The Wall Street Journal published a great article about Urban Meyer and the leadership coach he put on staff, Tim Kight. The gist of what Kight taught the team is that an event and the response together equal the outcome. In the terms Covey used, there is a gap between the stimulus and your response. You get to decide how you respond.
Every time the Ohio State Buckeyes football team has experienced what should have been perceived as a seriously negative event, they have been coached to believe that they have an opportunity to decide how to respond. And they have had events that would have shaken the belief of any team, including the loss of two Heisman candidate quarterbacks, an early loss to a team they should have beaten on paper, and the disbelief of most all of their critics.
What I hope strikes you most about all of this has nothing to do with football, nothing to with Meyer, and nothing to do with the amazing season Ohio State has had. They just serve as excellent examples of a bigger lesson.
What I hope strikes you is that a high-performing, high achieving leader brought on a leadership coach for his team. He didn’t hire a coach to speak once, hoping that would be enough by itself to carry his team through the year. He made in investment in coaching and developing a certain mindset.
I hope that you are struck by the fact that this leader believes so strongly that the game is won and lost first in the minds of his players and only then on the field. I hope you recognize the extraordinary power of belief when it comes to producing results. It is difficult to beat someone (or a team of someones) who refuses to allow themselves to be beaten in their minds.
There is a power in morale, unit cohesion, esprit de corps. You don’t get this force multiplier when some people in a group share a different set of beliefs and when they don’t believe they are part of something.
Leadership isn’t an easy art. But the heart of it may be in building the mindset and belief system that high-performing teams are built on.