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Leadership Is The Key To Success

October is a melancholy month for me. Every year on October 25th, I have a reminder that in 2014 I lost my college coach – Dave "Ice" Icenhower.

“Winning breeds winning.” He used to say…over and over and over again. Until we believed it!

If you’d like to experience his conviction, watch my Hall of Fame Coach in this video. He is the fourth-winningest coach in NCAA Wrestling history, with five National Championships.

If he ever thought he stopped coaching me the day I walked off the mat after the 1981 NCAA Division I Championships, nothing could have been further from the truth. His teachings have survived the test of time, and a number of them have been incorporated into Butler Street training.

As an athlete, how would you like to compete for a Hall of Fame coach?

How would you like to be coached by two Hall of Fame coaches?

That’s me. My high school coach, Greg DeMarco was also a Hall of Fame coach and taught me all about personal accountability when he said to me after a tough loss and heard me use every excuse in the book:

“If you feel unhappy with your results, you have only to look in the mirror and stare the culprit straight in the eye.”

I still use that quote today.

Both died too young, in their sixties. I loved them both with all my heart. And I am more than ever appreciative of their impact on my life. They weren't just coaches; they were leaders.

Add to this a strong family led by my Dad and my older brother Bill, one of the winningest coaches in New York state history, winning three straight NY state titles and retiring with a 58-0 dual meet record over his final three years.

I have been blessed to have leaders, coaches, and champions in their field all around me.

I have been on three national championships teams. That is very cool at any level of collegiate athletics. And I feel the same way about our Butler Street team. If there was a national championship team for training, I am sure we would be at the top of the podium!

Winning breeds winning.

Yes, I said it again because it is what I call a “Simple Truth.”

How does winning translate into business?

While athletic examples may not resonate with everyone, Butler Street's training and approach recognize that success in sales, recruiting, and leadership mirror athletics. Winning truly does breed winning.

So, if you do not want to “compete” in business, you probably shouldn’t be in a sales, recruiting, or leadership role. Ultimately, sales, recruiting, and leadership are a combination of wins and losses. In business, as in life, it is binary. You either win, or you lose. Both are useful. You build off your wins to replicate them. You learn from your losses to make them successful failures. That is what I learned from some of the greatest coaches I have had the privilege to be mentored by.

If you want to be a best-in-class organization, these are five key takeaways I learned from the best:

Recruiting and retention

It is the foundation of everything in both business and sports. Always be recruiting. Whether a wrestling team or a company, you are only as good as the people who represent it. The key to being a great recruiter? Listen more than you speak. You have two ears and one mouth. You can learn more about a person by listening than by speaking. That is how you build trust. That is how you “win” the relationship.

Continue to develop values as well as skills

Coaching and practice is key to success. Treat competition as a virtual classroom. Working to analyze your team’s shortcomings and strive for the elusive “perfection.” Remember, "progressive improvement is better than postponed perfection,"-This must be the case both with the utilization of core values and your skills as a leader, salesperson, or recruiter. A high-performing team without core values is not a high-performing team! Teamwork implies interdependence and continued and balanced improvement in all areas. You can create a championship team by putting personal development as the top priority over winning. Creating positive habits must be the mantra. If we all work to do what we are capable of doing, good things will happen.

Diversity adds strength to any team

My coaches were “color blind.” They never wanted a team of look-alikes, act-alikes, and think-alikes. Our teams were highly diverse—with people from different socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and demographic backgrounds. My coaches taught me that differences add depth, create strength and bring balance to a team. We all learned from each other.

Nurture internal motivation

Great leaders encourage us to develop internal motivation without needing external recognition and rewards. Leadership guru John C. Maxwell says, “Great leaders put their people in position to do great things without them.” Leveraging a participative coaching style can put your teams in position to do great things without you. That is what "Legacy Leadership” is all about!

And finally…

Building a great team is not something you can take a step back from and admire when complete.

It is an ongoing process of design, laying the foundations, recruiting, developing, adjusting, building, bonding, changing, detailing, refining, and renovating. We never quite get it right. It is never perfect, and it is always under construction. The same applies to each of us.

At Butler Street, we provide the structure, process, and coaching to make "legacy leadership" a reality! Contact us to learn more about how we can help your leaders develop leaders.


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