At a key game in a sixth-grade girls’ volleyball tournament this spring, my players let me down.

“You can’t win ‘em all, coach,” one of the player’s father’s told me afterwards. I was devastated, but because this was a double-elimination tournament, we would be given another chance the next day. That particular loss, however, put us in an almost impossible situation: My team would have to play three matches, winning the best of three games in each match, in order to win the championship.

A good part of this story centers on the players themselves. At practices, they were unruly. They never listened; they fell on the floor laughing at each others’ mistakes. They were too lazy to chase after balls that landed in the far corners of the gym. At games they arrived late; they forgot their kneepads. They never remembered their positions in the lineup. But they were athletic and they were learning to be competitive. They had potential. (Do any of these characteristics describe your work team?)

Towards the end of the regular season, just before the tournament had started, one of my players asked: “Who are the best teams in this league?” Before I even had a chance to contemplate the percentage of truth in my answer, I replied: “You are…your team is one of the best…it is the best in the league.” They quietly smiled at me. I think some of them actually got it.

Coaching has taught me that not only is my role to be a disciplinarian, a teacher of skills, and a motivator, but also a visionary and a never-failing supporter – a believer. After we set our goal of making it to the championship round, I then had to keep the faith for the entire team, even after losing that key game.

This probably sounds familiar to you. The fact that owner-operators of security companies are like coaches became apparent when SDM’s editors compiled this month’s special report, “Up and Comers in Security” (p. 48) These strong performers and fast growers that have reached annual revenues of up to $3 million are believers. A vital role for them is to keep the faith even when they lose a bid or mess up an installation, because they know that their companies have something special to offer and that they do deserve to win a championship now and then.

For instance, up-and-comer SVI Systems finds its advantage in a fire alarm distributorship, which allows it to compete for engineered fire systems work. East Coast Security Services believes it has the “finest installation and service technicians in the field.” Able Security Systems partners with local law enforcement agencies in a crime alert program.

Each of these companies shares a goal to be successful in their markets by capitalizing on their unique strengths – they believe in their abilities, and that belief acts as an invisible force to help them focus on their goals.

So that’s precisely what happened to my team.

They won all three matches that day – even coming from behind in the last match to secure the championship. They focused on what they had to do and they never gave up. They believed they would win.

When you’re the coach of a team, you help them be the best they can be by showing them that you believe. You can’t win ‘em all, but those wins will be sweet.