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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DEMANDING EXCELLENCE

One of the things I learned early as a coach was that you truly get what you tolerate.  It was important that you had in mind that which you must accomplish to be successful and that you demanded the effort -- mentally and physically -- from yourself and those around you on a daily basis.  The most influential people in my life was my father and my junior high coach Allen Osborne.  Both were very demanding in their expectations of me.  I didn't always enjoy those moments when I was held accountable but I always respected them and now have a greater appreciation for what they were not only trying to accomplish at the time, but teach me for later in life.

The following are some thoughts in being demanding from Bob Knight in his book "The Power of Negative Thinking."

The key to consistent execution is to be demanding. The word demand is important in leadership success. Demand is a negative word, since it assumes a critical lack of action or production. The best teachers and the best leaders are the most demanding people I’ve known-intelligently demanding. Don’t demand of people what they can’t do. Demand what they can do.

Always remember that the people you lead are going to be satisfied with the minimum of what you demand. Maximum results come from maximum expectations-not unrealistic, but maximum. Tolerant people do not make food leaders. Successful leadership is being hard to please-and your players or employees or students know it. They will settle for what you tolerate. A great leader is an intolerant one.
It isn’t just you playing hard. It’s you making other guys play hard. I can’t do it all. You’ve got to demand to other guys that they have to play harder. You’ve got to get on these guys.

Recruiting was where demands had to start. I was often asked what was most critical to me in evaluating potential recruits. It’s a good question, but not one that fits into any formula.
First of all, I wanted players who were going to be the most difficult to play against, because of their athletic ability and the way I thought they could play defensively, learning and accepting my mistake-avoidance strategy. Then I thought about unselfishness. I also thought about skills. These kids were all good athletes, so their attitude was more important to me.