I am a Colts season ticket holder and my beloved Colts opened up their season two Sundays ago. Andrew Luck was back on the field and there was an extra energy in the air as the game began. The first half went well and the Colts went into halftime with a lead. They continued into the third quarter fairly strong, but unfortunately, the game did not end with a victory. During the fourth quarter and while leaving the game, I noticed something interesting from the fans I was sitting around and those I passed on my walk back to the car.
During the pre-game and while the Colts were winning, most sentences started with We. The fans and the Colts were one. We are playing great. We are making great plays. We are going to have a great season. But, as the momentum began to shift away from the Colts during the final quarter and after finally after the loss, the pronoun used at the start of the sentence began to change. They are making too many mistakes. They cannot get anything going. They cannot stop them on third down.
This simple shift in pronoun is a small but interesting change in mentality. When things are going well, it is easy to jump on board and enjoy the good times. But, when the tides turn, we tend to distance ourselves from the difficult times. Our mentality, our connection, shifts from WE to THEY.
WE indicates ownership. It is easy to own your piece of something great. It is enjoyable to share how you were part of the win. Even when we may not be directly part of what is going well, we have a desire to be part of the victory.
THEY, on the other hand, places blame and shifts the responsibility. It is difficult to admit mistakes. It is not pleasant to share how your actions led to the loss. Even when we may have been the reason for the loss, we typically struggle to take ownership for the mishaps, and struggle to own the defeat.
Ownership means we take responsibility with the good and the bad. Ownership means we see everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. No blame, no shame, but also no excuses. Our behaviors, our actions, lead to outcomes…good or bad. If you are part of a team, there should only be a we.
If we celebrate together, then we also need to struggle together. Look at your team this week, whether that is a classroom of students, a group of teachers, a club you sponsor, or a team you coach. Do you treat every moment with “WE” behavior, or is there blame to place when things may not go your way? Try treating all interactions with that group this week with “WE” behavior and see how it impacts your work. Do not be that fickle fan, take ownership for everything you do this week, and help those around you do the same.
Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing!