Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Monday, July 2, 2012
Hosted in the elegant and inspiring New York City Center, 2012’s World Innovation Forum offered an invigorating array of content. It ranged from social sustainability and the power of video games to predictions of the human life span and technological advancement. Among the two days of mind-bending facts, figures, and theories, two speakers offered succinct and articulate focus on an overwhelmingly simple premise: collaboration. Clay Shirky and Russell Stevens leveraged their experience with social media and marketing movements to outline how collaborative efforts can benefit organizations.
“Group action just got easier,” says author and NYU professor, Clay Shirky. In response to the Internet, social media, and the current speed in which we can all connect, Shirky sees a blue sky of opportunity. Never before has humanity had access to such expansive communal outlets to express concerns, help one another, and distribute information. The challenge is to develop systems that can leverage these tools toward innovation and problem solving. As Shirky says, “Social media is not just a tool for doing stuff the old way. They can solve new problems.” He went further, exclaiming that “Figuring out what kind of opportunities there are in this new landscape becomes part of the institutional prerogative.” He claims that organizations that can galvanize the power of the community will excel in unprecedented ways.
Interestingly, inviting the masses to the table has yet to be mastered. As Shirky points out with his research, 100 million hours went into the development of Wikipedia, which is merely equivalent to the number of hours the US watches advertisements over the weekend. People are hopping online, engaging and convening like never before, but we have yet to fully capitalize on the possibilities. What if more time was dedicated to interacting in intellectually and socially positive ways? What problems could be solved if 200 million hours of time were directed at solutions in a collaborative and communal space?
Framing theory with practice, Russell Stevens, partner of the mega-innovative marketing firm SS+K, spoke of his experience creating message movements. Citing his experience with projects that have ranged from the 2008 Obama campaign to LIVESTRONG, Stevens outlined the new rules of customer engagement in a hyper-connected age. In today’s world of customer interaction and communication, organizations are better for operating with an inclusive model. Stevens suggests that customers are engaged through a process of “Provoke – Connect – Share – Own”. By provoking people through passion points, organizations can then connect through interaction. As discussion continues, customers and constituents should be seen as mouthpieces for the movement and encouraged to be spokespeople. Finally, the people who take part in the movement should be rewarded for their part in its success. Let clients and constituents own a piece of the pie while acknowledging their participation and achievements.
Both Stevens and Shirky outline a world of expanding inclusion and empowering engagement. By leveraging the enthusiasm of others to be collaborate, organizations can benefit their customers and themselves. In this mutually beneficial model, organizations are smart to think toward the future, and ask how problems and challenges can be overcome by utilizing the ideas and energy of a collaborative public.
Dan Leidl is a regular contributor to The Washington Post’s On Leadership section. Dan is a managing partner of Meno Consulting and co-author of the forthcoming book, Team Turnarounds to be published in July of 2012 by Jossey-Bass. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.
As a performer, Sir Ken Robinson seems more comedian than thinker. “Ten years ago people didn’t Tweet, did they?” He asked the crowd, pausing for effect. “If they did, they were discouraged.”
He’s funny, but his ideas are better.
A man of poise (the cadence and distinction of his English accent help here), Robinson pushes a profoundly simple idea: We are all capable of much more than we imagine, but it takes those around us to release our potential.
For the complete article, click here.
One of the most cherished ambassadors of the game, Richie Moran may have kissed more babies and shaken more hands in the name of spreading lacrosse than any other figure associated with it. Skilled at working a room, Moran’s good nature, sense of humor, and willingness to extend the glad hand has made him one of the more memorable figures in the sport. He jokes and converses as naturally as he breathes, and sometimes seems more of a missionary than a coach. A pleasure to sit down and interview, Moran’s insights are as useful now as they were 40 years ago.
A throwback to what’s often remembered as a simpler time, Moran seems to live with clear purpose. He enjoys the company of family and friends, is loyal to his team, is devoted to spreading the game of lacrosse, and is a furious competitor. It is this unique blend that not only leaves nearly everyone he meets with a memorable impression, but has also led to three NCAA and 15 Ivy League Championships during his 29 seasons as head coach of Cornell from 1969-1997. One of the most accomplished NCAA skippers of all time, Moran has also proven integral in grass roots efforts throughout the United States as well as the development of lacrosse in Ireland, where he has served as an administrator and coach for a national program that has grown stunningly in little more than a decade.
This year, he was honored with the Spirit of Tewaaraton Award.
Moran offers one of the clearest windows into his personality and coaching persona when he says, “My philosophy has always been about commitment.” He takes it seriously, very seriously, and he respects, honors and cherishes those who do the same. He cares about the players, the parents, the grades, the conditioning, the uniforms, the equipment, the big things and the little things, and nothing is too small to demand his attention. “Fundamentals were always a big part of our game,” he says somewhat obviously. “Every day should be a fundamental day.” He talks fondly of his days coaching the Big Red, and pours through memories of how those teams were built, motivated, and pushed to care. Those players and teams were expected to do the little things well, focus on details overlooked by many of their peers at rival schools, and embrace a level of financial and academic stress that few college students can wrap their heads around. “There’s no doubt about it,” he admits, “they made some sacrifices.”
The players who came to Cornell worked summer jobs to offset the lack of athletic scholarships the Ivy League program offered, and many washed pots and pans in dormitory cafeterias or delivered typewriters throughout campus for a modest salary during the academic year. They practiced in the storied Polo Grounds, a poorly lit indoor facility that was cold and leaky, the home of a stray cat the team called Felix. Every year they began the season with the wicked winters of Ithaca, an Ivy League academic schedule, and the pressures of preparing for an NCAA title run. But in spite of the shared sacrifices, they loved it. And the reason they loved it seems to ultimately come down to the idea that they loved each other.
Moran recalls one particular scene during an unforgiving winter practice in Ithaca. The players had their helmet ear holes covered with tape to stave off the whipping winds, icicles had collected on their facemasks, and Moran used a team huddle to gauge the meddle of the chapped and reddened faces staring back at him. “Isn’t it great to be here?”, he asked. There was nowhere else any of them would rather have been. They nodded and answered yes, and Moran remembers that the sun began to push aside the clouds and shine. “Life is beautiful,” he now laughs, punctuating this notion that if we care enough about our teammates and the people around us, if we just work hard at the little things and never back down from the challenge, everything will somehow work out.
“I used to use the word clan”, he explains — a symbolic commitment to his Irish heritage and the family of players he wanted to build. He says of the early years at Cornell, “In order for us to accomplish anything we’re going to have to watch out for each other, protect each other, and be a family.” He purposely ignored certain stats, only choosing to highlight ground balls, goalie and defensive play. “Statistics were not important to our team”, he affirms, asserting his greater interest in the larger team. He remembers first-year players singing the Cornell alma mater at the end of practices, the Mother’s Day cards and thank you letters the team wrote to moms, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, and the nighttime returns to campus when the bus driver would drive past the Polo Grounds and the team would sing. “We always came back happy”, he says. He thinks back on the support he developed through the creation of a Cornell Lacrosse Club for fans and families, the newsletters and Christmas cards that were religiously written and mailed, and the history that slowly built up around the program.
Moran has used lacrosse to impact thousands. Now in his 70s, he’s still pushing to promote the development of lacrosse in Ireland, supporting the inspiring efforts of the many in Dublin and beyond growing the game throughout the country. In talking with Moran, he finished the interview as we’ll finish this article, remembering the halftime of the 1976 NCAA Championship. The game was held at Brown University, and both Cornell and Maryland were meeting for the first time that season with undefeated records. Cornell was down seven to two at the half, and the fate of one of the most potent teams in the history of the game was in question. After his halftime talk Moran began walking to the field, and overheard something that has never left him. You can tell in listening to him now that he’s no further away from that moment than he was from his players when he heard them talking. “The reason we’re going to win this second half and this game is because we love each other”, they said. Needless to say, they took Maryland to overtime, but Cornell won.
Joe Frontiera and Dan Leidl are managing partners of Meno Consulting, a firm specializing in team and leadership development, and authors of the forthcoming book Team Turnarounds, to be published in July of 2012 by Jossey-Bass. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with comments and ideas for future pieces, or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.
Now retired, Jack Emmer put together one of the quietest yet most successful coaching careers in the history of the game. Inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame the same year he retired, Emmer’s legacy as a coach is often articulated in wins and losses. While he won the gold medal in the 2002 World Games as the head coach of the United States national team, his record-setting 326 wins (which stood as a record until 2008) is often cited as his most-notable achievement.
Given the fact that Emmer set the bar for collegiate coaching wins at places like Washington & Lee (Don’t forget that when Emmer was there in the ’70’s little ol’ W&L was competing against Division I big boys like Maryland and Hopkins) and the United States Military Academy, the achievement is more astonishing than impressive. In spite of his historic ability to win, what may be most fascinating about Emmer’s career was his often forgotten sense for innovation.
Jack Emmer may have been one of the greatest coaching innovators in lacrosse. He pushed rule changes, consistently won as an underdog, and advanced a level of tactical creativity that forced others to question just how the game could and should be played. “I felt like we just took advantage of the talents we had,” Emmer recalls. And in working to position his teams to succeed with their talents, he remembers one question that drove his thinking: “What is an area we can do better than anyone else?” In that one question, Emmer worked to find answers, worked to build game plans and strategies that would bring success over others, even when they were more talented. In working to continually solve that riddle, Emmer concludes, “It [the answer] had to come down to an area that entailed more effort than skill.”
So Emmer built a career out of boundary-pushing coaching moves that forced his players and their opponents well outside the box of accepted and expected play. His most famous creation was the Armadillo, a gimmick devised at W & L in 1982 to slow down the vaunted North Carolina offense (there is now a small website dedicated to the effort). The play essentially assured possession of the ball through a bizarre circling of the wagons. Five players locked arms and encircled the ball carrier, protecting the ball from defenders, and acting out the most aggressive stall technique ever employed. In practicing the technique, Emmer and his staff worked around a variety of rules, and the final creation was explained and cleared by officials in the week leading up to the game.
Ultimately the play was deemed to be within the grounds of the rulebook, and history was made. The Armadillo makes for a quirky moment on the timeline of lacrosse, but was outlawed only days after it was conceived. Officials rewrote the rules on the Monday following the game, banning the play from ever occurring again.
Emmer’s antics and innovative spirit gained the most attention for the Armadillo, but his groundbreaking ideas and concepts were a constant throughout his career. While still at Washington & Lee he used a particularly aggressive pair of defenders to consistently double the ball on restarts at the end line, while his athletic goalie played defense in the field (a somewhat common situational play in today’s game). Additionally, at a time when there were no restrictions on the number of long sticks on the field, Emmer used nine. In the mid-‘80’s Army had a stable of athletic and competent defenders. Rather than leave all of his athletic defenders on the bench, Emmer concocted a plan to use nine long sticks during the ride.
The defenders subbed in and out off of dead ball and out-of-bounds scenarios, and Emmer explains, “They really took pride in this.” The ride proved deadly, as all nine long poles ravaged opponents for the ball, and looking back, Emmer admits that the tactic was “tremendously frustrating for the opposition.” Needless to say, within a couple of years another rule was changed, and the number of long sticks allowed on the field at one time was dramatically reduced.
Beyond the efforts that drove lasting change, Emmer also reflects on unconventional schemes that paid dividends during his career. The emphasis and practice that he put into riding at Army, even after he couldn’t rely on nine defenders, led to his phrase, “Winning the whistle”, which essentially captures the importance of being prepared after a re-start, the mental focus needed to look past a dropped or errant pass, and the desire to get the ball back in spite of the circumstances that led to its loss.
He also remembers running Adam Fullerton (2010 U. S. Team Goalie) as the man down goalie when Fullerton was only a freshman. The logic was that Fullerton was too talented to keep off the field so Emmer created a situational unit that Fullerton could lead and be a part of. The gamble ultimately paid off, as Fullerton eventually replaced the senior starter when the senior suffered an unfortunate injury to his thumb, which made Fullerton’s game experience as the man down goalie invaluable. Again, Emmer reminds us, “It was unusual, but it fit that group of guys.”
Jack Emmer has achieved a great deal coaching lacrosse, and his impactful legacy should inspire coaches for years to come. If nothing else, Emmer’s success and willingness to be different shines a light on the value of genuine innovation on the field. Emmer won games by playing outside the box, pushing the rules, even rewriting them. Perhaps there’s something to be said for bucking the status quo – especially when everyone you’re trying to beat is basically embracing the same stuff. For Emmer, success came by questioning the rules and identifying his team’s strengths. By understanding how to maximize his players’ talents within the rules of the day, he made a statement for the power of thinking differently.
Joe Frontiera, PhD and Dan Leidl, PhD are the Managing Partners of Meno Consulting, a firm specializing in leadership development, organizational culture, team building and motivation. To learn more about Dan and Joe visit their blog at www.mygenerationleader.com or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Branch Rickey has been described as a deeply moral man who was equally committed to the game of baseball as he was to the people around him. Rickey served as the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1943 – 1950 and has one of the more storied careers in the history of the Major Leagues. Seemingly motivated by equal parts moral conviction, competitive spirit and business success, Rickey resolutely set out to bust open the racial barrier that had historically blocked baseball from fielding some of the nation’s best players.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has long been considered a defining American tradition. Baseball is America’s game, and since 1869 MLB has taken pride in fielding the players, coaches, and teams that history has come to remember as the best our nation has to offer. Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb have been memorialized as some of the game’s greatest athletes, but what of the nameless and faceless men who were refused the opportunity to compete, the thousands of able-bodied players who were never afforded the opportunity to play in the Bigs, not because of their skills, but because of their race? While segregation was slowly being adopted by ballclubs throughout the 1880s, by the time the century turned, black players were unofficially prohibited from playing in the MLB. For more than 60 years, generations of black players were excluded from playing in the pros.
In 1944 the culture of baseball began to shift. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first Commissioner of Baseball, had passed away in November of that year. Landis, who had held his position as Commissioner from 1920 until his death, was philosophically committed to segregation and firm in his belief that African American players shouldn’t play in the Major Leagues. In truth, as much as Landis played a key role in maintaining the color barrier in baseball, he wasn’t alone. Team owners, general managers, and players helped perpetuate the longstanding divide. However, after the death of Landis, the more open-minded Happy Chandler succeeded Landis as Commissioner at the same time that Branch Rickey was working to convince the Dodgers organization to sign a black player.
Rickey worked covertly and determinedly for years before signing the first black player. Even before Landis died, Rickey held secret meetings with the Dodgers brass to gain both opinions and blessings for his plan to sign a black player. The cautionary advice was to get the right guy, but the higher-ups trusted Rickey and believed in his larger strategy of breaking the color barrier. After all, in bringing an African American player to Brooklyn, Rickey would essentially open a pipeline of talent from the Negro Leagues. The first team to sign a black player would get the benefit of the doubt from subsequent players looking to jump to the Majors, but could also gain an entirely new and essentially untapped fan base. The Negro Leagues were the existing home for African American fans of baseball, but Rickey believed that doing away with segregation in the Major Leagues might bring more black fans to Ebbets Field, where the Dodgers played their games. If nothing else, although radical, desegregation was a good business decision.
Aside from the economic and player benefits, for Rickey, the move was also the right thing to do, both morally and for his team. The Dodgers needed a top-flight player, he was profoundly committed to the ideals of equality, and some of the best athletes were playing ball in the Negro Leagues. Rickey had a commitment to his business, his team, and his conscience, as well as the gumption to act on it.
Branch Rickey put tremendous focus into finding a player who was not only a superior talent, but also had the fortitude to deal with the predicted backlash that would accompany breaking baseball’s longstanding color barrier. Jackie Robinson seemed the best pick. Robinson was a superior athlete, earning letters in four sports (track, baseball, football and basketball) during his two years at UCLA. He had served as an officer in the Army, and was open to the challenge of being a trailblazer. A unique blend of aggression and temperance, Robinson’s understanding and ambition positioned him to endure the risks associated with playing in the Majors. Through many conversations, Rickey went to great lengths to understand Robinson’s personality. But he also made it clear to Robinson that the role he would need to play was a difficult one. Becoming the first black player in the Major Leagues would not be easy; Rickey made certain that Robinson knew he could not act on the anger that he would feel from the racist comments and acts inevitably directed his way. Before the papers were signed, Robinson agreed.
In 1946 Robinson was given one year with the Dodgers farm team out of Montreal to become acclimated to the pros. Robinson became the first black player in the International League (i.e., the minor league) since the ban on African American players was made in 1890. The criticisms and jeers were fast and furious. Immediately the Dodgers had to move their spring training facilities because of segregation laws and attitudes in Florida. However, Robinson, Rickey and the entire Dodgers organization were committed. One year later, on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. At the end of the 1947 season, Robinson was named rookie of the year for the league. By 1949, he was MVP. In the years between 1947-1956 the Dodgers won six pennants and a World Series with some of the greatest black players to ever pick up a mitt. From Roy Campanella to Don Newcombe, Robinson was joined by a cast of African American players who will forever be remembered as some of baseball’s greatest players and enduring men.
Rickey proved to be something of a “genius.” His move not only pushed the Brooklyn Dodgers into becoming one of the greatest teams in the history of the Major Leagues, it also led to the wholesale desegregation of professional baseball. Rickey turned the conventional wisdom of the time on its head. He found a way to cut through the existing rationalizations for not signing a black player, and helped usher in an era of unprecedented success for the Dodgers. His effort changed the game, making him arguably the most influential general manager in the history of baseball.
From the Editor: Business decisions are often about culture and being unafraid to do the right thing in the face of resistance. Ultimately, having the vision and committment to embrace progress are the best bets any socially responsible manager can make. The combined talents and personal courage of both Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey resulted in a winning duo.
Monday, April 16, 2012
For Tim Zue, baseball was always more than just the fun of bat to ball, ball to glove. It was a sort of mathematical poetry, a numerical masterpiece, a geometric puzzle to be solved. And as a VP for Fenway Sports Management and director of business development for the Boston Red Sox, Zue’s path to front-office executive in the Major Leagues was as unconventional as it is inspiring.
Watching the ball
Zue grew up 10 miles north of Boston, and followed all the hometown teams. He played sports throughout his childhood, living out the on-field triumphs of his pro heroes, but as he says: “The Red Sox, for whatever reason, we’re always my number one passion.” He remembers staying up late to watch game six of the 1986 World Series. He was only a young boy, but Zue vividly remembers “watching the ball go through Buckner’s legs” and the disappointment that followed.
Last robot standing
If there was one thing that trumped the importance of the Boston Red Sox throughout Tim Zue’s childhood, it was MIT. The Zues lived and breathed Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Both my parents work at MIT; both my older brothers went to MIT; my mom got her undergraduate, master’s and PhD from MIT; my dad got his PhD from MIT,” Zue says. “The joke with my parents is that when I was born they were wearing an MIT sweatshirt, looked in the mirror and there was my name, TIM.”
For the rest of the article click here.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
While we all know the general story of Helen Keller, it’s worth exploring a slice of her early childhood and the impact of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Keller lost her ability to see and hear before her second birthday, and was imprisoned in her own mind. She was unable to communicate, isolated by the inability to see, hear or talk, and began lashing out as she grew older. There was little hope for the young child who became increasingly hostile and ultimately dangerous.
As her frustrations from her inability to communicate grew, her outbursts became increasingly aggressive. At the age of five, she overturned the cradle holding her infant sister out of jealousy (who was caught before hitting the floor by her mother), and once locked her mother in the pantry for three hours. She was becoming desperate, determined to somehow overcome her lack of senses but with no way of knowing how. She writes in her triumphant autobiography, The Story of My Life, “Gradually I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different, until she came – my teacher – who was to set my spirit free.”
Helen Keller first met Anne Sullivan when she was six years old. Through a mix of desperation, persistence, and hope, Sullivan strove to give Keller the keys to communicate. Immediately Sullivan would use her finger to spell out the names of objects in the palm of Keller’s hand. It wasn’t smooth. Keller notes moments of frustration, a complete lack of understanding for what Sullivan’s efforts meant, and how it could help her. But Sullivan never stopped. She kept trying different words and different ways to build associations. She kept trying to help Keller break out of her own head, and escort her into the surrounding world.
For the rest of this article click here.
Since the phenomenon of Moneyball, a baseball story of a few number crunchers on small-market teams using statistical analyses to effectively compete with large-market teams, there has been an influx of self-proclaimed geeks — advanced statisticians, engineers, economists, and MBAs with a focus on analytics — who have weaved their way into the very fabric of professional sport organizations.
Perhaps that is why comedian Drew Carey, known for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and the current host of game show “The Price Is Right,” initially seemed so out of place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference where he appeared on a conference panel with executives from the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Houston Rockets and Houston Astros. But Carey also happens to be part owner of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders Football Club, a 2009 expansion team. And he stole the show.
Not for his one-liners, but for his innovative ideas. After he completed his conference duties, Carey sat down to talk with us about how the Sounders were able to quickly establish a loyal fan base, set MLS records for attendance, and make the playoffs in each of their first three years of existence.
The rest of this article can be found here.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
As President and CEO, and driving force behind the initial investor group for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) DC United, Kevin Payne has watched his club and the MLS bloom from a seed of an idea to a product of national prominence.
The MLS started in 1996 with 10 teams, a niche market, and enough skeptics to sell out the World Cup. Once seen as a sure failure, the MLS has bowled over the critics, growing to 19 teams while recently surpassing the NBA in live fan attendance. As a league the MLS has not only endured, it’s managed to thrive, and early figures like Payne have made all the difference. With what seems to be a genuine mix of soccer passion and business interest, Payne has not only helped the league advance, has also put DC United on the map as arguably the most successful soccer team in the history of the United States. With four MLS Cups (league championships), four Supporter’s Shields (awarded to the team with the best regular season record), and a total of 12 domestic and international trophies, DC United has set the standard for stateside excellence in soccer.
With the early mantra of “The Tradition Begins,” Kevin Payne and the DC United franchise set two clear goals in 1996. First, play like a premier soccer team. Second, be a respected pillar of the community. Payne explains, “I believe that sports organizations have the ability to influence their communities and members of their communities for the good.” As with every team in every league in the world, DC United wanted to win, but less intuitive, they wanted to use their clout as professional athletes to positively impact the community. “You really have a responsibility as a sport organization,” Payne says, “to think more broadly about your place in the community than simply to win games and do well economically.”
Payne and DC United have embraced that responsibility, and proved a pacesetter in professional soccer. They were the first MLS team to incorporate a community relations department into their day-to-day operations, the first team to begin large scale charitable giving, and among the first teams in the league to create a 501c3, or a non-profit public charity. While DC United is a relatively small professional organization, Payne hasn’t let the size of his franchise or the perceived start-up status of the MLS limit his scope of the organization’s impact. Through United for DC, DC United offers a variety of charitable and service-oriented arms, including United Soccer Club, Kicks for Kids, and United Reads. Every year, the club provides a game-day experience for 7,500 DC youth, distribute over 10,000 books to schools that serve 1,500 children, and provide free afterschool soccer clinics to underprivileged children. DC United also serves its community in other ways, expanding its outreach capacity by inviting fans to participate in community efforts. Through United Builds, fans, DC United staff, and players work together in partnership with local charities, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army to assist with various projects. United Drives is another initiative that attempts to leverage the team’s fan base.
Every month, DC United selects a charity and asks fans to donate charitable items such as books, food, and soccer equipment. Further leveraging their impact, the organization invites local DC area schools in a competition to collect the most items on a monthly basis, and winners receive a pizza party with DC United players. Kevin Payne and DC United started with two clear goals. While one was less obvious than the other, both have served to guide the franchise toward unprecedented levels of success.
Payne believed that a competitive sports organization could also make a positive impact on the local community, and he turned his beliefs into reality. Just imagine, if the most successful soccer franchise in the United States can find time to heavily impact the DC community positively, what can your organization do?
This piece originally appeared at On Leadership at The Washington Post. For the original piece, click here
Even at 5’4”, Kim Mulkey stands out at Baylor University. Since 2005, she has led the women’s basketball team to five Sweet Sixteen appearances, three Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and a NCAA championship win. This year the Lady Bears started 23-0 and have been ranked No. 1 in the country. Since taking over as coach of the Baylor program in 2000, Mulkey has built a powerhouse, and credits her success to a few key factors. In a conversation with Mulkey, we learned what those are.
Mulkey arrived at Baylor more than a decade ago to take the reigns of a struggling basketball team that finished the previous season with a 7-20 record. The first-time head coach was committed to raising expectations on all fronts (personal, academic and athletics) and didn’t waste time. Under Mulkey, players were expected to go to class, perform well academically, be respectful and always work hard. Her standards quickly took hold, guiding a turnaround of unprecedented proportions. In the course of a single season, Baylor basketball went from laughing stock to the NCAA tournament.
Since that remarkable first season, Mulkey’s standards have never dipped. “I want to see them play extremely hard,” Mulkey says, “and I know I’m going to coach hard.” She has an almost intuitive sense for what her players need in order to maintain their effort — whether it’s a hug, wink or a kick in the butt.
The rest of the article can be found here.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
In only his second season as the skipper of the Stevens Tech Ducks, Gene Peluso guided the squad to its highest USILA Division III Coaches Poll ranking (as high as No. 5). Peluso has long been considered an elite Div. III coach, but with Stevens things seem to be coming together.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This week in New York City, the World Business Forum hosted several thousand execs, as well as the insights of nearly two-dozen speakers. From Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to generational guru Tammy Erickson to President Bill Clinton and former GE CEO Jack Welch, the two-day event was a two-day MBA. Of everything that was discussed—economics, leadership, business, management and more—here are the six moments that really dropped jaws:
1. “For most people success is measured in wealth and fame and power. For me, success is measured by how many shining eyes are around me.” – Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
Experiencing Ben Zander is transformational. His optimism and energy are infectious, inspiring us to consider how we can have a positive impact on our world.
Malcolm Gladwell talked about the difference between operational and social risks. The greatest leaders limit operational risk while taking enormous social risks—oftentimes losing colleagues and friends when dedicated to a cause. Those leaders, he said, “identify what they believe to be the right course of action, and they follow it regardless of the social consequence.”
3. “We are all so trapped in our normal patterns of thinking that we’re not even aware of it.” – Luke Williams, Frog Design
Williams drew a small audience into his compelling ideas about innovation, offering the additional resolve, “It’s not about being able to spot and react to disruptive change. It’s about how to be the disruptive change.”
4. “Great leaders are able to see that seed that, if watered and shed light on, will flourish.” – Tal Ben-Shahar, teacher at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, in Israel
Ben-Shahar’s passion for positive psychology is palpable and pointedly expressed with questions. How can we be more optimistic? What happens when we focus on what’s right rather than what’s wrong? How can we better lead by accentuating the positive?
Like Gladwell, Godin is an entertaining concept guy—and most compelling is his focus on conformity. He cautions against the herd mentality, and argues that our education system has taught us to follow and fade away. For Godin, we’re better than that and should fervently believe in the substance of our value.
Gladwell opens minds. In watching him talk to a small audience off the main stage, he dug into his upcoming book by highlighting the concept of ‘compensation learning’—that is, how we learn from compensating for our weaknesses (take dyslexia or asthma, for example). He looked at everything from parents’ paradoxical tendencies to shelter their children from the very forms of adversity that helped them grow, to how disadvantage can force profound development.
Check out @MenoConulting to see Dan Liedl’s entire live Twitter feed from the conference. And if you have an idea for what the Leadership Playlist should write about next, email Dan and Joe or find them onFacebook.