When I stepped foot onto campus for the first time at MSU, it was the fall following the 2000 national championship. I was walking down the path that was cleared for me by the Spartan warriors who came through Jenison Fieldhouse and the Breslin Center in the years before me. I was not a part of the early crews that had first started to build our path but I soon learned that I was responsible for upholding the standards of excellence that had been developed.
What I also soon learned was that the standards of excellence were non-negotiables that carried over far beyond just the basketball court. These were standards that governed the way we worked on the practice court, on the weight room, in the film room, in hotels meeting rooms, knowing scouting reports and list goes on and on.
They become known as the Spartan Way.
They were talked about by our leadership and more importantly they were modeled by our leadership. Once you start to operate at a high standard it becomes increasingly easier to see when someone is not. The act of not giving your all as instantaneously met with feedback from your fellow players and coaches.
Coach Izzo would often remind us that none of were a part of the group responsible for getting the new basketball offices and practice gym built. But our actions could easily cause a crack in the foundation and could ultimately lead to the whole thing crumbling down.
The standard is the standard. As a leader you will be put in situations where you have to choose between compromising your standard and allowing certain concessions. Remember…..
“Leadership is about what you preach and more about what you tolerate.” – Leif Babin, United States Navy Seal