Here are a few more gems from collegiate lacrosse coach Bill Tierney. After coaching Princeton’s men’s lacrosse team for twenty-two years, Tierney recently took the job as the University of Denver’s lacrosse coach. I live in Denver and have two teenagers who play for DU youth lacrosse teams so I am following Tierney pretty closely.
At a breakfast talk last week, Coach Tierney shared his core philosophy that I thought had a wonderful application to business. He explained how he wants his players to use their experience playing lacrosse to develop skills for use in all areas of life.
His encourages his players to have priorities other than lacrosse. His are God, family, education, and lacrosse. By not putting lacrosse first, he is developing well-rounded individuals. He is not exclusively focusing on the outcome of games (and I know winning is very important to him). He is helping his players reach their potential, period.
He went on to talk about how each player is different. Different players respond to different styles of coaching. Some need an encouraging approach while others need a kick in the butt. What’s implied here is that the coach knows his players well enough to know what kind of feedback will inspire them at any given time.
Lastly, Coach Tierney said that he loves his players. He said, “You might be surprised, but we use the word love around this team a lot.” Behind his understated and masculine exterior, you could tell that this man cared about the men he was entrusted to lead.
If I ever run a business again it will be based on love. In my past companies I focused on creating environments that people could grow as individuals (something I stole in the late ‘80’s from IBM’s core ideology).
To know, love and inspire those you lead – it has been the secret to success for Tierney, Wooden, Kelleher (Southwest Airlines) and many others. How does this philosophy compare to your leadership style or those who lead you?