I watched a press conference last week for a coach who had just been hired to take over a struggling basketball program. I have followed this coach on and off for a number of years as I coached against him when he was a collegiate player. He played incredibly hard, was fundamentally skilled and his name was Sundance. With that name how could you not follow and root for him. As I watched his press conference he repeated one phrase a few times that caught my attention and forced me to open my notebook up to scribble a few things down.
He kept using the phrase OKG. He must have said OKG three or four times before he explained what that meant. Our Kinda Guys.
When you hire, when you find prospects, when you put a team together – what are your kinda guys. Sundance was talking about getting his (our) kinda of people into his program and onto his team. Our company (Polaris Solutions) goes through a lengthy hiring process to make sure we get OKG’s. A few weeks ago one of our clients mentioned how impressed he has been with each person from our consulting company. He followed that statement up with questions about our hiring practices and how we develop our employees. Simple now – we get OKG’s. The list of traits that he used to describe us were – passionate, driven, collaborative, problem solver and intelligent. If you were to look at our team, this would be a sample of what makes up our OKG’s.
If you are building your team, department or company – I would encourage you to have a list of exactly what your OKG’s are. What are you looking for, what are the non-negotiables that you must have that make up your kinda guys/gals. I would be interested in hearing what are the traits you look for when finding Your Kinda Guys.
Listening to Lewis Howes interview with Urban Meyer (Head Football Coach at Ohio State) – Some great quotes and thoughts on teams and leadership.
The first and most important job of a leader is to earn Trust. You can only push and lead a person as far as they trust you.
Two things every player and employee needs – Hope and Opportunity.
- You eliminate either of those two its combustible – it will explode.
- Its our job as coaches to make sure every player has hope and opportunity.
What builds more character – someone that wins a lot or someone that loses a lot?
Do your habits reflect your dreams and goals – if not, then change.
I’ve only kicked a basketball at a player once. I missed his head and instead hit a window. Not my greatest moment but as I learned that day, every coach has pet peeves and it is up to players or employees to figure these out, steer clear of them and distribute this information to the group. My top three pet peeves that my players quickly picked up on were – Don’t be late for anything, Don’t blame anyone for mistakes and Don’t say I, Me, Mine. For whatever reason those three behaviors on teams that I coach, drive me crazy. It’s quite simple, Be on time, own mistakes so we can improve and say We, Ours and Us. Simple…right.
For about 15 years I have made it a point that when I was with a head coach, boss or director that I would say things like:
- Your team -Your company
- You should feel good about this or that
- That will really make you better
- I’m sure you will win with this or that.
- That sales opportunity will be great for your company.
I’ve said things like this for literally 15 years and never has anyone, a coach, executive or leader ever stopped and corrected me to say Us or Ours or We. Until last year when I was stopped and corrected. I took note of this and smiled because I’ve often wondered who would be the person to finally make that correction. A coach that I admire once said “You dont work for someone, you work with someone.” When I was corrected I remember thinking this – you dont work for me, we work together.
Last night I had a late online meeting with 10 co-workers. We are all currently at the same client working on a variety of software related projects. We meet every few weeks to discuss where we are with our projects, what we can do collectively to help one another and make strategy decisions to help position our client for success. During this meeting I was speaking about our team and the success we have been having – but I framed it as if I was not a part of or included in the success in the project. Literally all of them stopped and corrected me at the same time to make sure I was included and acknowledged in the team’s success. “Quit saying your or them..Say We – you’re a part of this” – Perfect!
First thing you need to do with your teams. Stop everyone from saying I, Me, Mine – get everyone to say We, Ours and Us. Build a team and community where everyone has a sense of ownership and inclusion. That everyone is important and valued. That we are a team.
Notice the people that consistently say I, Me, Mine – correct them. Build that standard within your culture.