John U. Bacon has written twelve books on sports, business, health, and history, the last seven all National Bestsellers. His latest book is “LET THEM LEAD: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team.” His radio essays earned him NPR’s PRNDI Award for best commentary in 2014. He appears often on national TV, gives speeches across North and South America, and teaches at the University of Michigan, where he won the 2009 Golden Apple Award for “exceptional teaching.”
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- Be Patient with Results, Not Behavior – Accept where you are to get where you want to go. Be present so you can own your attention and energy. Be patient and you’ll get there faster. Embrace vulnerability to develop genuine strength and confidence. Build deep community over efficiency and optimization. Move your body to ground your mind
- Reduce Your Rules, but Make Them Stick – Make your rules few, clear, and connected to your larger mission. They have to be within everyone’s control to follow every day. When your people start enforcing the rules themselves, the culture has changed.
- To make it special to be on your team, make it hard to be on your team. The people who apply to the Navy SEALS and the Peace Corps are attracted to the difficulty. They know not everyone can make it, and that’s what makes it special
- You can’t motivate people you don’t know – Leadership doesn’t require rousing speeches; it requires that you get to know your people.
- The more power you give, the more you get -Select leaders for their ability to lead, not their ability to do the job they used to have. Leaders must know their jobs, know how to do their jobs, know everyone else’s jobs, and help them all do their jobs better! This is how you create “layers of leadership,” which benefits everyone, and keeps you from burning out.
- All credit goes to your people – If you give away the credit and accept the blame, you’ll be rewarded with loyalty. If your team succeeds, you will always get more credit than you need. “The reward of a job well done is to have done it.”
- John’s two initial goals when he took over the worst team in the state:
- Be the hardest working team in the state
- Win a state title
- On day 1, he set high standards — Previously, they were 0-22-3
- “Make no small plans, they lack the power to stir people’s souls.”
- John Bacon’s two rules:
- Work hard
- Support your teammates
- “Behaviors you can always control, performance and outcomes you can’t.”
- Life advice:
- Focus on yourself first
- Work hard and support your teammates
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