Commitment Recognizes Commitment


[ Excerpt from The Power of a Positive Team]

When a team member changes their focus

from ME to WE it has an amazing impact on the team.

Steve Johnson, arguably the best college tennis player of all time, had helped his team win three national tennis championships in a row. He had the opportunity to turn pro and make a few million dollars on the tour. He could have easily left to pursue his own greatness, but Steve was more concerned with the greatness of his team. He decided to stay at the University of Southern California (USC) to help his team win a fourth championship. USC tennis coach Peter Smith told me he still remembers standing on a sandy beach with his team as they looked at the icy cold water of the Pacific. They were about to do a team-building session with former Navy SEALs before the start of the season. When the Navy SEALs arrived, they all wanted to know who Steve Johnson was, and when they found out they walked over to shake his hand. They had heard about his decision to return to the team to help them win a fourth championship. They knew how much money he had given up to do so, and they wanted to meet the man who was so committed to his team.

I got goose bumps when Peter told me this story. Some of the most committed people on the planet, Navy SEALs, recognize and appreciate commitment, and they saw it in Steve’s commitment to his team. In hearing this story, I realized that commitment recognizes commitment. When you live it, you see it in others. I also realized that commitment also fosters commitment, as it did with Steve’s teammates. They knew he was committed to their team and it was Steve’s commitment that inspired an even greater commitment from them.

Steve was only responsible for 35 percent of the team’s points for any given match, so when you look at USC’s four national championships in a row you know that Steve didn’t do it alone. They did it as a committed team. It was Steve’s commitment to his team and their commitment to Steve and each other that lead to their winning a fourth championship.

TAKE ACTION: What does a greater commitment look like in your work and family? How can you show your commitment to your team. How can you and your team commit to each other? Don’t wait for others to commit to you. Decide to commit to them. You be the committed one and watch how it impacts your team’s commitment. 

– Jon

For practical tools to help teams overcome negativity and enhance their culture, communication, connection, commitment and performance… read “The Power of a Positive Team“.