Recently, I was honored to speak in Las Vegas at the largest HR Conference in the world, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. My topic was Growing An Engaged Culture and thousands upon thousands of people from all around the globe gathered to discuss honoring and improving the human element of organizations.
On the same day that I spoke, legendary Duke Men’s Basketball Coach and Olympic Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke. The five-time NCAA National Champion and three-time Olympic Gold Medal Coach entered the stage in front of more than 15,000 excited leaders.
In his keynote speech, there was one element in particular that got my attention immediately and fit beautifully with all I had shared at the conference earlier.
He spoke passionately about how he begins each new season. Whether it’s with the next Duke team in line to carry on their winning tradition or a gathering with some of the best basketball players in the world who have been selected for Team USA, he starts each new adventure the same way.
He gathers the group together to gain alignment and start the conversation about who they aspire to be. He’s always very aware that some of them may be back for another year on the team, but it’s a new year and they need to experience this team as if it’s the first time.
He explained how he stands in front of the group and he poses one question: “What do you want the standards of this team to be?”
And then he steps back and listens.
One by one, the players on the team stand and voice their thoughts about the type of team they want to have. They talk about the standards they think are important. Each one brings his voice to the team. They put their name behind their comments and make subtle requests of their teammates. The conversation goes on for as long as it needs to in order for each voice to have a say, but also to honor the other voices.
When it is time to wrap it up, Coach K then steps in and explains to them that there are no rules on this team. He explains that rules are someone else’s expectations that are placed upon you.
“We don’t have rules. We have standards we decide on together.”
Even in his position as the Olympic coach, he has stood in front of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and others who have won NBA championships in their own careers and calls them into a process to create this new team. It’s a new year and will necessitate new focus, spirit, and commitment.
Jason V. Barger is a globally celebrated keynote speaker, leadership coach and author of Thermostat Cultures, Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember. He is founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, a Columbus-based company that works with businesses and organizations worldwide. Connect with Jason online at www.JasonVBarger.com, via email at jason@JasonVBarger.com or on social media at @JasonVBarger.
PS. If you liked this blog post, you may also like these!: