The college football season started last week. The college I attended doesn’t field a football team and so I didn’t really have a rooting interest until my older daughter went to the University of Michigan. I figured since I sent the Wolverines quite a bit of my money I’m entitled to call myself a UM fan. Michigan had a legendary coach at the school – Bo Schembechler – who gave what I think is some of the best business advice ever. Take a minute and watch it:
This is a boss doing some incredible things. First, he’s sharing his vision for what the team is about and some very specific goals. If there is one thing many bosses fail to do it’s exactly that. They may give out lists of tasks but they fail to paint a picture of the overall mission and where the team is headed.
Second, he’s demanding that every person plays as a member of that team. Implicit in that is that the glamor positions are nothing without the grunts in the trenches and those grunts can’t win without someone running the ball. As a manager you have to get every member of your team feeling as if what they do matters and every other member of the team appreciating the contributions their peers are making to everyone’s success.
Finally, he lets the group know that while they will have differences they ill put them aside for the overall good of the team and to achieve their goals. How many offices are torn apart by gossip and backstabbing? Bo lets the Wolverines know that he’s not having any of it.
I listen to this speech from time to time and UM’s official football shirt this year simply says “The Team, The Team, The Team” on it. It’s easy to remember but hard to execute as a boss. Go Blue!