IMAGINE WINNING. SEE VIVIDLY in your mind’s eye what success looks like—and then let that vision animate your entire team. Tackling challenges on the journey to a common goal is a natural way for team members to come to trust one another. On the other hand, failing to articulate a common dream or a vision of success almost ensures finger-pointing when the inevitable setbacks occur.

At the world-class level, a hairbreadth often separates the gold-medal winner from the runner-up. Many Olympians, even in events that focus on individual performance—sprints, weightlifting, diving—say that trusting teammates and coaches to achieve a common goal accounted in large part for their ability to make the sacrifices required to ...

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