AuthorRyan Hawk

Episode 244: Bill Curry – The 6 Characteristics Of A Champion (Lombardi, Starr, Unitas, Shula, Bryant)

Episode 244: Bill Curry – The 6 Characteristics Of A Champion (Lombardi, Starr, Unitas, Shula, Bryant)

Bill Curry is a two-time Super Bowl Champion. As an NCAA coach, Bill was named National Coach of the Year at Alabama and later became the first head football coach ever at Georgia State. As an ESPN commentator, he regularly shared his thoughts with a worldwide audience of millions. When Bill talks of discipline and success, his life experience is proof-positive of the effectiveness of his methods.

Bill played for some of the greatest coaches of all time, including Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, and Bobby Dodd. His teammates included legendary players like Willie Davis, Bart Starr, and Johnny Unitas. Bill has studied the lives and methods of his personal heroes from past generations, ranging from Helen Keller and Rudyard Kipling to Theodore Roosevelt and Goethe. When Bill talks of leadership and success, his is a personal message molded by his extraordinary mentors and role models.  He is also the best-selling author of TEN MEN YOU MEET IN THE HUDDLE: LESSONS FROM A FOOTBALL LIFE. 

Episode 244: Bill Curry – The 6 Characteristics Of A Champion (Lombardi, Starr, Unitas, Shula, Bryant)

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The Learning Leader Show

“Everyone has the will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare.”

Show Notes:

  • The 6 common characteristics of champions:
    • Show up – on time, be early, every time, be punctual, read to be your best
    • Singleness of purpose – Vince Lombardi, “his focus was powerful”
    • Unselfish – Bart Starr – “he literally gave the shirt off his back for others”
    • Tough – Don’t make excuses, be great in the 4th quarter, never blame anyone else
    • Smart – Prepared, always last person off the field.  Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry did this
    • Never quit – Never give up
  • FEAR?  Prepare out of fear? – “There is some truth to that.”  “Everyone has the will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare.”
    • Personality, GRIT, Heart, Soul — “Keeping prepping when others aren’t”
  • The difference between good and great coaches?
    • Bobby Dodd (Georgia Tech) was a great coach.  A great coach can change your life.  They study the game so intently.  They intimidate other coaches with their brain.
    • Vince Lombardi would not tolerate prejudice or racism.  He had more African-American players than anyone else.  He was so precise in his methodology.
    • Don Shula had the ability to build relationships with each player
  • How can this be translated to the business world?
    • Reach inside the souls of the leaders — the gift we have is “Magna Nimitas” — Greatness of spirit.
      • Each person has a unique spirit – it’s beautiful.  WE have brilliance within us.
      • Directly challenging the leaders to understand their people
      • Narcissism destroys leaders
  • Bill sat down with his players and went over their goals
  • We all need to have our own board of personal advisors, mentors
  • Bill’s 4th year at Georgia Tech — John Robert Bell said “I know you can play/” –> The impact that had on Bill was immense
  • Bill as a mentor — He loves doing it.  He hears from at least one play every single day
  • Being humble — “I know two types of people.  People who are humble and those who are about to be humbled.” — “Ray Nitschke humbled me pretty good”
  • The huddle – We need every teammate on every play to survive.  The huddle is a metaphor for our culture.
    • Why does the huddle matter?  “You can’t be racist, sexist, everyone is part of that huddle.”
  • Unique exercises Bill does at companies — Understand each individual unique finger print, joining hands across aisles
  • The importance of intellectual curiosity and asking questions — “People ought to be skeptical… Ask questions”
  • “There is a fellowship of the miserable.  I love them, but I avoid them.”
  • Success?  His wife has helped him understand what success is… It used to be winning games.  He was miserable when he lost.  She taught him that’s not a rational way to live.
    • Now success is “Am I making a contribution to the well being of others?”
  • Important marriage advice — Do what you’re told and what you say you’re going to do.  Learn to listen.
  • Learning Leader – “I love that title!”

“Success = Am I making a contribution to the well being of others?”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE

Episode 243: Annie Duke – How To Make Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts (Thinking In Bets)

Episode 243: Annie Duke – How To Make Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts (Thinking In Bets)

Annie Duke is a woman who has leveraged her expertise in the science of smart decision making to excel at pursuits as varied as championship poker to public speaking. For two decades, Annie was one of the top poker players in the world. In 2004, she bested a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. The same year, she triumphed in the $2 million winner-take-all, invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions. In 2010, she won the prestigious NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded the National Science Foundation Fellowship. Because of this fellowship, she studied Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  Annie is the best-selling author of Thinking In Bets: How To Make Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts.

Episode 243: Annie Duke – How To Make Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts (Thinking In Bets)

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“Learning occurs when you make a decision and have feedback.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence =
    • Open-minded to people who disagree with them
    • They ask “Why am I wrong?”
  • Using “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” shows immense security in oneself.  Great leaders do this.
  • The “half life of facts” should never be 100% certain — “It does you a disservice in becoming more knowledgeable if you are certain you are right”
  • Hidden information — Invite others to share information with you… To collaborate
    • “Here’s what I think, but I don’t know…” –> We’re trained from an early age that those are dirty words, but they shouldn’t be. We’re supposed to always know, but having that mentality limits what you can learn
  • Put systems in place to allow exploration of alternative strategies
    • Do a deeper dive, consider all reactions. This will help you prepare in case something goes wrong.  You can put plans in place by acting in this manner
  • Why write Thinking In Bets?  Annie has a unique background: cognitive psychology, professional poker, decision making under pressure.  In poker: decision making is fast and furious (a hand of poker is 2 minutes)
    • “Learning occurs when you make a decision and have feedback”
  • The art of boosting academic research with stories and popular culture — Seinfeld, The Super Bowl
  • Listen to the disagreement Annie and I have in regards to Pete Carroll’s decision to throw a pass on the goal line at the end of The Super Bowl (around the 24:00 mark)
  • Most people are “resulting.”  They are not measuring the decision making process with all the facts, they just view the result.  That is wrong.
    • Resulting – “Using the outcome as the sole determination if the decision was good or bad”
    • While Annie and I disagree, we both had an open mind to what each other had to say and considered the other person’s point of view
  • A good approach in your business = Analyze the decision making process prior to knowing the result
  • Example: If a number of people are interviewing the same candidate (separately), the boss should wait to offer her opinion until the end.  Her thoughts will skew the feedback she needs from her teamCommonalities of great CEO poker players = They don’t think they’re good at poker.  They recognize they aren’t as good as the pros and they work to put themselves in higher odd situations to “get lucky.” (Listen around 45:00 to get the full context)
    • How to be a good head’s up poker player?  Recognize your strengths and weaknesses vs that particular opponent.  If you deem they are better than you, then look for “coin flip” situations (example: Ace King vs a pair of 7’s).  If you are better than your opponent then avoid coin flips and extend the match.  The longer the match, the better the odds for the better player to winThe importance of accountability:
      • How often does someone spout off without thinking?  If you follow that up with, “You wanna bet?”  How do they respond?  They probably rethink what they’ve said.  We should always “think in bets.”  Think of our decisions as being “bet worthy.”  If someone says, “You wanna bet?”  We should be in the position to say yes.  If we’re not, then we need to rethink what comes out of our mouths and the decisions we are making.
      • “A bet is just a decision based on a belief that you think is how something will turn out.”
      • If we think in bets, it forces us to seek out as much information as possible prior to making a decision.
      • That is a good thing and will help us make better decisions

“A bet is a decision based on a belief that you think is how something will turn out.”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE

How To Hire A Great Leader

A good friend of mine recently sent me an email asking for advice: “Ryan, I am in the process of hiring a few management positions. I have eight candidates lined up. What questions do you ask to hire great leaders?”

Below are some of my thoughts on: 1) The art of the interview 2) Knowing what you’re looking for, and 3) Understanding why you’re asking every question that you do. Prior to running the leadership advisory practice at Brixey & Meyer, I worked with large international corporations for 12 years in a variety of leadership roles. I’ve interviewed 500+ candidates for many different positions. Additionally, on my podcast The Learning Leader Show, I’ve interviewed 250+ of the brightest leadership minds in the world to better understand how we all can sustain excellence over an extended period of time. My thoughts have been formulated based on my personal experiences and the conversations on my podcast.

What Are You Looking For?

 

First – What are you looking for? What questions should you ask based on that answer?You’ll need to create this for yourself and it should evolve as you learn, make mistakes, have success, etc… And like a great stand up comedian, have a purpose for every word that you utter in the interview. Don’t “just ask questions” because that’s what you do in an interview. Ask questions that tie back to the qualities you are looking for…

What I Look For In A Leader

 

  • Self-Aware – Most people do not have this. Do they really know themselves?Strengths, weaknesses, etc. Are they able to express this intelligently?
  • Intellectually Curious – Will the person continue to improve/grow/adapt/evolve?What questions do they ask on a daily basis? How do they try to solve problems?
  • Well-Read — In my experience, people “who don’t have time to read” typically aren’t as successful long term as those who make the time.
  • Optimistic – Do they have the right outlook on life? Or do they think “with their luck” it will rain every day? The leader sets the tone for everyone.
  • Humble – Do they use the word “I” a lot instead of we? Do they blame others when things go wrong and take credit when they go well?
  • Thoughtful – Do they actually think? Do they take time to pause, reflect, learn, and improve? “The learning comes in the moments of reflection.”
  • Great Communicator – As a manager you need to communicate effectively across many spectrums – speeches, emails, working with colleagues and clients…
  • High Energy/Likable – Ideally, the team will like their boss AND respect him/her (my Dad is very good at this). High energy and likability are a good thing. Remember, people don’t leave companies, they leave their manager. Also, it’s hard to be a good teammate (with colleagues) if people don’t like you and/or you bring no energy to the room.
  • Confident – Not cocky, but sure of oneself. I like someone who has put in the necessary work to confidently trust in themselves to make good decisions.
  • Courageous – Have they fought through tough moments in their life? Are they able to make tough decisions when there isn’t consensus? Being a manager is a hard…

Some Questions I Ask (notice each question is tied to the qualities I’m looking for)

 

  • What is your process to learn something new? I don’t care what they are learning about (an instrument, a second language, historical people). I want to ensure that they have some sort of a thought process towards learning. The best leaders in the world are constantly learning. They strive to improve on a daily basis. If there is no process in place (even as simple as, “I love to read fiction books to boost my creativity” is better than a candidate who has no process to improve). And always ask for examples.
  • What books have you gifted the most to others? OR What books have influenced you the most? Why? (“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” – Charlie Munger)
  • (Start, Stop, Continue Exercise) What should you do more of (start), what should you stop doing (stop), and what is one thing that you’ve really figured out and should continue doing as a leader (continue)? This is a hard question and I don’t expect them to be perfect. Even great leaders will struggle doing this off the cuff… I actually like it when the candidate pauses and thinks for a little bit. It shows they have the confidence to really think and they don’t feel the need to instinctively say something. Hard questions will come up throughout the person’s life as a leader/manager/coach… I want to know how they will respond in those moments. I want someone measured, self-aware, thoughtful. It shows security in oneself. That’s good. If they rush it and say something like “I need to stop working 18 hours a day” then that is a red flag. Ask follow up questions to dig deeper and understand the implications of “their stop.” “What are the implications of you working 18 hours a day?” “Why do you do that?” — Asking why as a follow up typically helps the conversation go deeper. “Approach each conversation with genuine curiosity.”
  • What questions do you have for me? Sometimes I start the interview with this or do it in the middle. If they are intellectually curious, they won’t need to get out their binder and ask the pre scripted questions. They can ask the natural questions that should be in their mind. – Additionally, I love the candidates who ask me questions without any prompting (and this is something I always do when I’m being interviewed). I like the confidence and the curiosity of someone who is willing to ask questions whenever they come to mind. I want candidates who view this as a two way street. If the candidate is strong, they probably have options. They should be interviewing me just as much as I’m interviewing them… My best hires over the past 10 years have done this.
  • How would your closest friends describe you? How about your colleagues? I’m looking for some self-awareness… Every adjective named shouldn’t be positive. Does this person really know themselves? Great leaders have high levels of awareness (both self and situational awareness).
  • What are the commonalities of the greatest professionals you’ve worked with? – I want to know who they will be looking to hire… Hiring is the most important aspect of being a manager. Have they thought about this? I hope so…
  • What are the common traits of leaders you know who have sustained excellence? Why do you think those qualities make up a great leader? I’ve found that a lot of candidates start describing themselves because they assume they are a great leader. I hope that they are striving for something… That they realize “they haven’t arrived.” Additionally, ask for examples of the people they’re talking about. Maybe it’s a great boss, or someone from a book they’ve read. Ask why, why why…
  • How will you build a great culture? Can you define what a great culture is? I’m genuinely curious about this. Maybe they can help me learn… Primarily looking for someone who has thought about culture and how to build a great one.
  • Can you share an example of when you made a big mistake? What went in to that decision? Why did it go wrong? How did you respond? What was the result?Self-awareness, courage, humility – Looking for all of those qualities with this question… Also, if they start blaming other people during the course of this answer = red flag. As the leader, don’t blame others when things go bad, take ownership.
  • Can you share the process for the last big purchase you made? This question is to measure thoughtfulness and for me to learn how they make big decisions. Do they do a lot of research before buying a car? Do they negotiate with the sales person? As a manager, they will need to make big decisions. I want to learn about their process for doing that… Again, if they do not have a process for this = red flag.
  • Find ways to “simulate” experiences they will have on the job. Do micro role plays with them to see how they handle situations. (Conflict; tough decisions; personal vs. business tough decisions; etc).
  • Ask the candidate to share what they have done that validates they are an excellent communicator – public speaking; writings – this is one of the most important business skills. Sometimes I ask them to give me a 3 minute speech on a favorite topic of theirs – something they are passionate about (sports team, vacation, spouse, kids, etc.) – I want to actually hear them as if they are speaking to a group on a subject for which they have passion (as I will need them to do this every day in their job).
  • I need to get an understanding of what kind of teammate they will be for their colleagues – Seek real examples of the candidate being a great teammate (charity work, prior job, sports, church, etc.).

Additional Thoughts…

The greatest interviewers ask great follow up questions. They are active listeners. They do not “just wait to talk,” but they genuinely listen and if an answer sparks something in their mind, they dig deeper. Interviewing people on The Learning Leader Show every week has really helped me develop this skill. As an interviewer, this is something to think about.

Be okay with silence. Roger Dean Duncan shared a great anecdote that he learned from Jim Lehren: “He urged me to ask a good question, listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice.” Lehren explains: “If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.”

Find this article helpful? Agree? Disagree? Comment and let me know what you think. And please like and share it with others as well…

Ryan Hawk runs the Leadership Advisory Services team at Brixey & Meyer. He works with clients all over the world to help them be more effective leaders, managers, and coaches. He’s learned the commonalities of sustaining excellence from interviewing 250+ of the most thoughtful leaders in the world on his hit podcast, The Learning Leader Show.

CONTINUE

Episode 242: Daniel Coyle – The Secret Of Highly Successful Groups (The Culture Code)

Episode 242: Daniel Coyle – The Secret Of Highly Successful Groups (The Culture Code)

Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent, The Secret Race (co-authored with Tyler Hamilton), Hardball: A Season in Projects, and other books.  Winner (with Hamilton) of the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prize, he is a contributing editor for Outside Magazine, and works as a special advisor to the Cleveland Indians. Coyle lives in Cleveland, Ohio during the school year and in Homer, Alaska, during the summer with his wife Jen, and their four children.

Episode 242: Daniel Coyle – The Secret Of Highly Successful Groups (The Culture Code)

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“We tend to think that great culture is like DNA – some groups have it and some don’t. As it turns out, that’s not true. Great culture is something you can learn.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence = “They’re over themselves” – They do not have an ego. They figure out the big truths, get over feelings, have clarity, vision. Great communicators – Like an athlete, they can be obsessed.  Keenly aware, active listeners, intentional with actions.
  • Why write The Culture Code?
  • Spending time around great teams and businesses, “I love the vibe, it’s different.” Had a desire to understand how that happens.  How to create trust. “Typically we think of culture as in your DNA or not, but it’s not.  “Great culture is something you can learn.” The competition with Dan’s two brothers growing up led to this fascination and curiosity with building great team culture”We routinely deeply underestimate our environments and the effect they have on us.”
  • “As leaders, we need to create the conditions for excellence”
    • The 3 Skills — 1) Build Safety 2) Share Vulnerability 3) Establish Purpose
  • Build Safety – Why do a group of kindergartners do better than a group of CEOs?  The kindergartners have now agenda or care about credit.  They focus on doing the best work.  CEOs (in the study) were worried about who got credit and tearing each other down.
  • Safety is the single most important piece of foundation needed for great culture
  • Greg Popovich overdoes the “thank yous” – He regularly says thank you to the members of his team.
  • A painstaking hiring process – The single most important decision is “who’s in and who’s out.”
  • You should script the entire first few days of a new employees time at a company — Pixar example (20 minute mark) — “At Pixar, we hired you because we need you to help us make our movies better.”
  • John Wooden would routinely walk the locker room and pick up trash
  • Share Vulnerability – Functional notion that’s so important
  • “Sharing a weakness is the best way to be strong” — Navy SEALs example: The AAR (After Action Review)
  • The most important 4 words a leader can say, “Anybody have any ideas?”
    • Also, “I screwed up”
  • Over-communicate expectations
    • “We shoot, move, and communicate
    • “The only easy day was yesterday”
  • How to be a great listener
    • “Your goal as a listener should be to add energy.” Ask questions, don’t just sit there and nod.  Listen and absorb.  Help them leave higher than when you arrived.  Follow up to go deeper.  Being a great listener is a heroic skill.
    • Have “empathy and energy” as a listener — dig in to assumptions (unearth)
  • Aim for candor, but avoid brutal honesty – good groups care about relationships, not brutality.  Candor is a better word
  • “Culture: From the Latin word cultus, which means care.”
  • Great teams are made up of players who don’t want to let their teammates down.
  • Greg Popovich and other great coaches disappear on purpose to let their team figure out it through tough moments.  Smart leaders create opportunities for teams to struggle and figure it out. –> “The leaders job is to make the team great without him/her.”
  • Build a wall between performance review and professional development — When you combine the two, you get neither.  Toggle, create safety so you can be more open and honest.
  • Establish Purpose
  • What’s important now?  You must define that
  • Value statements aren’t super useful — “fill the windshield with a story.”
  • Clear narratives guide attention
  • Name and rank your priorities

“CULTURE: from the Latin cultus, which means care.”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE