X’s and O’s…I’m sure most of us feel pretty solid about our grasp of the nuts and bolts of the game. Of course we’re always trying to learn more and love to hear about the newest thing, but we’re mostly happy with where we are. But what about the intangibles, how many of us feel as good about those? About our ability to inspire those around us?
Check out this video by Simon Sinek called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s about eighteen minutes long, but I liked how it challenged us to think about not only what we do, but why we do it. He says that the “why” is how people are inspired, not the “what”. Quite honestly, the “what” can be the same at any school or with any coach…but the “why”? That’s all yours coach! So as you think about your “why”, let’s talk about how we can be inspiring.
Here are 4 areas that are important for a coach to inspire action
With administrators. Whether it’s new uniforms or equipment, a cross-country trip, an additional assistant coach, or even just a raise for yourself…we’ve got to give our athletic directors our “why”. For example, you think this could be your team’s year. The only thing you’re missing is an incredible team building experience that will bond your team together. You think that if they bond early, they’ll be good early, and gain confidence. That’s the “why”. The “what” is that cross country trip…it’s just a means to an end.
With players. This is the easiest of them all…we do this already. At the beginning of the season, we’ve got to get them on board with goals that they will work tirelessly toward…with no guarantee that those goals will actually be accomplished. A strong “why” will keep them motivated to get after it every day. The “what” is winning. But we’ve got to explain why that’s important. You may think that it’s obvious, but a strong “why” will keep them working even after a couple of losses.
With alumni. When we’re hitting them up for donations to our program, there’s got to be a reason why. Very similar to the administrator example, you’ve already got the “what” in common. They’re alums of your program…of course they want you to be successful! A good “why” will help push them over the edge and open up those wallets.
With recruits. Were you first on your recruits list of ten schools that they’re visiting…or #8? How will you stand out? With your “why”. Why should they come play for you? What’s different about you, your team, and your school that will inspire something inside of them to choose you?
What’s your “why”? Once we all figure out our “why”, then we can be truly inspiring. Every team wants to win and be successful…that’s the “what”. It’s our “why” that gives people something to believe in and will inspire them to action.