Archive for the ‘November 2011’ Category
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Last week we mentioned how Patrick Lencioni wrote in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team how teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage. Lencioni felt so strongly about the importance of teamwork that he wrote about it again is his second book, Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Take a close look at your own current team – is your level of teamwork developed to the point where you have a chance to accomplish the impossible?
I honestly believe that in this day and age of information ubiquity and nanosecond change, teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped. I can say confidently that teamwork is almost always lacking within organizations that fail and often present within those that succeed.
The power of teamwork cannot be denied. When people come together and set aside their individual needs for the good of the whole, they can accomplish what might have looked impossible on paper.
Monday, November 28th, 2011
Friday, November 25th, 2011
Few professional sports executives want to win as much as New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did. Steinbrenner knew exactly what he wanted in terms of both leadership and results and he never hesitated to make changes if his expectations weren’t being realized.
Steinbrenner came up with a list that he called the “7 Commandments for Leaders.” As you’ll notice, the ”commandments” are really questions but the answers can provide great insight to someone’s leadership abilities.
- Does he win?
- Does he work hard enough?
- Is he emotionally equipped to lead the men under him?
- Is he organized?
- Is he prepared?
- Does he understand human nature?
- Is he honorable?
In Steinbrenner’s case, if a potential leader/coach couldn’t answer “Yes” to the first question, there usually wasn’t a second question!
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
As coaches we are always looking for the ultimate competitive advantage. We watch hours and hours of game tape, we thoroughly scout our opponents, and we painstakingly plan practice down to the minute. Is it possible that we often overlook developing the one area that could have the biggest impact on our teams and thus pay the biggest dividends? In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shares an idea, that while easier said than done, is often skimmed over and neglected.
Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.
A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
Monday, November 21st, 2011
Friday, November 18th, 2011
If you are a coach, do you change your “system” to fit your players or do you try to find players that fit your system? if you are a college or club coach where you can recruit players with the specific skill sets your philosophy requires then you might be able to run the same offenses and defenses year after year. But if you are coaching youth, middle school, or high school you might not have that luxury. How you use the talent you have on your team may be one of the most important decisions you make as a coach. Here is what Tennessee’s Pat Summit (8 NCAA Championships) has to say about the subject in her book, Reach for the Summit:
A lot of coaches and managers try to force personnel into a system or framework that doesn’t suit them. They have a certain way they think things should be done. What they don’t understand, out of stubbornness or ego is that it may not be the most intelligent use of talent. How many times have you seen a player languish in a lineup, not fulfilling her potential, but as soon as she is traded to another team, she bursts out of her slump? I see that a lot. When you force somebody into a slot, you are inviting disaster.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
John Wooden often compared his teams to a car with players such as Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar), Bill Walton, and Sidney Wicks acting as the engine, but made sure everyone knew that an engine alone is not enough to be effective. The following quote is from the book Wooden. As a coach myself, I especially took notice of his statement!
A lug nut may seem like a little thing, but it’s not. There is a role that each and every one of us must play. We may aspire to what we consider to be a larger role, or a more important role, but we cannot achieve that until we show that we are able to fulfill the role we are assigned. It’s these little things that make the big things happen. The big engine is not going to work unless the little things are being done properly.
Remember that Michael Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls several years before he ever played in a championship game. Was he talented? Of course he was, but that powerful engine called Air Jordan was in a car with some parts that were not functioning properly.
Of course, when I told the players about their roles and the car with the powerful engine, new tires, and tight lug nuts, I also reminded them the car needed a driver behind the wheel or it would just go around in circles or smash into a tree.
I told them the driver was me.
Monday, November 14th, 2011
Friday, November 11th, 2011
Today is Veteran’s Day and for the last week college and professional teams have been thanking and paying tribute to Veterans everywhere in a variety of different ways. The US Armed Forces have long been recognized as the strongest team on earth and as a result they can teach us a lot about leadership, teamwork, sacrifice, group accountability, etc. etc. The following poem by Rudyard Kipling, who also wrote The Jungle Book, can easily be applied to both the battlefield and the basketball court.
The Law of the Jungle
Now this is the Law of the Jungle –
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk
The Law runneth forward and back –
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
- Do you have set plays that can be run from all locations on the court, regardless of how much time is left on the clock?
- If you are behind 1, 2, or 3 or if the game is tied, do you want to take the last shot or will you take the very first good one?
- When do you start fouling?
- When do you quit fouling?
- If you play with a shot clock do you want a “two for one” even if it means taking a rushed shot that first possession?
- If you are ahead by 3 do you foul to prevent your opponent from shooting a 3 to tie the game or do you trust your defense to get a stop?
- After gaining possession with time running out do you call time out to set a play (and allow the defense to set up as well) or do you just push the ball and attack?