Helping You and Your Team Become
More Efficient, Effective, and Successful
More Efficient, Effective, and Successful
The Need for Positive Leadership
January 21, 2014
Dr. Howard Gauthier
Idaho Youth Sports Commission
Youth sports are an important part of the American culture. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s annual survey on youth sports participation, it is estimated that more than 21 million children between the ages of 6-17 participate in team sports on a regular basis. However, the survey also uncovered a disturbing trend; that sports participation rates for children between the ages of 6-12 are declining.
These declining participation rates can be explained, in part, by the findings from a second study conducted by The Aspen Institute and ESPN. This second study investigated issues that concerned the. . . (More)
Building A Positive Team
The research is clear, teams and organizations that are led by positive leaders achieve at higher levels. Positive leadership is a relatively new approach to how leaders should lead their team or group. All too often we hear horror stories of coaches berating their teams, or managers belittling their employees. While you need to be concerned with employees performing their tasks, and performing them correctly, you also need to be concerned with the eventual outcome - a winning season, a productive workforce, or a profitable year.
Positive leadership isn't a Pollyanna attitude where everything is great, and you ignore reality, quite the opposite. Positive leadership is creating a positive environment yet still confronting the brutal facts of your situation. Being a positive leader is hard work. It takes great effort, strategy, and intention to create positive interactions within the workforce. It doesn't matter if you woke up on the wrong side of . . . (More)
Are You Willing To Run Through a Brick Wall?
July 18, 2014
How bad do you want it? Are you willing to run through a brick wall for it?
These are the questions that many coaches ask their players as they challenge them to improve. This is also what former president, Harry S. Truman knew was one of the keys to success when he stated, "America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Former basketball coaching icon Jim Valvano also believed in the power of determination when he stated "Don't Give Up . . . Don't Ever Give Up."
Being determined to achieve your goal, or accomplish your objective, is one of the keys to effective execution. Determination is having the unwavering resolve to accomplish your goals and objectives. Most successful people, have at one time or another, had to overcome roadblocks in order to succeed. A few examples include: . . . (More)
Having An Attitude of Success
June 26, 2014
Many people consider Irving Berlin as one of the greatest songwriters in American history. He wrote songs such as "White Christmas", "God Bless America" and many more. In all, it is estimated that Berlin wrote approximately 1,500 songs in his lifetime. His songs reached #1 on the charts 25 times, were nominated for eight Academy Awards, and 19 were scores in Broadway musicals.
But life wasn't always easy for Berlin. He was born in Russia, and at the age of five his family immigrated to the United States. Settling in New York City, his family lived in poverty on the Lower East Side. His mother, father, and all eight children had to work to help make ends meet. To help support the family, Berlin quit school and began to work hawking newspapers. Life became even more difficult when his father died when Berlin was only 13 years old. A year later, to help ease the burden on his family, at the age of 14, Berlin left home. He lived in a flophouse, and became a singer in saloons for tips. As difficult as this was, this was. . . (More)
Engagement Enhances Your Passion
June, 4, 2014
Being passionate for what you do is one of the keys to proper and effective execution. Author and minister T. D. Jakes sums it up best when he said, "it is your passion that empowers you to be able to do that thing you were created to do." Donald Trump furthers this when he said, "Without passion you don't have energy, without energy you have nothing."
Passion is having a strong enthusiasm or affection toward an activity. When you are excited and passionate for something, you tend to work harder, practice more, take great pride in the quality of your work, and see projects through to fruition. This is supported by scientific research that shows. . . (More)
Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t, You’re Right
May 21, 2014
By Dr. Howard Gauthier
When I was a child my mother would read bedtimes stories to me as I crawled into bed for the night. When asked which book I’d like to read, the majority of the time it was “The Little Engine That Could.” It was a great book because it had an inspiring message and illustrations that allowed me to easily follow along.
I can remember it now. A train broke down and was stranded as it was trying to transport food and toys for the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain. In a desperate attempt to flag down another engine to help pull them over the mountain, three engines stormed by and refused to help. But finally a little blue engine stopped to help. This engine was small and it would be extremely challenged to help pull the stranded train over the steep mountain pass. But the little engine decided to give it a try. Slowly, the engine and train began to make its way up the mountainside. As the engine was struggling to pull the train, it began positive self-talk saying “I think I can, I think I can.” Sure enough the train made it over the mountain and saved the day for the kids.
This story illustrates the power your thoughts have in everyday life. . . (More)
While Skills Are Important, So Is Your Focus
May 8, 2014
I can see it now, you're coaching a big college basketball game on national television in front of millions of fans and one of your players is at the free throw line with two seconds to go in the game. If he makes both free throws your team wins, if he misses both shots you lose. What's he thinking at this moment? What's he focused on? Do negative thoughts such as "don't miss this" dominate his thoughts, or maybe even "I'll be the hero if I make these." The moment, the anxiety, the crowd noise, and the self-talk are deafening.
It doesn't have to be a college basketball game. It could be you presenting an important sales proposal to a major client, providing a speech at a luncheon, or presenting a new product concept to your boss. Or it could be as simple as you driving home in your car. Skills are extremely important to your activity but so is your concentration and focus . . . (More)
April 24, 2014
Have you ever worked for an organization where the climate and culture was extremely negative? If you have, you probably didn’t like your job. Conversely, if you’ve ever worked for an organization with a positive climate, where the employees felt as if they mattered and were encouraged to achieve, you’ve probably enjoyed your job and worked hard to produce quality results.
A climate within an organization is the employee’s perception of what it feels like to work at that particular company. When employees perceive that they are valued, and are important to the success of the organization, they become more engaged in the company. The employees in this positive work environment become motivated to work hard to help the organization succeed.
By contrast, in organizations with a negative environment, the employees are afraid to make a mistake and they become less productive. They don’t go the extra mile for . . . (More)
Success Is Like An Iceberg
April 10, 2014
Malcom Gladwell wrote about the 10,000 hours it takes in order to achieve "expert" status in an activity. This commitment and work effort is critically important as you strive to develop a strong foundation for your endeavors. Without this foundation, a person wouldn't be able to achieve at an expert level and they would end up being average to above average at what they do.
However, when someone is an expert at what they do, most people don't see the effort and commitment that went into creating their success. Take the Beatles for example. They came together as a musical group in 1960 and recorded 213 songs before they . . . (More)
Working Hard - You Have Two Choices
March 27, 2014
Thirty-one years ago Jim Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack team won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship beating the Houston Cougars in Albuquerque, NM. We still see the final seconds replayed several times each year. After a missed free throw by Houston, the Wolfpack rebounded the ball and advanced it into frontcourt before calling a timeout with 44 seconds remaining in a tie game.
Coming out of the timeout, the underdog Wolfpack decided to play for one last shot. This was before the shot clock was introduced into the game. The Wolfpack spread the court and played keep-away. The Cougars responded by becoming extremely aggressive and trapping the ball. Several passes were nearly picked off, but with 7 seconds remaining, a long pass forced Dereck Whittenburg to catch the ball 35 feet from the basket. He caught the ball with 4 seconds left and shot a desperation jumper that drew nothing but air. Lorenzo Charles, however, was under the basket, caught the errant shot and dunked the ball for the game-winning basket. Jim Valvano rushed the court looking for someone to hug. The excitement of . . . (More)
Perfect Practice Leads to Expert Performance
March 13, 2014
As a young basketball coach in the 1990's one of my philosophies was to teach the basic fundamental skills of the game. I studied John Wooden and saw how he was a real stickler to performing the basic skills correctly every time. When a player didn't perform the skills correctly, he would stop practice, correct the young man and continue on. This technique aligned with the teachings of Vince Lombardi, the great football coach of the Green Bay Packers, who believed that practice does not make perfect, rather perfect practice makes perfect.
In reviewing the research on skill development, you can see why perfect practice is the key to effective execution and being successful with your activities. Skill development advances through three stages beginning with an introduction to the skill. As you practice your skill, it improves and eventually becomes automated. This is similar to tying your shoelaces or shooting a basketball. At. one point in time, you weren't able to tie your shoelaces. . . (More)
Playing To Win
February 28, 2014
My heart broke for the members of the U.S.A. Women's Olympic Hockey Team last week in their quest for gold against Canada. I was impressed with the way the U.S. came out at the beginning of the game and dominated right from the start. I was equally impressed with the Canadian goalie. Shot after shot after shot was blocked, deflected, and denied. With this barrage of shots, you knew it was only a matter of time until Team U.S.A. scored.
Sure enough, not long into the period the U.S. scored their first goal, followed by a second goal a little bit later. The U.S.A. women looked unbeatable. But Canada was not going to be denied. The offensive barrage of shots and the offensive pressure we saw from the U.S. team at the beginning of the contest was now how the Canadian's were playing late in the game. Shot after shot after shot, the Canadian women were now on the offensive. It looked as if the teams had switched uniforms at the break. And then the unthinkable, the Canadians scored with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the game. This gave them life, hope, and motivation. They knew they had a chance to win. You could just feel the momentum shifting. . . (More)
The Fallacy of Accomplishing More Through Multitasking
February 21, 2014
We have all heard the argument – “but I get more accomplished when I multitask”. The fact is multitasking doesn’t lead to accomplishing more; it leads to making mistakes and creating errors. Think about driving and texting. Ninety percent of the time you’ll arrive at your destination, but along the way you swerve, miss your exit, and drive several minutes without complete focus on the road. And that 10% can have deadly consequences. This same inattention is what happens when you multitask in two or more activities at the same time. This could be doing homework while talking on the telephone, writing an e-mail while watching television, or any other combination of multiple activities.
Dr. David Meyer, a cognitive psychologist and the Director of Brain, Cognition, and the Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, believes that multitasking is a myth. He is an expert in brain science and multitasking. He explains that . . . (More)
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Head Men’s Basketball Coach,
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