Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This is a series of thoughts from "Competitive Leadership: 12 Principles for Success" by Brian Billick. Part II deals with being prepared:

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”
-John Wooden

...no aspect of leadership provided by a coach has a bigger or more lasting effect on the players and their performance than the methodology used, in installing and practicing of your system.

“Habit gives strength to the body in great exertion, to the mind in great danger, and to judgment against first impression.”

Maintaining a specific routine and level of preparation gives the players a sense of structure and security.

Entering the new millennium, over one-third of the entire league has a head coach with his roots linked to Bill Walsh. Those 11 coaches represent six total Super Bowls and four of the last five champions.

Teaching Elements:
-Being sure that the information you provide measurable reduces the uncertainty or hesitation in your players.

-Demanding concentration. Being assertive in your insistence that your players focus on the task at hand.

-Being exact, almost to the point of scientific precision

-Being sensitive to signs of physical fatigue.

-Keeping meeting times quality-oriented and making an effort to change the learning atmosphere.

-Constantly monitoring the retention levels of the team members.

“If it’s worth playing, it’s worth paying the price.”
-Bear Bryant

"If I don’t practice one day, I know it. If I do not practice the next day, the orchestra knows it. If I do not practice the third day, the whole world knows it.”
-Ignace Paderewski (pianist)

“Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
-Roger Staubach

To a point, it can be relatively easy to have a plan. The difficult lies in the details involved in developing a sound plan.

Keep in mind that however well-intended a plan is, it is only a plan unless it leads to action. Planning should be used as a tool that elicits purposeful activity.

By putting it in written form, a coach is provided with an opportunity to document the exact process needed to develop a specific skill.

Prioritizing your allocation of resources:

-Listing all aspects in your area of responsibility for which you would like to be better prepared.

-Identifying opportunities that you have to be better prepared for each item on your list. Specify what form that improvement might entail.

-Determining the resources that are needed to turn the opportunity into a reality.

-Assessing the feasibility of actually achieving the improvement detailed in the previous step.

-Deciding, relatively speaking, what possibility exists of you wasting your time on a particular area of concern.

-As appropriate, discussing your list with others within or outside the organization.

-Deleting areas of concern from your list that are unfeasible or inappropriate.

Deciding what really needs to be done is only the initial step. The next step is to determine how to achieve your goal of being better prepared.

If your army is not properly fed, your machinery properly maintained, and your communications channels kept open, your chances of success are limited.

When the Ravens were facing an opening 2000 schedule with five of the first seven games on the road, it was vital that we did everything as smoothly as possible as an organization to handle the logistical demands attendant to the situation. It is obvious to me that if we did not support the travel needs of our team (e.g., accommodations, meals, transportation, etc.) the long-term effects could be debilitating.

...while these types of “behind-the-scenes” jobs normally do not get much recognition, they are extremely vital to the success an organization might achieve.

“One of life’s mot painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn’t do our homework, that we are not prepared.”

The basic rule for implementing a plan of attack: “do it right and do it now.”

...there is not such thing as an unimportant detail. While some details may be more important than others, all are important. The reason some leaders are more effective than others is their enhanced ability to focus on essential details.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
-John F. Kennedy

“The only thing certain about the certainty is that nothing is certain.”

One aspect of contingency planning that you should keep in mind is that people and organizations are creatures of habit.

As a skillful leader, you must be able to respond to your circumstances as they exist — not as you would like them to be.

While life doesn’t always give you roses (even if you deserve a bouquet), you still have an obligation to yourself, your followers, and the organization to act in a responsible manner. You must approach each situation with an open mind and a get-it-done attitude.  Whatever the circumstances, to the extent feasible, you must be both able and willing to adapt to your behavior and your actions in such a way to position yourself to be successful.