“I want winners. I want people who want to win.” Mike Singletary
Early in Michael Jordan's career, Jerry Kraus, the newly hired general manager sat down with Jordan to discuss the current roster. Of the twelve players that was currently on the roster, Kraus wanted only three. He believed these three players were the core of the team. They also fit the new system of play, Tex Winter's triangle offense.
As he began the discussions with Jordan, Kraus emphasized, "I believe you have a chance to be a great player. I'm going to try to get players around you who to work with you."
Jordan said emphatically, "No...don't get players who can work with me, get players we can win with."
With regards to just about anything in life, but especially sports, there aren't too many characteristics that are more important than competitive fire or a burning desire to win.
Jordan knew this at a young age, as he was one of the most well-documented competitors of all time.
Early in my career, I was training a CEO of a fortune 500 company. I asked him, "When you hire someone, what do you look for?"
His answer was, "Character, over-average intelligence, and a burning desire to win.
This list has stuck with me since and is a guideline I've used in trying to place people around me.
Like Jerry Kraus, I've gone the route of finding people to compliment what I did well. And they did. The mistake was when I found these people, but they had no "juice." They had no fire their belly. They were complimentary, but not competitive. They did not possess that burning desire to win.
I have learned you cannot motivate the unmotivated. Instead, find those who are motivated and feed that drive.
Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is." Michael Jordan found these players and won six NBA championships. His relentless drive to win attracted and pushed the players around him to greatness.
Never underestimate a competitive spirit. It's the number one collective quality every team needs.