Sunday, February 19, 2017

Elevation without Preparation

Do you work for someone right now that was elevated without being properly prepared?  In the great world of sports, that's one of the greatest pitfalls to see coaches intensely pursuing elevation without proper preparation.  The unfortunate reality is, we have countless examples of leaders that were not effectively trained nor prepared for the position they are in and everyone suffers because of it.

I can approach this topic from several angles, but I don't want to just identify problems.  I want to stretch your thinking and offer solutions that would help with the problem.


  • Write down notes 1-2 pages of what you did the FIRST 6-12 months on your job.  Include important reminders that you learned the hard way so you can share with others so they do not have the same growing pains as you did.   What were your failures? What were your successes?
  • Identify Key Points of Contacts which are people that are directly connected to you and the things you need.  Before I left each program that I coached at, I left a 1 page paper of POC's with their preferred method of contact, for example it looked like this:
                  Athletic Director: Prefer's E-mail - ABC@XYZ.EDU
                  *Send him an e-mail with final game schedule and appointment to finalize eligibility
                  Athletic Secretary: Send E-mail and follow up face to face - ABB@XYZ.EDU
                  *Send her and Purchase Orders, Room Requests and final game schedule
                  Academic Advisor: Call (Ext 0990)
                  *Set up time for individual academic counseling for each player by August 31
  • Document what works well that you would continue if you were elevated to a higher role, and outline what you think needs to be changed and why.  It is important that you identify the why, because it could change.  So if the circumstances change, this "good idea" could actually turn into another concept that does not work well.  Keep in mind most things start out as a good idea, but as the time changes - we have to be willing to change with them.
  • Describe in detail your job duties, description and include an annual calendar of your deadlines and expectations.  This is what I call a "Season Planner" which is something I have had since 2010 when I got my first head coaching position.  This helped me to train, communicate and effectively lead my teams and I still use it to this day with my business.  A Season Planner helps you outline peak seasons verses rest seasons.  As a business owner, it is important to know supply and demand based on the season we are in.  Know the trends of your industry and the same is true for sports.  Know the season and what the priorities are during each season.
  • Last but not least - sit down and define your Core Values.  What are the top 5 things that you believe matter most to you and prioritize them.  These are your non-negotiables and no matter what opportunity or predicament comes your way - these are things that will not change.  It is important that you think of this write it down because as a coach, a player, career person or student, you are going to encounter many people that will try to tell you what you should do and how to do it.  You need to have your standards in place because if you don't, one day you will look up and find that you have compromised who you TRULY are.  
SPORTS: Within a team, it is necessary to constantly train and develop all players.  As the season progresses, you never know what injuries might occur so players need to be equipped to fulfill the missing role as necessary.  Any coach that blames losing games in injuries - really is saying "I did not train my back ups to be prepared for elevation when their opportunity came."  Train and prepare everyone on your roster because you never know what will happen tomorrow.  You must have everyone trained, prepared, equipped and empowered to step up when you need them!  

BUSINESS: As far as business management goes, this is something that could tremendously benefit the workplace morale and productivity.  Have your staff fully prepared for their current position and talk to them about what you do as their manager.  Tell them how long it takes you to prepare and how tough it can be to keep everyone on the same page.  Not in a complaining way - but to make those around you aware that you have responsibilities to fulfill, just like they do.

On the flip side, if you do not follow these steps and are elevated without preparation - then your subordinates will not have any respect for you.  Without respect, there is no buy in and without buy in, how will you win?  

I encourage you to PREPARE TODAY!  Thank you for reading and supporting KBJ Academy!