A Junto Strategy Project
As I’ve noted before, I am a sports radio junkie and one of my favorite radio hosts is Jim Rome. Yesterday I was listening to him interview Michigan basketball head coach, John Beilein. Michigan is in the Sweet 16 again after a great run to the NCAA finals last year.
During the interview, Rome asked Beilein how he went about establishing a new culture at Michigan. Beilein then shared how they changed their approach to developing their program culture. At previous organizations Beilein and his staff had focused on “walking the walk” and that the players would follow.
But after struggling for a couple of years at Michigan, he realized that this was not enough. He needed to help the players truly understand two key elements in order for the program to take the next step. First they needed to understand what it meant to be a Michigan man and what the Michigan brand stood for. Second, they needed to understand their own personal brand and how they showed up not just on the basketball floor but in all the other areas of their life.
Beilein’s comments struck a nerve for me. For the last several months, I have begun working with individuals and organizations around this idea of building a personal leadership brand and that before you can turn around an organization or help a leader become who and what they need to be, they need to understand their brand first. A good example or model is simply not enough.
The old Greek maxim, “Know Thyself” is the first and most fundamental step toward becoming a great leader. Unfortunately too many people want to skip the first step, because it can be a painful process to look in the mirror and understand how you really show up and face head on what your shortcomings are.
I am glad to see that for a few basketball players in Michigan they are getting one of the best leadership lessons they could possibly get from a coach who clearly understands how to lead. I may not be a Michigan fan, but I’ve now become a John Beilein fan.