Friday, August 24, 2012

It's All About Trust

Today I made the two hour drive to Upsala, Minnesota to meet with Coach Vern Capelle to talk coaching and it was well worth it! Coach Capelle has a great wealth of knowledge about the game. One of the things I really wanted to talk to him about was his 4 Out Drive Motion, which he has a video on. Along with the 4 out stuff, which was great, he shared a great insight on what makes him a successful head coach. He kept talking about trusting his players. He talked about trusting players to shoot even when they are having a bad night (and letting them know you trust them), trusting players to make the right reads/plays even when they've screwed up, and trusting players to do what you are asking. He discussed how that makes players play harder and more aggressive - because they know you trust them and have their back no matter the outcome. The faith is a motivator for players.

Coincidentally, today I started reading The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. One of the first chapters talked about when Turner Broadcasting (TBS) wanted to launch The Cartoon Network. They needed immediate programming so they bought Hanna-Barbera Cartoons (Flintstones, Scooby Doo, etc) because they had all the classic cartoons. Hanna-Barbera also had a studio, but the studio had struggled in recent years coming up with any hip, new, creative programs. Ted Turner gave the studio 2 years to turn it around or it would be shut down. The man he appointed to help with the turn around, Alan Keith, devoted all his time to switching the mindset of the animation team. When it was acquired, the Hanna-Barbera philosophy centered around churning out product as cheaply and quickly as possible. So Keith made the effort to change that mindset. Designers were given the freedom to be creative and take more time, explore more options, try different things, and come up with innovative, quality work. The managers were there to help the designers in the creative process not drive them. The process was long but what do you know, Cartoon Network eventually took off because of it!

What do these two stories have in common? As Coach Capelle does with his players, Cartoon Network's Keith TRUSTED his employees to do their best. Both men gave their people the freedom to be themselves and do what they were supposed to do, and do it well. It ended up with Capelle's team's being successful and Keith's TV network taking off. Same principle in both.

This whole thing also directly ties in with one of my favorite blogs of the last few weeks from Coach Sefu Bernard. In his blog, coach talks about great coaches being "guides in the side" and not a "Sage on the Stage". There are a lot of great Minnesota high school coaches who I have been privileged to watch them practice; coaches such as Coach Novak, Coach McKenzie, Coach Thorson, Coach Miller, Coach Klingsporn, Coach Liesener, Coach Fore, Coach Linton, etc. None of these coaches are a "Sage on the Stage" all the time, constantly doing a lot of talking and repeating. They are all the "guides on the side" for the most part, giving a little advice and then moving on and letting the players go. They are moving through the communication levels. They are teaching in bullets, not paragraphs. They are facilitators not lecturers. And they coach like this, again, because they trust their players. I would assume that Coach Capelle and TBS's Alan Keith are cut from that mold as well.

The last few days have really reinforced the importance of having trust in players. As coach Capelle said, it makes them player harder, and better. As people we all want to be trusted. I think it's one of the world's best feelings. I love that my wife trusts me and I trust her, it's why our marriage works. But I now wonder if I trust the players I coach enough? Do they know I trust them? I'm going to go back and ask some former players over the next week and see what they have to say on the subject. Should make for some interesting conversations.

No comments: