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Monday, July 25, 2011

BILL PARCELLS: CONFRONTATION IS HEALTHY

The toughest challenge I've face as a coach is taking a team that's performing poorly and turning it around.

You have to be honest with people -- brutally honest.  You have to tell them the truth about their performance and you have to tell it to them face-to-face, and you have to tell it to them over and over again.  Sometimes the truth will be painful and sometimes saying it will lead to an uncomfortable confrontation.  So be it.  The only way to change people is to tell them in the clearest possible terms what they're doing wrong.  And if they don't want to listen, they don't belong on the team.

If you want to get the most our people, you have to apply pressure -- that's the only thing that any of us really respond to.

Creating pressure in an organization requires confrontation, and it can get very intense, very emotional.

I've actually come to relish confrontation, not because it makes me feel powerful but because it provides an opportunity to get things straight with people.  Its not until you look people right in the eye that you get to the sources of their behavior and motivation.  Without confrontation, you're not going to change the way they think and act.

Confrontation does not mean putting someone down.  When you criticize members of the team, you need to put it in a positive contest.  I've often said to a player, "I don't think you're performing up to your potential; you can do better."  But I also made it clear that my goals were his goals: "It's in your best interest that you succeed and it's in my best interest that you succeed.  We really want the same thing."  Once you set that context, though, you shouldn't be afraid to be blunt about people's failings.  You shouldn't be afraid to offend them.  You need to do what it takes to get a strong reaction because then you know you've reached them.

People can do more than they think they can.

Confrontation is healthy.

This came from a chapter written by Bill Parcells in the book "Building Better Teams" by The Harvard Business Review