Common Values Create Long-Term Success
The most successful organizations in the world have a set of values that define what is most important to the organization, what drives the decisions in the organization, and what it takes to be successful within that organization. The same holds true in athletics. Programs and teams that have defined the values that their players must aspire to, internalize, and ultimately live every day are far more successful than those that don’t. Here are some examples:
- Kansas State University football, a Big 12 program with a 75% winning percentage since 1993, has 16 core values from "unselfishness" to "no self limitations." (To see a great video representation of each value, click here.
- University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer, winners of 20 NCAA national championships, has 12 core values, including everything from “we don’t whine,” to “when we don’t play as much as we would like we are noble and still support the team and its mission,” to “we choose to be positive.”
- The 2012 British Olympic Team (popularly named “Team GB”) had a set of 5 core values (Performance, Respect, Unity, Responsibility, and Pride) for the Olympic Games that every athlete signed up to. These values were represented by slogans like “Better Never Stops” that were put on athlete clothing and on the walls of Olympic training facilities. Team GB had the best performance in British Olympic history in the 2012 games, with 65 total medals (nearly 20 more than they won in 2008). (Even more impressively, 29 were gold – up from the 1 gold medal they won in the 1996 Olympics).
While core values can be summarized in a word or a short phrase, their meaning is far deeper and more impactful when fully understood. When fully internalized, the "summary" word or phrase is a trigger for a very whole set of impactful thoughts and behaviors.
At PSC, we have divided our values into 2 primary categories: Performance Indicators and Core Values. Performance Indicators involve aspects of on-field performance and actions, while Core Values involve the mentality of individual players, the relationships between players and teams, and the culture of the program.
PSC Performance Indicators
The PSC “Performance Indicators” are the actions that every PSC player must display on the field to be successful within the program. They are very simple to understand, can be accomplished by every player with determination, and are very powerful in their collective application:
1. We Work To Defend. This involves multiple areas – doing the physical work to close space quickly and put players under pressure, having the technical quality and mental courage to tackle with aggression, physicality, and quality, and communicating to players around you regarding defending concepts (“get tighter,” “close,” “step up,” “tackle,” etc.)
2. We Win the Heading Battle. This involves any ball and challenge in the air, but is particularly focused on goal kicks, corner kicks, and balls served into the penalty boxes.
3. We Share the Ball Aggressively. This means that we generally play in 2-3 touches, sharing the ball with each other through quick passing movement. The “aggressive” component indicates that we need to play forward, penetrate, and look to get behind the opponent’s defense.
Reflecting the importance of these Performance Indicators, every team is graded on each of the 3 indicators every game.
PSC Core Values
The PSC “Core Values” describe the mindset of PSC players as it is reflected in their expectations for themselves and their teammates, the relationships between players, and the shared attitudes that characterize players in the club.
1. We Unconditionally Support Each Other: Our actions show that, first and foremost, we care for each other as human beings.
2. We Display Individual Leadership. We are not afraid to express our thoughts and beliefs, to share and chase our dreams, and to take risks in doing so.
3. Our Commitment Is Our Foundation for Success: Our commitment to each other’s success and the team’s success will overcome any obstacle.
4. We Do Something Every Day To Improve Ourselves or Our Team: Whether it be an extra sprint in team fitness, training when no one is watching, providing encouragement to teammates, or making positive life choices, we will do something every day to improve ourselves as soccer players and people.
5. We Work Harder Than Any Team in the Country. Our everyday training environment will be as physically competitive and as mentally demanding as our most challenging games.
6. We Are Accountable For Our Actions: We accept responsibility for own actions and hold each other accountable for our choices.
Together, the Performance Indicators and the Core Values provide the foundation for long-term success for players and teams, and are the key ingredients in developing and maintaining a high performance culture.