We often mirror what we see. Coaches will model the behavior of successful coaches they know or observe, sometimes with detrimental results. Similarly, business leaders model other business leaders or when necessary, try to do the opposite, whatever that might be.
Lauren and I have been married for almost thirty-four years now. Over that time we have created a lot of memories. We have supported and encouraged one another. Sometimes that has been easy, while other times it has been a choice. Plenty of our marriage has been spent working out our differences, but in the […]
When I played football in college at Minnesota, Coach Cal Stoll was one of the first CEO-type coaches. Most of the coaches I had seen previously, such as my high school coach Dave Driscoll, coached either the offense or the defense in addition to performing the duties of a head coach. Coach Stoll did not. He wasn’t one of those tower-type coaches like Bear Bryant at Alabama, who was far removed from the field. Coach Stoll hired great teachers as his assistants and then gave them the latitude to coach. He set the vision and direction, motivated the team, then let assistants coaches do the coaching.
Coach Stoll held a meeting with the freshmen every year. That meeting had a big impact on me. I’ll never forget what he told us.
My father has always been a big part of my life. When I was a teenager he took a job as a teacher at a college in ______ which was around two hours away from our home in Jackson, Michigan. Since we wanted to finish high school in Jackson he sacrificed and lived away from us for a time. I didn’t realize how difficult that must have been until I experienced the same thing coaching the Colts while my family remained in Tampa. However, even though he was living far from us he was still engaged in our lives and unified with my mom. He would always talk to us on the phone and spend many hours in the car driving to our events to remain connected. I always felt loved and that he was there for me.
Those are some of the things I think about when I remember my father. He was self sacrificing and always present. When people ask me, “How do you want to be remembered as a father?” I think it would come down to the following things.
“Young kids with positive male role models have something to live for, somebody who is proud of them, somebody who cares about their well-being.” –Donald Miller If you follow professional football, or just read the news, you’re probably familiar with the story of Michael Vick. A star quarterback with elusive speed and remarkable athleticism, Michael […]
Early in the 20th Century the city of Montgomery, Alabama passed laws that segregated buses. The front section was for whites and the back was for blacks. The sections were divided by a sign labeled “colored” and could be moved at the discretion of the bus driver. Another stipulation of the law was that when there were white riders already seated in the front section, boarding black passengers were required to enter the front to pay, then exit the bus and walk to re-enter through the door in the back.
In 1943 an African American woman entered one of these buses and, after paying, walked straight to the back and sat down. The bus driver told her to get up and exit the bus and enter through the door in the back as the law required. She exited the bus and waited for the next one, committing to never ride that driver’s bus again. That woman’s name was Rosa Parks. Twelve years later she would enter his bus again. This time when he told her to give up her seat for a white male passenger she refused. Despite the potential consequences of being arrested, losing her job, or even physical violence she had the courage of conviction to stand for what was right.
Believe it or not, I have had some really bad habits in my life. People don’t believe it now, but my language was terrible when I was younger. I wouldn’t use any bad language around my parents because I knew they didn’t except it. But when I was on the playing field and with my friends, it wasn’t very becoming. The second one was my temper. When I was younger I was very competitive; so in junior high and high school, I would fly off the handle when I was upset about losing.
We all have bad habits and the two I mentioned are just a few of mine. I want to tell you how I was able to change. Let’s talk about how to break bad habits.
When I was the head coach of the Colts, during the 2006 training camp, I explained our strategy to the players. “We’re going to be fine,” I said, “as long as we think we’re fine. If we don’t, we’re going to have problems. We’re going to do what we do. Stay the course. Our biggest temptation will be to think we need to do something different.”
That year, my word picture for the players was from a story Denny Green had shared with me about quarterback Joe Montana.
Joe had been with the San Francisco 49ers for a number of years, helping them win several Super Bowls. Year after year, the team ran head coach Bill Walsh’s same offense. At the beginning of each season, Bill installed the offense the same way, with the plays installed in the same order. The first play he installed—every year—was “22 Z In.” Joe Montana could run “22 Z In” in his sleep.
When Paul Hackett became offensive coordinator for the 49ers, he installed “22 Z In” just as Bill Walsh instructed him. Paul realized that Joe knew more about “22 Z In” better than he did, but when the meeting was over, Paul saw that Joe had taken three pages of notes. He’d documented exactly how Paul wanted to run the play, as well as all of the basics of “22 Z In” and its details. That’s what a professional does.
“That’s what we need to do this season,” I told the Colts. “You’ll think you’ve heard it all before, but you can’t get mentally lazy. We have to stay sharp and continue to work to improve—all through camp and all through the season. We are going to do the same things over and over—that’s how we are going to win.” Then I ran through the same list of goals.
The one thing that can rip apart a championship team more than anything is dissension in the locker room. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, if you you are not together you are not going to win. I always tried to head it off before it even started and hit it head on when it did. This is how I would do that and how I take the same approach in resolving family conflict.
If you want to become a leader who adds value to other people’s lives and to the life of your organization, how do you get started? What do you do?
As a leader, I have found that I cannot move the ball forward with positive, nurturing leadership until I engage with those I am blessed to lead. Once I’ve engaged with them, I am able to educate and equip. Throughout the process, it is essential to encourage, empower, and energize in order to finally elevate the people around me.
It’s time to get in the game. Here is an explanation of the 7 E’s of reaching the full potential in those you lead.