Why don’t more executives and their employees invest in self-education? One reason is a time constraint. Another reason: it’s boring. If you carve out time to read a book but you keep falling asleep before you finish chapter one, you won’t learn anything. (Except how to cure your insomnia.)
One tactic I’ve implemented to keep my self-improvement quest lively is to periodically (a.k.a. whenever I feel like it) add a sports-related book to my reading pile. I’m sharing with you today one of those books – Everyone’s A Coach: Five Business Secrets for High-Performance Coaching by Ken Blanchard and Hall of Fame football coach Don Shula. Shula is a bonafide sage and has a dry wit that keeps you turning the pages. Blanchard is wise and entertaining as well; quote #29 below is guaranteed to make you smile.
Let’s dive into my favorite passages from Everyone’s A Coach … just in time to kickoff the 2018 NFL season!
- Secret #1 for high-performance coaching: Conviction-driven. Effective leaders stand for something. Never compromise your beliefs.
- Secret #2: Overlearning. Effective leaders help their teams achieve “practice perfection.” Practice until it’s perfect.
- Secret #3: Audible-ready. Effective leaders, and the people and teams they coach, are ready to change their game plan when the situation demands it.
- Secret #4: Consistency. Respond predictably to performance.
- Secret #5: Honesty-based. Effective leaders have high integrity and are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others. Walk your talk.
- Everything I do is to prepare people to perform to the best of their ability. And you do that one day at a time. – Shula
- Blanchard to his employees: If you don’t grow, you go. We all have to strive to continually get better.
- A river without banks is a puddle. Like those riverbanks, a good coach provides the direction and concentration for performers’ energies, helping channel all their efforts toward a single desired outcome. – Shula
- Great coaches want to win, but they don’t fall apart when they lose. – Blanchard
- As long as you have credibility, you have leadership. Credibility is your people believing that what you say is something they can hang their hat on. – Shula
- Usually we’re so busy with our tasks, we forget that above all else, what our people get from us is us – our values, our attitudes, our perceptions. – Blanchard
- If you find you like coaching, give it all you’ve got. If not, let someone else do it. – Shula
- Overlearning: the players are so prepared for a game that they have the skill and confidence needed to make that big play. Constant practice, constant attention to getting the details right every time. – Shula
- Overlearning system: Limit the number of goals; make people master of their assignments; reduce players’ practice errors; strive for continuous improvements.
- Most organizations overemphasize the goal-setting process and don’t pay enough attention to what needs to be done to accomplish goals. – Shula
- Failure is successfully finding out what you don’t want to repeat. – Blanchard
- As a coach, if you let errors go unnoticed, you’ll ensure that more of them will occur. – Blanchard
- The important thing is not just being intense but focusing that intensity on the things that matter. – Blanchard
- It’s not the mood he’s in but people’s performance that dictates his response. – Blanchard
- One thing I never want to be accused of is not noticing. – Shula
- A significant gap exists between what managers believe motivates employees most and what employees say motivates them. – Blanchard
- When a learner makes a mistake, be sure the person knows that the behavior was incorrect, but take the blame upon yourself (“Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough”) and then patiently go back to the beginning and give redirection. – Blanchard
- Effective leaders are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others. If people can’t have job security today, they want honesty. – Blanchard
- Softening a blow is not one of my gifts. I approach things in a straightforward way – sit down and look the guy in the eye and say, “This is what I think. You may not agree with it. But this is the way I feel, and this is why I am doing it. I know it’s tough to swallow, but I just want you to try to understand what I’m thinking and what my purpose is.” – Shula
- Astute business managers know there is no right way to do a wrong thing. – Blanchard
- Effective coaches confront their people, praise them sincerely, redirect or reprimand them without apology, and above all are honest with them. – Shula
- No matter what situation you are in, coaching others will require new things of you. Dealing with others in a leadership capacity will test your character, especially if your role is a highly visible one. – Shula
- A sense of humor permits you to accept criticism without getting consumed by it. – Shula
- I think people in organizations today take themselves too seriously. They all seem to have tight underwear on. – Blanchard
- It’s hard to be honest and forthright with folks whose egos and pride are always up for grabs. – Blanchard
- You haven’t learned a thing until you can take action and use it. – Shula & Blanchard
Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.