’s somebody out there listening that’s saying, “Yeah, but you’re just talking about stretch goals, right?” Is this the equivalent of telling people to run a five-second 100-meter dash knowing that they’ll never be able to get there and just trying to push them to something, into a nine-second 100-meter dash? How do you define a stretch goal? How do you define your HDD so it’s aspirational, and yet, your team actually has a chance of getting there?

Collaboration – Build It Together

JM: Well, I think the key is collaboration, and I think that you have to build it together. It certainly takes a leader to be bold and to start talking about what could happen, and create that why. But you really, really need the team to participate. So the team needs to be involved, we call it open planning, obviously. Team storming here at Afterburner. But good leaders will ensure that they have enough leaders and team members around them, that when they build a new purpose, it is our purpose. It’s not handed down from above, and I think that’s just a critical step.

Thor: Yeah. And I remember, a lot of times a company will come to us and say, “Yeah, but it’s easy to create a strong, compelling story behind your guys’ brand, you’re fighter pilots, you’re flying faster than the speed of sound, you’re doing these heroics, you’re going upside down and you’re flying with 10 other aircraft at a time. Of course, you can create an exciting story behind that. They make Hollywood movies about that. How do you turn our job into something that’s exciting?” And the story I always fall back on, I was so inspired by this, I’ve told it multiple times in front of other clients, is that when we were up at Nike, and we were working with the Nike Jordan team, and we had the CEO Larry Miller with us, and he was leading his senior Vice Presidents through an event. They were planning on opening a store in Chicago, and they’re really excited about where this was going and what the next steps were gonna be for this group.

Thor: And as they were doing this, they just had such a strong sense of passion and alignment for this project and I was sitting in the background and I kinda elbowed the person next to me and I said, “I love working with this group. Nike is such an interesting brand, and it’s so exciting, because every time I work with you, you’re just so passionate about what you do.” And this individual looks around and he makes sure nobody’s listening, and then he says, “Well, Thor, we gotta be passionate about what we do. We gotta remember why we’re doing this, because if we ever forget why we’re doing this, we’ll realize that what we’re doing is just selling sneakers and t-shirts.” And it dawned on me, there’s nothing inherently cool about working at Nike. There’s nothing inherently sexy about their brand. The fact that they started with a clear purpose, a clear culture and a clear definition of where they wanted to go as an organization.

Thor: If you listen to their imperative, it’s about bringing out the athlete in everyone. They didn’t say, “We’re gonna put sneakers and t-shirts on everyone,” they said, “We wanna bring out the athlete.” That’s a much more exciting calling. And so, they were able to take something that’s as benign and trivial as selling clothes and turned that into this exciting brand that everybody wants to be a part of and talk about, because they started with that culture first. And so, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing as a company, you can always find something to attach it to to make it exciting for the team members that are gonna be participating in it. Have you seen that same thing take place, Murph, with the companies that we’ve helped out?

JM: I love the Nike story and everybody can align to that and appreciate that, but I’d love to ask our listeners, how many of you are in sales? Ultimately, if you’re in business we’re all in sales, no matter where we are. But I think about the time that I’ve been sold the best, think about when you were really sold. Did that salesperson really talk to you about maybe it’s the end of the month they’re trying to close the deal and you can get a great deal. This is the right time to buy. Or did they inspire and compel you, because the product or service was going to help you get to that next goal, was gonna help you fulfill your HDD, because they spent the time, the discovery time to figure out what your purpose was all about, and they backed into that. And I just feel like even though that sounds so simple, it’s missed in most organizations that I would say we work with at Afterburner.

Thor: Yeah, ’cause they wanna focus on the transactional part. It’s human nature to wanna get the deal done quickly and to focus on, “What’s it gonna take to put you in this car today,” kinda conversation, when in reality, we should be starting with the intended effect, to begin with the end in mind and instead of talking about how do we meet this quarter’s numbers, talk about what type of company, what type of team, what type of brand do we wanna have in three years. And based off of that destination, what does that imply we need to do today? ‘Cause it also helps us to have stronger focus, alignment and commitment to the critical few things that we can take on right now.

Disciplined Execution

JM: And let’s get tactical for a minute. It’s not enough to have a bunch of great slogans on the walls in your building to remind people what the purpose is. It’s also to have rigor and discipline around this as well, and that starts with the leaders, the supervisors, and everybody starting meetings reflecting on the why, reflecting on the purpose and taking one small aspect of what they’re doing today and connecting it to that. I remember every mission that we flew as an F-15 pilot, yes, we had tactical training objectives, we had individual objectives, we had technology that we were gonna test, there were a lot of things that were going in our individual missions, but every briefing was grounded around a scenario, and these were somewhat realistic scenarios based on maybe the political situations that were going on around the world at the time, where we were likely to be called into action. Why did we always start every tactical mission with a scenario like that? Because that’s the why. That’s the compelling reason on why we might deploy halfway across the world, put ourselves in harm’s way for something much more than a tactical mission.

Thor: Yeah. And once you build that why, you hit on something important, you can’t just have the slogan, you can’t just have the bumper sticker, and I don’t know what happened at Kentucky during this season and last year, when they were so successful, but you gotta imagine at some point, the coach had to call the team to task, because it wasn’t just enough to say, #Omaha, go and do the dogpile practice. At some point, he had to say, “Two of you were late today, and we said that we’re going to Omaha, and if that’s really where you’re going, you can never be late. If that’s really where you’re going, you’re not out drinking on Saturday night. If that’s really where you’re going, then we need to live, eat, breathe baseball, be immersed and obsessive about it, and all be aligned to that common goal.”

JM: You nailed it. It goes much deeper than that for those guys, but that’s absolutely right. So it’s that disciplined rigor that flows out of those great purposeful meanings that we’re talking about. I saw that example here at Afterburner just, what, last week. We were behind our monthly quota, our sales team was, and our quarterly quota, by a pretty large number, and we were down to the last day, which was Friday. And I saw our team just do some phenomenal things. They rallied, they did the impossible, and I think they were doing it not because they wanted to enrich themselves individually, I.e., hit bonus numbers or quotas, but I truly saw not only the sales team rally, but they got the entire company to rally around that mission.

Thor: One team.

JM: It was. It was just phenomenal.

Thor: And that’s one of our principles, we’ll talk about that in a moment, that you have to have specific principles and define those and make those unique to your organization. And one of our principles is one team. We pursue every single one of our goals as one team at Afterburner, and I think that’s one of the key reasons that we are successful as an organization. And you hit on another thing I wanted to tap into and that is creating a compelling why that doesn’t just get you across the goal line at the end of a quarter, but sustains you throughout the rest of the timeframe.

Thor: We were talking to a business leader two weeks ago and he’s got about a $2 billion vertical worth in a tech company and he’s working with a product and a technology that is plateauing. They have a strong percent of the market share, the largest market share in the industry, but they don’t see how they’re gonna push things to the next level right now, and this person said, “I just gotta get this team to give it one more push for the company, I just gotta get them to hold sales right where they’re at or maybe work really hard and get it to that 2% more of market share and that would just be so great to see one more quarter and that happen.” And I’m thinking about this and how that message is gonna be received by his team. And he’s basically saying, “I need to push you to work even harder than you worked last time, for about the same results, maybe a little bit more than we’ve had in the past.”

Thor: And I thought to myself once again, “That is not a team that I would wanna be a part of.” And here’s the reason, he’s pushing them based on a tactical short-termed focused goal, instead of pulling them based on a long-term exciting, inspiring destination. We don’t have to settle for the fact that the market share is whatever percentage they’re at, we can create a future where we’re double that and talk about how we would get there and what things would have to take place for those aspirational goals to actually occur and start putting those wheels in motion, instead of just saying, “Work harder to get the same results, work harder to get a little bit more results.” That’s the opposite of scaling. The definition of scaling is the same amount of work to get more results. And in that case, we need to figure out what are those critical leverage points that will have the greatest impact with the least amount of effort. He never had that discussion, he just said, “How do we continue doing what we’re doing but do it more to get that same result?”

JM: Yeah. I think I would leave everybody with one tip in that area and that is, we talk a lot about why today but really what we’re talking about in Afterburner, in Flawless Execution, is the HDD. And the HDD is not a single statement, it has context, it has details, that’s why we call it the HDD, the High Definition Destination. So the high def part is how real can you make it for your team? It’s not a single objective, it has multi-dimensions, so people can see where they fit. So it’s really important that when you do get the team together that you define this purpose, this destination with as much context as possible. That will help your team target most effectively those critical leverage points and the things that they will need to go plan at that point because now we have a shared consciousness as an organization, a shared purpose. And certainly I may only pull one lever within that purpose to get there, but now I know what my part is and what’s expected out of me from the rest of the team and guess what? They understand what my part is as well and they’re gonna help me ensure that I do my part.

Imperative and Principles

Thor: So you got transparency, accountability, buy-in, commitment to a long-term destination, that’s the team I wanna be a part of for the long haul. So here is the call to action, here’s what we recommend you do to start down this path. We’re gonna do another Thorcast in the future where we talk about building out your HDD, but there’s a lot of elements to that. So here’s how you can get started right now. You create two things, your imperative and your principles. Your imperative is a statement that defines why you exist as a team. At Afterburner our imperative, our purpose is to accelerate individual, team and organizational performance. If we’re doing something that doesn’t impact that imperative then we probably shouldn’t be doing it. That’s what we live to do. So create that sense of why, that one-sentence statement, we put it on the front of business cards, we share it internally, we start off every meeting reciting it to remind ourselves what we stand for and what we do as a team.

Thor: Next, create your principles, those behaviors that make you unique, what type of culture do you want to build? Describe the culture of the future, the behaviors of the future, the principles of the future that you wanna have. And some of those may include your existing cultural aspects, but I also want you to think about those cultural aspects that you wanna morph into and that you wanna grow over time. So for example, at Afterburner, one of our principles is that we are lifetime learners and master instructors.

Thor: Lifetime learners means we operate in a very agile, dynamic environment, the market’s moving extremely fast, the rate of change is increasing as we speak in the marketplace, and so we need team members that are able to stay ahead of that rate of change and are constantly looking for the next material to read and the next place to learn and get better at their craft. But they’re not only the lifetime learners, they have to be master instructors that can simplify the complex, simplicity beats complexity. The best fighter pilots I ever flew with would say, “Here are the three things I want you to do today, here’s the rule of thumb I want you to use in your flight today.” And if we can take the complex scenario of flying three dimensions, going faster than the speed of sound with multiple aircraft at the same time, and take that dogfight and simplify it and take out the noise and talk about the very few things we can focus on, you can certainly do that for your business scenario.

Thor: So define your imperative, why you exist, and tell me about the principles that are gonna define your culture of the future. Resist the temptation to say, “We’re gonna have strong integrity in our culture.” Well, no kidding, everybody should. That’s a price of admission characteristic. “We’re gonna be compassionate,” same thing, we know that already, tell me why you’re different, tell me the things that make you unique in that environment. If you’re working for Zappos, then you’re fanatics about your customer service, if you’re in investment banking, you are not fanatics about your customer service, you’re more about being a meritocracy and about creating a dog-eat-dog environment, and both cultures will appeal to different people.

Thor: The whole point is that you’re deliberately creating the culture, not for everyone, but for the select group that’s gonna come along with for this journey. And so you start to weed your own garden once you create these principles and you say what you wanna be in the future. People will show up and say, “Hey, that’s me. I love it. I’ve been waiting for a place like this,” and they’ll join your team or they’ll save you the trouble of bringing them on board and figuring out that they’re the wrong fit because they’ll see that you’ve already clearly defined your principles and they’ll see it’s not what they’re looking for and they’ll move on. It’s the best thing that can take place at that point. Murph, any closing thoughts for how to help these teams build up better imperative or principles?

JM: Well, once your teams build up that imperative, that why, accelerating individual team and organizational performance, like you said, Thor, for us, and the principles that are required to get there in a certain amount of time, i.e., to ensure that the future becomes a reality. Notice how the principles aren’t the principles we have, they’re the ones required, they’re pulling the organization towards that imperative. And we may not have lifelong learners and master instructors on our team right now, well, guess what, we may have to change. We might actually have to make changes in our own human capital if people who aren’t willing to shift, to pivot, to that all-important imperative or that principle. So it’s the principle required to achieve that future, HDD, that destination.

Thor: And once you’ve defined it, disseminate it, communicate it, put it on the front of business cards, put in on posters around your office. We have a tech company that’s a global company that put it in each one of their regions across the globe and it’s in eight different locations and they actually take a picture by their High Definition Destination so that they own it, ’cause they all built it and they have their fingerprints on it as individuals. We disseminate that and then we hold team members accountable to it. When you hire new folks, you assess them based on your principles. When you’re giving somebody feedback, you’re giving that feedback based on your internal principles. When you talk about whether or not somebody did the right thing, you bring it back to the imperative. We start every meeting reciting that imperative.

Thor: You can create the culture for success. You can create the winning team. Sometimes it is as simple as saying hashtag Omaha and then practicing doing the dog pile at the end of the College World Series and showing the team that it can be done to create that belief and that commitment and that buy-in and alignment to something bigger than themselves.