December 12, 2016

5 Quotes to Inspire Wins at Work


No matter the workplace, everyone has something to offer. Whether it’s finding amicable resolutions to difficult situations or simply going the extra mile to ensure a customer leaves happy, everyone has some talent, specialty, or knowledge their coworkers don’t. Good bosses, like good coaches, know how to draw those talents out of their team members.

A good coach puts out their best team on game day, but they’re also looking ahead to next season. They know that identifying the potential for talent is important, too.

Let’s say two candidates are applying for the same position. They both have an MBA, but one has a few years of prior experience, and the other is fresh out of university. At first glance, the applicant with more experience looks better – but what if the recent graduate had an internship at a top-ranked firm working directly with a top-level executive? What if that executive gave the candidate a glowing recommendation, boasting of the candidate’s enthusiasm, meticulous attendance, and a hidden talent that doesn’t show up on their resume? The comparison between applicants changes considerably.

I would rather have someone who demonstrates a sincere love for the company and the mission than someone who does just enough to check the boxes on their tasks. The hungrier a candidate is for the job, the higher quality work they will produce. This is why being a team player is so vital in the business world: You have to be willing to jump in and take on tasks that might not be spelled out in your job description if you want the team to succeed.

Here are five sports quotes you can use to build your team’s camaraderie and make sure you’ve got a full roster of team players:

1. “It’s pitching, hitting, and defense that wins. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.” – Joe Garagiola

Simply put, you need a full team to be able to play. But for a team to be great, every member of the team needs to put forth their absolute best efforts. The best teams, and the best companies, have no mediocre parts. And when you get those parts together, the most important is called “chemistry.”

2. “When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath

Everyone loves to celebrate a win. But when you lose, everyone hurts. Every pain, every sacrifice, every moment seems like a waste. In business, it is this type of pain that often hurts the most. I don’t like this feeling. Because of how severe the hurt can be, I often remind my team that we, as a group, never want to be enduring that type of feeling.

3. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting it is.” – Arnold Palmer

footballIf there is no will or desire to win, the team will suffer as a whole. Simply going through the motions might get cheap, slim victories, but it could also mean losing funding for a new project. On the other hand, showing desire to take on more responsibilities will lead to more opportunities coming from unexpected places. The bottom line is that if there is no desire to win, there will be little chance for the wins to come. Showing initiative at work brings the team new opportunities for success.

4. “As brilliant an individual that Michael Jordan was, he was not successful until he got with a good team unit.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

No matter how good a superstar employee may seem, nobody can do the entire job by themselves. While one employee might be an amazing innovator, another might be the one to put that innovation into context. It takes a team to make dreams realities. It doesn’t matter whether that team is two people or two hundred – no one player is bigger than the team. Not even Michael Jordan.

5. “There’s always the motivation of wanting to win. Everybody has that. But a champion needs, in his attitude, a motivation above and beyond winning.” – Pat Riley

When my team and I were facing a deadline to launch an update we’d been working on for months (a huge project), the whole team was exhausted. There was a lot of bickering, a lack of attention to detail, and a growing attitude of just settling for what we had. Many of us just wanted to check the box and go home.

I simply could not accept that. We’d spent a huge amount of time, effort, and resources on this project, and I didn’t want the end product to be anything less than superb. I called an emergency lunch meeting, got everyone together, and introduced this quote. I pointed out that no one would care about the amount of work we put in, but they would see the results and judge us based on those.

Within a few days, that quote had motivated us to launch our site update on schedule. It was as if everyone had a change of attitude and heart to achieve this one instance of greatness.

Whether you’re the head coach or simply the one filling the roster, use these quotes to inspire a sense of team spirit across the whole lineup.

Daniel Wesley is currently the chief evangelist at You can find him on LinkedIn. 

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Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur with a passion for inspiring his rock star team. His work has been featured in Forbes, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Fox Small Business, Entrepreneur, and TIME Magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at You can find him on LinkedIn.