Coach Mike Kelly and “A Few Good Men”

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Leadership
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The United States Marines know exactly what type of men they want in their organization.  They project attributes of their organization that will attract those men. 

It is not any different with a Head Coach or General Manager in the industry of sport.  When putting together a staff one must first assess their own strengths and weaknesses and couple that with the values you want the organization to portray.  It is important to bring a group together by effectively determining the ties that bind. 

I’ve observed over three decades of staffs and teams being assembled.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with leaders that have a clear vision of what they want and each has had their own approach.  Some have fired entire previous staffs sight unseen.  Others have taken the time to interview each member of a staff in limbo and inevitably retain several.  Most Head Coach’s have a select group that they have grown accustom and trust those men to convey a consistent message of the vision.

An honest self-evaluation will help determine what attributes you are looking for in particularly hiring coordinators.  Seek people who play off of your strengths and fill the void of your weaknesses.  When identifying those candidates there is no substitute for face to face interaction and I will propose this, meet with them in their own environment first.  See them in an atmosphere where they are most comfortable so that they will exude the most confidence before bringing them into your workplace under the stain of a formal interview in an office of which they are not accustomed.

Look for people who are optimistic and positive.  Listen for key words such as “will” and “are” as compared to someone who uses passive terms such as “hope” and “try”.  There is no room for tentativeness in the environment we will  create and we are looking for genuineness in men that believe in what they are saying.  Talk about things that excite you and evaluate the interviewees’ level of acceptance and returned excitement.  You need people willing to talk about difficulties but don’t dwell on them and keep those conversations within the inner circle.

If you choose to keep men from a previous staff be clear in communicating your vision.  Great achievement and accomplishment requires hard work and your expectations of the level of effort and attention to detail  made very clear.  A comfort level by an old staff is attained and habits develop that are difficult to break.  Retained staff members have a routine in terms of hours they put in, how and when they enter and exit the facility, and interaction with support staff, fans, and most importantly positional players.  Your modus operandi is different from what they know from meeting schedules, to schematic approach, to teaching procedures, and acceptable communication with not only players but also with behavior of immediate family members and their interaction with the new staff and the public.

 Obviously you keep many of the players.  When Mike Ditka became Head Coach of the Chicago Bears in his first meeting with the returning team he told them, ” I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is, we’re gonna win the Super Bowl…the bad news is, most of you won’t be here when we do it”!   

Many factors come into play as you structure you team.  Free agency will play a key role and did the former regime identify a nucleus of key players to be extended prior to the FA deadline or are you put in a situation that has become unrepairable and the player is seeking a new environment not only for himself professionally but also a location that is more suited to his family situation.  Older veterans must be thoroughly evaluated in not only their physical attributes and productivity but also are they viewed by the locker room as truly leaders or self-serving individualists.  As you go through the roster and determine your strengths and weaknesses, does the roster have a good mixture of youth and productive veterans across the board with an eye to how many more seasons do the veterans have maintaining a high level of play and does your younger players have the attributes you are looking for to continue to develop and add depth to the roster.

Do not be afraid to take risks.  We all must find  our own level of comfort when trying new things.  Some fighter pilots are scared to speak in front of large crowds while many accomplished public speakers are afraid to fly.  The only measuring stick you have is you.  What others think as fire storming through a roster is your idea of building a team that you envision.  It is not easy but nothing worth while ever is, it”s a cliché’ but you must have a hardiness factor and be willing to accept failures and focus on the challenge, control, and commitment to develop that hardiness and mold a group willing to accept challenges and encourage possibilities.

  1. Yen Empie says:

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