Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

Here is a great book co-written by one of the late John Wooden’s former players, Andrew Hill, who went on to be a greater success off the court than he ever was on the court. He attributes much of his success to the 21 secrets he learned while playing for John Wooden at UCLA. Take a look at the list then pick up the book it is a great read. 

Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Andrew Hill & John Wooden

Secret #1: The Team With The Best Players Almost Always Wins

Secret #2: Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Secret #3: Focus On Effort, Not Winning

Secret #4: Keep It Simple

Secret #5: Make Your “Yes” Mean Yes

Secret #6: Balance Is Everything

Secret #7: A Good Leader is First & Foremost, A Teacher

Secret #8: Game Time Is When The Coach’s Job Is almost Over

Secret #9: A Great Leader Cannot Worry About Being Well Liked

Secret #10: Great Leaders Give Credit To Others, But Accept The Blame Themselves

Secret #11: Seek Consistency—Avoid Peaks & Valleys

Secret #12: Fairness Is Giving All People The Treatment They Earn & Deserve

Secret #13: The Team That Makes The Most Mistakes…Wins!

Secret #14: Surround Yourself With Strong, Opinionated People

Secret #15: Teamwork Is Not A Preference, It’s A Necessity

Secret #16: Rules Are Made To Be Followed, Not Broken

Secret #17: Concentrate On Your Team, Not The Opposition

Secret #18: Adjust To Your Players—Don’t Expect Them All To Adjust To You

Secret #19: Failing To Prepare is Preparing To Fail

Secret #20: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Secret #21: Be Honest, Direct, & Willing To Risk It All For Your Beliefs

Leadership expert John Maxwell has recently launched a new website, www.johnmaxwell.com,  to promote his new company, The John Maxwell Company. I encourage you to check out the many leadership resources and training opportunities that John is offering on his new site.

John is one of the foremost leadership trainers in the world having trained millions of leaders around the world through his books, DVDs, and in person training courses.

John does a tremendous job of making the complexity of leadership easy for all to understand and apply in their organizations and lives on a daily basis. If you have not been exposed to his material I would encourage you to check out his website and begin to experience some great leadership growth in your life and the lives of your team members.

This is Part 2 of notes from my training class at GiANT IMPACT in Atlanta, GA yesterday. Click here to catch up on Part 1: 360 Degree Leadership Part 1

Today we will look at the art of leading up in your organization. This will reveal skills needed to lead your boss or other leaders in your organization that are in positions of authority higher than your level in the organization.

Lead Up

To many people leading up in their organization is the biggest challenge they face on a regular basis and a skill that is not often taught or even discussed in most organizations today. Most leaders want to lead, not be led.

John Maxwell advises us that in order to lead your leader you must take the approach of adding value to your leader. He states that most leaders do want to have value added to them and this is your pathway into leading your leader.

The Four Critical Aspects to Leading Up

  1. Lighten Your Leaders Load
  2. Understand Your Leader’s Rules
  3. Invest in Relational Chemistry
  4. Know When to Push and when to Back Down

Let’s examine each of these critical areas.

1. Lighten Your Leaders Load: You are either doing one of two things for your leader now: 1) You are making your leader’s load lighter 2) You are making your leader’s load heavier.

Which do you think your leader prefer you being doing today?

7 Keys to Lighten Your Leader’s Load

  1. Do your own job well.
  2. When you find a problem, find a solution.
  3. Tell leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
  4. Go the second mile.
  5. Stand up for your leader whenever you can.
  6. Stand in for your leader whenever you can.
  7. Ask your leader how you can lift the load.

Nearly every time I finish a conversation with my boss I ask the following question:

“Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

This simple question is often a catalyst for a conversation on how I might lighten my leader’s load and add value to him. I think this question has enabled me to tune in more accurately to his needs and desires that I need to be addressing on a regular basis. Taking this small bit of initiative enables me to better serve my leader and opens doors to leading my leader in the process.

Ask yourself these probing questions about your leader:

  • What pressing load is weighing on your leader?
  • What specific things can you do to take something off your leader’s plate?
  • What other things do you feel you could do for your leader to lighten his load but would need his blessing in order to carry it out?

2. Understand Your Leaders Rules: All organizations have rules, some written, some unwritten. In order to be an influential 360 degree leader you must develop a clear understanding of both the organization’s rules and your leader’s rules.

The bottom line is you must know what is and is not important to your leader in order to serve them well.

Here is a list we were given to inquire of our leader’s about their rules. We were challenged to have our leaders pick their top five rules from the below list:

  • Ask questions when you don’t understand
  • Follow through on commitments
  • Remember that I have responsibilities
  • Don’t make excuses; get the job done
  • Remember that I am human.
  • Be considerate of my time.
  • Be willing to try new things.
  • Listen to me.
  • Be open and honest.
  • Trust me.
  • Don’t make me look bad.
  • Everyone has to pay their dues.
  • Bring any problems you have with me to me.
  • Show appreciation for what the company and I do for you.
  • Make sure you think things through.
  • Bring important things to my attention quickly.
  • Take responsibility.
  • Be there when I need you.
  • Perform at your full potential.
  • Say “thank you.”
  • Work together as a team.
  • Be loyal.
  • Put in your time. Don’t watch the clock.
  • Don’t be late.

This might be a good exercise for you to go through with your leader so that you make sure you are both on the same page with expectations surrounding your working relationship.

3. Invest in Relational Chemistry: All good leadership is based on relationships. If you can learn how to adapt to your leader’s personality while still maintaining your own style, personal style and integrity then you will be able to lead up much more effectively.

5 Key Areas to Relational Chemistry

1. Heartbeat: These are the things your leader cares about on an emotional level.

2. Priorities: This list will be the thing your leader must do in order to be successful in their job. This list could be called a do or die list more appropriately. I like to call these type of activities the glass balls because they can’t be dropped, if they are they are broken and can’t be repaired. You must choose instead to drop lead balls that make noise when dropped but don’t break and therefore can be picked up later. What are your leader’s glass balls?

3. Enthusiasm: These are things your leader can spend hours talking about and never grow tired. These things energize your leader and create a passion to take some type of action.

4. Vision: This is the dreams of the future your leader has for the organization and himself and where it will go in the days and years ahead. Do you know your leader’s vision?

5. Personality and other traits: This is the manner in which your leader thinks, acts and processes information. In other words, how does your leader operate on a day-to-day basis? How does he process the information you communicate with him best? Orally? Written? Visually? or a combination of these? It helps to understand how he processes the information you bring to him so you can serve it to him in a way that best accommodates his strength zones in these key areas.

4. Know when to Push your Leader and When to Back Down: In order to effectively lead up each leader must develop a clear understanding of this often over looked skill set. You have to have the wisdom to know when and when not to speak up to your leader. If you have a great idea but deliver it at the wrong time it may never see the light of day.

There will also be times when a leader must speak up even when the timing is not the best. It takes wisdom and discernment to know when such times are indeed in front of you and at those times you must act in the best interest of your leader and the organization.

When to Push?

  • What do I know that my boss doesn’t know but needs to?
  • Is time running out?
  • Are my own responsibilities at risk?
  • Can I help my boss win?

When to Back Down?

  • Am I promoting my own personal agenda?
  • Is the timing right only for me?
  • Must everyone but me take the risk?
  • Does my request exceed our relationship?

I would challenge you to process this information and apply it to your relationship with your leader as appropriate. Use some of these suggestions as a catalyst to gain a better understanding of your leader and improve your effectiveness with him.

Remember what John says, ” the best way to lead your leader is to first add value to your leader!”

Have you added value to your leader today?

After the recent passing of John Wooden I was reflecting upon the legacy this incredible man left in his wake. The legacy goes way beyond winning championships. John Wooden’s life is a powerful example of servant leadership and the power of investing your life in the lives of others so that they may become successful.

Watching all the stories about his life and the impact he had on so many lives through the years is an inspiration to us all. He was first of all a Christ follower who preached his sermons with the integrity of his life lived before all who knew him. His humble servant attitude despite all his accomplishments is a great example for all of us to follow.

Recently I posted a summary of his 21 Secrets to Great Leadership as revealed by one of his former players,  Andrew Hill.  As I reflected back on reading this book today I thought of how great a testimony of John Wooden this book actually is. Andrew Hill is not a household name to most sports fan like Bill Walton or Kareem among others that Wooden coached over the years, but he is one of John Wooden’s former players. A player who never played a great deal during the dynasty years, but who learned far more sitting on the bench than he ever fully realized until years later. Andrew has become successful in life and career and he attributes the foundation of his success to the leadership lessons learned while playing for Wooden.

Amazon.com’s book review sums up the story very nicely here:

“John Wooden was named ESPN’s Coach of the Century for the way he led his UCLA basketball team to the top of the sporting world in the 1960s and ’70s. Andrew Hill was a rebellious and sparingly used reserve on the squad before becoming a successful television executive. While it’s doubtful that either would have predicted it at the time, the lessons imparted on the court by Wooden eventually helped Hill reach the top of his profession. And in Be Quick–but Don’t Hurry, named for one of the legendary coach’s ubiquitous aphorisms, the now-grateful protégé translates that sage advice into 21 “secrets” that may help others realize similar accomplishments. Like the title, the counsel can usually be boiled down into short expressions that are deceptively simple. Examples include “Focus on effort, not winning,” “Balance is EVERYTHING,” “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” and “The team with the best players almost always wins.” To show their relevance and power, Hill fleshes them out with solid examples from the hardwood as well as the business world. And with the track record Wooden has compiled, who are we not to take them seriously?”Howard Rothman

I am re-posting these 21 Secrets to Great Leadership from an earlier blog. Check them out and then pick up the book for a great example of how investing in the lives of others can create a legacy far greater than winning championships.


John Wooden’s 21 Secrets to Great Leadership

Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Andrew Hill & John Wooden

Secret #1: The Team With The Best Players Almost Always Wins

Secret #2: Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Secret #3: Focus On Effort, Not Winning

Secret #4: Keep It Simple

Secret #5: Make Your “Yes” Mean Yes

Secret #6: Balance Is Everything

Secret #7: A Good Leader is First & Foremost, A Teacher

Secret #8: Game Time Is When The Coach’s Job Is almost Over

Secret #9: A Great Leader Cannot Worry About Being Well Liked

Secret #10: Great Leaders Give Credit To Others, But Accept The Blame Themselves

Secret #11: Seek Consistency—Avoid Peaks & Valleys

Secret #12: Fairness Is Giving All People The Treatment They Earn & Deserve

Secret #13: The Team That Makes The Most Mistakes…Wins!

Secret #14: Surround Yourself With Strong, Opinionated People

Secret #15: Teamwork Is Not A Preference, It’s A Necessity

Secret #16: Rules Are Made To Be Followed, Not Broken

Secret #17: Concentrate On Your Team, Not The Opposition

Secret #18: Adjust To Your Players—Don’t Expect Them All To Adjust To You

Secret #19: Failing To Prepare is Preparing To Fail

Secret #20: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Secret #21: Be Honest, Direct, & Willing To Risk It All For Your Beliefs


  1. Talent is God-given be thankful, praise is man given be gracious, conceit is self-given be careful. Tony Dung
  2. Personal life impacts business life, perhaps more than anything else in your life. Connie Podesta
  3. Failure always teaches us more than just studying success. Jim Collins
  4. You will become known for the problems you solve! Steve Uzzell
  5. People underestimate the actual control they have during turbulent times. Ed Bastian
  6. Leaders don’t tell a better story, they make a story better! Mark Sanborn
  7. If you take care of your employees your employees will take care of you. Ed Bastian
  8. Look for the bright spots and copy them! Chip Heath
  9. Hubris (outrageous arrogance) born of success is first step to down fall. Jim Collins
  10. If no one accepts your excuses, then you stop using them, start finding solutions. Dr. Ben Carson
  11. You must demand responsibility, but balance with the understanding that I am here to help you achieve our goals, I am here to help make you successful. Tony Dungy
  12. Character is revealed when what you had planned is so far from your current reality that you can hardly breath, this is when you are revealed for who you truly are at the core. Connie Podesta
  13. You must learn or languish, no matter how bad the circumstances. Mark Sanborn
  14. Success is using talent God has given you to elevate other people! Dr. Ben Carson
  15. Connecting=ability to identify with and relate to people in such a way that it increases our influence with them! John Maxwell
  16. Multitasking gives you opportunity to screw up more than one thing at same time! Steve Uzzell
  17. To be good teacher you must be good learner. Steve Uzzell
  18. Connectors find common ground. John Maxwell
  19. Outcomes/Results are not tied to circumstances. Jim Collins
  20. Outcomes are based on our choices. Jim Collins
  21. All great institutions are built on a purpose beyond making money, they are built on a set of core purposes that sustain you during the ups and downs. Jim Collins
  22. Many times you must have perseverance, you must stay the course, even when you don’t think you are having an impact you will look back some day and realize how you impacted others, how much you influenced their lives in a good way. Tony Dungy
  23. Your life is your speech, you life tells your story, it paints a picture for all those around you to see each day. Connie Podesta
  24. I don’t believe in political correctness, I believe it is a very destructive force in our culture today. Dr. Ben Carson
  25. There is a part of us is in love with our current comfort. Chip Heath






Tony Dungy Interview with Mark Sanborn
Retired head coach for the Indianapolis Colts

Priorities:

  • I am the only husband to my wife and father to my children.
  • I want to leverage my influence for good in world.
  • As leaders we need to rise to our calling.
  • It starts with you!

What is the back story? the story behind the story what we see in public.

  • The impact people had on my life is part of the back story, my parents, my school teachers and coaches in my life along the way.
  • These people told us the right things to do, taught us the right way to treat people.
  • I am a product of coaches, mentors investing in me.

What do you do when people get stuck in their story?

  • I try to energize them, show them what they could do, what they truly are capable of, open their eyes to their potential of how good they can be.
  • You have got to have a mission and vision that matters in order for your team, people to be motivated and engaged.
  • Chuck Noll told me I have to be a great salesman, I have to know what I believe in and then I have to convince team to believe in my cause with me, to support the mission and vision I have for team.
  • Teamwork: I must have an ultimate goal that all of us can strive for, I have to sell that we are in this together, that we can pull together and accomplish this thing.
  • People struggle before they make progress, you have to teach perseverance, incremental progress, show team what they are improving. One year we lost 10 games and were not showing improvement on the scoreboard, but we were getting better each week. We had to focus team on the small incremental improvements. Had to persevere until results became more evident.
  • Often the Coach has to believe in team more than they believe in themselves.
  • If you do too much, help them too much, you can create dysfunction. The opposite is to be too commanding. It is a hard balance.

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You must demand responsibility, but balance with the understanding that I am here to help you achieve our goals, I am here to help make you successful.

What did others do to positively shape your story?

  • Many people helped shape my story, high school coach, saw potential in me and helped me.  Chuck Noll, my first NFL coach I worked played huge role in shaping my story. I also worked for 5-6 other coaches that impacting my story. My teams, the players impacted my story. Many, many people played a role and influenced my success.
  • He has a book coming out-The Mentor Leader
  • A Mentor/Leader is someone who helps people get to where they want to go.
  • There are different ways to win.
  • Coach Null-Be yourself, lead in your way, be a person who tries to help people, be  a person who helps players be  better.
  • It requires different approaches with different players, can’t approach all people the same, must get to know your people and know how to motivate and discipline each one according to their make up.

Drafting Standards

  • DNDC=Do Not Draft because of Character-may be talented but character was flawed and would not make good team member.
  • Recruiting talent: talent is a small part, ability to work with others, how are you at doing those things that aren’t as pleasant? We talked to coaches and team mates, we looked at academic records, how are you at doing the unpleasant things? This tells us a lot about one’s character.

Is character caught or taught?

  • Both to some degree, as leader try to bring best out of people.
  • Winning isn’t everything, it was our goal, but we need to be well-rounded people, have good lives outside football, our profession.

How do you avoid big head?

  • Talent is God-given be thankful, praise is man given be gracious, conceit is self-given be careful.

Focus on things you can control

  • There will be times when you have to mentor and times when you have to discipline a team member.
  • You have to work at figuring out how to use the  right element at the right time, you must choose right tools for situation. A key is understanding the personality of the individual. This is really important to being successful in this area.
  • Have pull to want to do best you can, how do you balance that with home, family has to come first, that is who is going to be with you rest of your life

How do you know when to leave?

  • It took lots of prayer and deliberation with my wife to determine the Lord had other things for me to do right now.

When is the time the Lord has something else for me?

  • Remember that God has put you where you are for a reason.

Many times you must have perseverance, you must stay the course, even when you don’t think you are having an impact you will look back some day and realize how you impacted others, how much you influenced their lives in a good way.

Here is a great book I read recently co-written by one of John Wooden’s former players, Andrew Hill, who went on to be a greater success off the court than he ever was on the court. He attributes much of his success to the 21 secrets he learned while playing for John Wooden at UCLA. Take a look at the list then pick up the book it is a great read.

Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Andrew Hill & John Wooden

Secret #1: The Team With The Best Players Almost Always Wins

Secret #2: Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry

Secret #3: Focus On Effort, Not Winning

Secret #4: Keep It Simple

Secret #5: Make Your “Yes” Mean Yes

Secret #6: Balance Is Everything

Secret #7: A Good Leader is First & Foremost, A Teacher

Secret #8: Game Time Is When The Coach’s Job Is almost Over

Secret #9: A Great Leader Cannot Worry About Being Well Liked

Secret #10: Great Leaders Give Credit To Others, But Accept The Blame Themselves

Secret #11: Seek Consistency—Avoid Peaks & Valleys

Secret #12: Fairness Is Giving All People The Treatment They Earn & Deserve

Secret #13: The Team That Makes The Most Mistakes…Wins!

Secret #14: Surround Yourself With Strong, Opinionated People

Secret #15: Teamwork Is Not A Preference, It’s A Necessity

Secret #16: Rules Are Made To Be Followed, Not Broken

Secret #17: Concentrate On Your Team, Not The Opposition

Secret #18: Adjust To Your Players—Don’t Expect Them All To Adjust To You

Secret #19: Failing To Prepare is Preparing To Fail

Secret #20: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Secret #21: Be Honest, Direct, & Willing To Risk It All For Your Beliefs