Geron Stokes is the head football coach at Dublin Coffman High School. Throughout the course of his career, he’s won two state championships and has led his team to many wins. However, that’s not how he measures success in life or with his team. Geron is solely focused on his purpose of maximizing people. I asked Geron to speak at my 2023 Learning Leader Growth Summit in Columbus, OH. He said yes and then proceeded to absolutely crush it. I love his energy, passion, and his clarity of purpose. I think you will too.

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The Learning Leader Show

  • Own it, live it, create it, see it, say it, change it, honor it, punish it, repeat it, evaluate it all. – The core components to building a world-class culture.
  • Who are your foxhole people? They are the ones who are there when it’s hard and they’re there to celebrate when it’s great. They are honest, caring, and they love you. The best way to build a great foxhole group? Be a loving, caring, and honest friend to others.
  • How to build a great foundation which sets you up to build a great culture? Be trustworthy and trust-WILLING person. Be vulnerable, open, and honest, and create opportunities for shared suffering. It takes time and intentional effort, but it’s worth it.
  • Geron was always leading the younger quarterbacks when he was in high school. “The quarterbacks stay. You need to know what’s going on, for now, and in the future”
  • Coach Dave Carroll had a huge impact on how Geron coaches… Tough, demanding, high expectations. He wasn’t for everyone.
  • From Brook Cupps: “From my perspective, it’s been really cool to watch his progression from a self-serving arrogant kid to an ultra-impactful leader and father.”
  • Geron’s purpose is to maximize people. Here is how he lives that out…
    • Own It – Come to grips with my #1 Job – Get the most out of people. More than they can ever imagine. It HAS to be a love thing! Can I get them to work, care, execute, serve, give, and love more than they ever have in their life? My job. Not their’s. Wake up every day knowing my responsibility. “I’ve gotta get the best out of these guys today.”
    • Live It – I set the example for everything. I AM THE STANDARD! Have to be. Am I trying to maximize myself? Every. Day! How do I show up? Do I represent the values I’m trying to pull out of the people? They aren’t going to do it by themselves. They can’t. Stop expecting them to! I need to show them to engage them. Am I pouring my heart and soul into everything that I can?!? “The best thing you can ever give someone is a strong example,” “Preach the gospel every day, and sometimes use words.”
    • Create It – Environment matters. Cultivate relationships every single day. Do they walk in knowing we’re getting better today? Energy. Enthusiasm. Struggle. Hard, Tough. Work. Demanding. Constant. Growth. Whatever level you’re at. Just. Get. Better. EVERY. DAY! My relationships, time, & effort with my people is the soil! Maniacal about who, what, and how. Everybody! All the time. Daily requirement: get the environment ready for growth!
    • See It – See it as it is. See it better than it is. If I can’t see it better, how do I make it better? Reality to vision. The best see it at a different level. Extremely high standards! Competence matters. What is an acceptable standard? Can it be done better?
    • Say It – Any and all feedback. Do I care enough to tell them? Usually with questions! Intent matters. Relationships matter. Make it personal! It doesn’t have to be said exactly the right way. IT NEEDS TO BE SAID. They have to HEAR it & internalize it. “Good job” doesn’t exist in our world.
    • Change It – It must improve. Whatever it takes. Fix/correct/punish/measure until it actually changes. Spend extra time. Refuse to accept excuses. I love you so we have to make this better. Continue saying it!
    • Honor/Punish It – Celebrate. Loudly. Be specific. Recognize it. Measure it. Reward it. Make it a big deal. Every important detail. Ingrain it into the culture of the group. “That’s not how we do things here.”
    • Repeat It – Do it over and over and over and over again. The hardest part isn’t doing it. The hardest part is doing it every single moment, every single day, over and over and over. 
    • Evaluate It All – What is working? What isn’t? How do we keep getting better? What needs to be changed? CONSTANT. 24/7365. ARE WE GETTING THEIR BEST? Fanatical about improvement.
  • Daily Questions To Ask Yourself:
    • Am I at my best?
    • Are my intentions right?
    • How can I get the most out of everybody today?
  • I need to be on fire. Energy/Attitude is right. Seeking ways to make an impact. Is it about me or about them? Act your way into feelings. What do they need? Pushed? Pulled? Energized? Inspired? Demanded?
  • Apply to be part of my Leadership Circle

Time Stamps

00:00:32 – Impactful People In Your Life

00:03:09 – Can You Still Be Demanding Today As a Coach?

00:05:52 – Can Coaching Translate to the Corporate World?

00:10:45 – Can You Learn to Be More Direct With Communication?

00:20:28 – Characteristics of a State Championship Team

00:29:25 – Maximize People

00:31:20 – What is a Foxhole Person?

00:40:18 – Own It & Live It

00:44:47 – Create It & See It

00:46:08 – Say It & Change It

00:51:00 – Honor/Punish It & Repeat It

00:53:12 – Repeat It

00:55:46 – Leaders Need to Evaluate Constantly

01:00:01 – End of the Day Prompts

01:01:57 – Goal Setting Process

01:04:08 – Advice for Young Adults

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 #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership