The Coach's Corner

Archive for June, 2013

Leading with the heart

June 24th, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

As we sat and watched Duke become Louisville’s latest victim during the NCAA Elite Eight, it reminded us of one of our favorite leadership books, Leading with the Heart, written by Coach Mike Krzyzewski. (See our recommended reading list)

Here are just a few of Coach K’s thoughts on leadership:

  • People want to be on a team. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel they are doing something for the greater good.
  • Too many rules get in the way of leadership. Rules put you in a box. Sometimes, people set rules just to keep from making tough decisions. (For more on this topic, see my post from May 27th “Please, no more rules.”)
  • Luck seems to favor teams where the members trust one another. As a leader, when you make a mistake, admit you are wrong. Apologize in front of the whole team.
  • If you put a plant in a jar, it will take the shape of the jar. But if you allow the plant to grow freely, 20 jars might not be able to hold it.

After reading the book, it became obvious why Coach K has been so successful. How do you and your company stack up against his common-sense advice for leaders?

Wow, 240-year-old company was able to change!

June 10th, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

We are on a roll with the value of the Harvard Business Review (see our HBR comments ). In the March 2013 issue, Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica, tells an encouraging story about why his company stopped producing the iconic encyclopedia and how they became a successful provider of online K-12 educational services. Click this link to listen to a 15-minute interview with Cauz: Harvard Business Review: Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Transformation

We have read about or observed so many companies that are not willing to modify their product to keep up with a changing marketplace and, as a result, die. Encyclopaedia Britannica understood and met their challenges head-on, which is why we found this story refreshing. We learned a number of things from Britannica’s experience:

  • They recognized the need to change at their sales peak.
  • They experimented with many different business models (i.e., spent money to do this). Most concepts failed, but they were not deterred.
  • They realized that their greatest strength/uniqueness was their editorial staff of researchers and scholars (i.e., high-quality content).
  • They resisted the urge to reduce their editorial team when sales plummeted.
  • They eliminated their 2,000-plus door-to-door sales force (I would assume they were a very powerful and influential internal voice at the time).

Cauz concluded his article by saying, “We don’t want to be like an old actor trying to hold onto his youth.” (Or, as we would say, be like Brett Favre!)

Are you in a situation like Britannica’s? Do you need to change?

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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