Friday, October 12, 2007

Leading When Things Are Not Going Well

In general, I have a dislike of most "leadership" books written by coaches (and former coaches) of sports teams.  They are usually just a cliche` fest, with annecdotes of feats of coaching brilliance that are supposed to impress us and teach us how to be leaders.  For the most part it's a tome that stokes the ego of the old coach.  They just don't have much substance to them.  Having said that, here's one that I think is an exception......

People reading this blog/email who know me well, know what an absolute "nut" I am about Ohio State and Ohio State football.  And with that knowledge they must be thinking.. "Miller has lost his mind".... with what I'm about to share.

This entry is about a new book that has come out by and on the career of Bo Schembechler.  For those not familiar, Bo is a legend at the University of Michigan (the most bitter rival for my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes).  Bo's redeeming qualities are that he was born and raised in Ohio, and spent time as an assistant coach at Ohio State.

The one thing we "Buckeyes" always knew deep down.... there was a true affection and respect in both directions when Bo was the coach at Michigan.  The rivalry was intense... but the respect was just as big.

Here's a brief excerpt from the book in which he talks about some profound learning he had as an assistant coach at Northwestern when they lost every game one season.  It's a powerful story. I've also included a link to the longer, more detailed version.

Be well.   /jef


Leading When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

In Bo’s Lasting Lessons, authors Bo Schembechler and John Bacon relate a story from Bo’s early days coaching. He learned a lesson about leading when the heat is on from his boss from his boss and mentor Ara Paraseghian that he carried with him the rest of his life. Here's that excerpt:...

... Before Ara arrived, Northwestern hadn’t had a winning season in five years, but in his first year Northwestern went 4-4-1, and everyone was encouraged. But in Ara’s second season, 1957, everything went to hell. We lost nine games—every single game we played! For a coach, that’s just about the most difficult situation you have to face. ....

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