I sat down with me friend MSU strength coach Tim “Red” Wakeham to talk about his career working within athletics and how he’s learned to coach and teach leadership, goal setting and developing and maintaining a standard within your program.
I decided to take on a new challenge and start my own podcast. I wanted to start capturing some of the conversations I have with my friends and other smart/interesting people. Click the link below to hear the first conversation I recorded with my friend Robin Miner Swartz
The majority of time we spend talking about the characteristics of great leaders and what you can do to start functioning like these people. That’s all well and good but with self –evaluation being one of the hardest things for people to do, we tend to see most people thinking they are doing an outstanding job and blaming others for any issues. I figured I would take an opposite approach and try to identify things that mediocre leaders do and how they can play a negative role on your team.
- Delegating work and not authority
Mediocre leaders don’t put their team members in a position to lead themselves. Most of the time a mediocre leader is assigning a task they don’t personally want to do. Delegating authority tells your team members that you trust in their ability to take over a project and gives them individual confidence that their boss believes in them.
- Blaming outside factors for bad team culture
A winning culture is built from the top down and it has to be something that all parties identify with and buy into. When you have a bad culture, you have a problem at the top. Outside factors can impact a team but a strong leader can learn how shield a team from a problem or use that issue to strengthen the bond.
- Never falling on the sword
Team members are going to make mistakes and suffer failures, some of them are able to handle it and some of them will struggle through them. A mediocre leader will let that failure happen without stepping up to fall on the sword. Struggles can easily start to snow ball as they continue to happen and can have a long-term effect. Mediocre leaders allow that snowball to form and will often give it a push down hill.
- Sacrificing your standards
Are you willing to have self-inflected cracks in your armor? The mediocre leader will have a fluctuating line for their standards. Some members of the team will be able to get away with certain things and others won’t. When a group of teammates can sit back and watch someone do whatever they want with no consequences you’re in trouble. That begins the fracturing and resentment. Those two things will cause damage that can never be repaired.
- Glitz over Guts – Inability to recruit the right talent
Filling your team with the right people is essential to any leaders success. We can all go out and find thousands of people who look good on a resume and even sound good in an interview. But being able to predict who will fit into your team and embody the standards you’ve established is the differentiator. Mediocre leaders can get caught up in the smoke and mirrors instead of the meat and potatoes.
- Inability to translate knowledge to execution
Trust me there are a ton of very smart people walking the streets everyday. Brilliant minds that understand every detail of a subject but lack the ability to translate that knowledge to execution. Mediocre leaders understand the game but don’t know how to teach you to play.
- Lack of willingness to adapt
It’s a simple fact that we live in a world that is constantly evolving. Things and people are changing all the time and we have to be able to evolve with them. The mediocre leader is stuck in the ways things used to be done and everyone else’s should be adjusting to the old school ways of doing things.
The beginning of March gives us one of my favorite times of year……NCAA tournament time. I’ve been lucky to experience and enjoy the wonder of March. I went through years where our team made it to the Final Four and I went through years where our team lost early. There wasn’t a disparity when came to talent on those teams because it was the same players. Looking back I’ve identified 5 things that were helpful during a tournament run that have translated to other situations I’ve been in after my playing career was over.
Continue to Evolve
Throw everything that happened before this out the window. Your previous success has no bearing on how you are about to perform in the future. The thought that how you’ve been operating will continue to work without any changes is wrong.
Knowing you are going into a situation where you’re only going to get one shot at winning is exciting and nerve racking all in one. It’s also the best time to take an introspective look at yourself and your team to make sure everyone is contributing in a matter that propels you forward.
Little Things Make A Big Difference
Very few tournament games are blowouts and most of them come down to a few possessions that will be the deciding factors. The more little things you do correctly over time the bigger the impact it will have come game time.
If you look at the game of golf and trying to hit a golf ball straight, the angle of your club face at impact directly correlates to the ball going straight or missing the target by 20 yards. Every inch and degree can have a direct effect on how your team operates in a one and done environment and those small changes can put you on a successful path.
Make The Most of Your Prep Time
After a win in the NCAA tournament you have to have a short memory and understand how to be efficient with your prep time. There is an art to being able to prepare a team with only one day between games. The ability to decipher what is the most important information and the best way to relay that information so your team can absorb it.
Staying In The Moment
Distractions are the most abundant thing at an NCAA tournament. You have family, friends, fans, and people asking for autographs and pictures, people calling for tickets and so on. Don’t get me wrong it is an awesome experience but it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of things other than the actual game you’re going to be playing.
Maintaining A Sense Of Urgency
The great John Wooden said “be quick but don’t hurry” and that is extremely true during one and done time. Doing your job with a sense of urgency doesn’t mean you’re doing everything at a sped up pace. A sense of urgency gives you an understanding of the importance of your individual job and why doing it swiftly and correctly will help you team.
Original article was written by Dave Kerpen and posted in Inc. Magazine
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
Ben Franklin may not have been an entrepreneur by trade, but his words echo today more than ever before. This is the fastest-changing communications and technology landscape we’ve ever been in. Twenty years ago, you probably didn’t have an email address, and now it’s hard to imagine life (or your business) without email. Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist, and now one-and-a-quarter billion people and millions of businesses use it to communicate.
Even if you’re not directly involved in the communications or technology industries, there’s no doubt that technology has played a huge role in changes in your industry. These changes mean you, as an entrepreneur, have to change!
You can choose to change with the times, take advantage of new opportunities in your industry and grow your business. Or you can fight the changes, refuse to adapt, and watch your business likely perish.
But change is very hard, for us, as individuals, and perhaps even more difficult for organizations. The status quo can be so much more comfortable. I’ve written before about the power of inspiring quotations to move us and others to action. Here, then, are 11 more quotes to help inspire you to embrace change for yourself and your business, to adapt, to grow and to win.
1. It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. –Charles Darwin
2. Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. –Max McKeown
3. The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. –Kakuzo Okakaura
4. Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. –Mahatma Gandhi
5. You can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people–and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to. –Gary Hamel
6. People will try to tell you that all the great opportunities have been snapped up. In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours. –Ken Hakuta
7. Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you. –William Frederick Book
8. All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns. –Bruce Lee
9. A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it. –Chinese Proverb
10. The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change. –Bill Clinton
11. Each of us has the opportunity to change and grow until our very last breath. Happy creating. –M.F. Ryan
Business author Alan Deutschman popularized the business catchphrase, “Change or die.” So I’ll close with my own, more positive spin on this: