Watching sporting teams and their pursuit of the premiership is fascinating. They work very hard for years before the ultimate success of a premiership follows.
Once the premiership is won, there appears to be more relief from the team than anything else. They have worked so hard, there has been plenty of pressure put on them combined with enormous sacrifices made which makes the ultimate destination one that is driven by a feeling of relief and then satisfaction.
What intrigues me though is how hard it is to stay at the top year after year. That is, consistently stay in finals, win regular or back to back premierships regardless of the league or sport. There appears to be a belief that other teams get better and catch up to the winner from the year before. Even though, there is an element of truth in this, I suspect that the underlying cause is the losing of the hunger that you had leading up to the premiership win. That is, you move from relentless hunger driving players to satisfaction being gained from the year before.
It seems harder to maintain the hunger year after year. The really special teams and coaches that maintain it are in rare air. They never seem satisfied with one win, rather, they push their players and their self and really focus on the intrinsic motivation of pursuing excellence to get better every day, every week and every year. There is no doubt that the premiership is the goal but I would argue that being better than they were yesterday is the true motivation for the great teams as the premierships will then look after themselves.
The same can be said for organisations. Are we looking to continuously improve? What new technology can make us better? What can we automate? What new product can we provide to our customers? How can we grow our staff to develop and learn new skills?
Maintaining this hunger is hard if you are not chasing premierships. That is, a lofty goal like this helps you to aspire and unite the team. But I would argue that if you are intrinsically motivated, this should not matter. The want to improve yourself, your team members and your organisation should be motivation enough without a trophy at the end of it. Maintaining the hunger is the key. Stay hungry, remain focussed and improve not because someone wants you to. Improve because you gain satisfaction from getting better every day. Watch those premiership results follow.