Friday, March 9, 2012

Bruce Weber - If You're Not Leading, You Should Be Following

My Alma mater, the University of Illinois, fired their head basketball coach Bruce Weber today after losing to Iowa in the Big Ten Championship.  Anyone who follows Illinois Basketball has been waiting for this day.  There are many lessons to take away from this decision.

Bruce Weber was the successor to Bill Self.  Bill Self since leaving Illinois for Kansas has won a national championship and received many head coaching accolades.  If you listen to Self and Weber speak, you instantly realize these two couldn't be more perfect opposites.  Self is a leader, excellent recruiter for top talent, and is a joy to play for because of his ability to achieve success while allowing his players to be themselves.  Weber is a game manager and an expert at outperforming with mediocre to good performers.  Less than a month ago after a loss to Purdue Weber stated, "you have to develop a culture and I think maybe the last three years all I did was worry about winning instead of developing a culture and a toughness,  that's my fault."  Watch the video, I can't say it better than Bruce.  Fast forward to about 3 minutes in to the video to get to the good stuff:

There you have it amateur HR athletes!  Leaders create, define and manage cultures with vision and communication.  Managers focus on the short term and details, such as hitting targets, and sometimes forget the big picture.

So what's the big picture?  Here's a hint, it's not winning.  John Wooden, the greatest head coach of all time on any list I've ever seen, speaks in detail about how he didn't pay attention to the score or care about wins and losses.  Instead, he defined what success meant to him in remarkable details.  From vision, to mission statement, to goals and objectives, John Wooden created a belief system that defined specific behaviors that were required to achieve success in basketball and in life.  That my friends is the big picture and leadership.

Defining success down to specific, seemingly meaningless, behaviors that facilitate success is leading.  Trying to win or succeed without defining how success will be achieved and what it looks like in simple and easy to understand terms is chaotic and stressful.

How do you spot a leader vs. a manager?

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