If a team doesn’t reach its potential, the issue is seldom ability. It’s rarely a matter of resources either. It’s almost always a payment issue.
One reason teams fail to pay the price to reach their potential is they misunderstand the Law of the Price Tag. Here are four clarifying facts about the law:
1. The price must be paid by everyone.
You have to give up something to be a member of a team. The team doesn’t quash individual accomplishment. Rather it empowers personal contributions. People who’ve never had the experience of being on a winning team fail to realize that every team member must pay a price. If no one pays the price to win, then everyone will pay the price by losing.
2. The price must be paid all the time.
Many people have what is called “destination disease.” Some people mistakenly believe that if they can accomplish a particular goal, they no longer have to grow. It can happen with almost anything: earning a degree, reaching a desired position or receiving a particular award. But effective leaders cannot afford to think this way. The day they stop growing is the day they forfeit their potential and the potential of their organization.
3. The price increases if the team wants to improve, change, or keep winning.
Have you ever noticed how few back-to-back champions there are in sports? Or how few companies stay at the top of Forbes magazine’s list for a decade? Becoming a champion has a high price; remaining on top costs even more. And improving upon your best is even more costly. The higher you are, the more you have to pay to make even small improvements.
4. The price never decreases.
Most people who quit don’t give up at the bottom of the mountain, they stop halfway up. Nobody sets out with the purpose of losing. The problem is often a misconception that a time will come when success will suddenly get cheaper. But life rarely works that way.
When it comes to the Law of the Price Tag, there are really only two kinds of teams who violate it: those that don’t realize the price of success and those that know the price but are not willing to pay it. No one can force a team member to have the will to succeed. Each member must decide in his or her own heart whether the goal is worth the price that must be paid. But every person ought to know what to expect to pay in order for a team to succeed.
Ultimately, the price tag includes sacrifice, time commitment, personal development and unselfishness.