Forbes.com Chasing Greatness Blog

Weekly inspirational examples of greatness that we can apply to our every day lives.

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USA Olympic Basketball Rebounds Thanks To Championship Culture

As the Olympic basketball competition begins in Rio, Team USA is favored for a third consecutive Gold Medal under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. This will be the last Olympics with Coach K in charge and the turnaround he engineered after a disastrous 2004 Olympics (where Team USA opened those games by suffering a 19-point loss to Puerto Rico!) is worth studying. Here is an excerpt from my new book, Great Teams, on how Team USA found its way back...

When it came time to choose a new coach, Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of USA Basketball, selected Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke University Blue Devils to lead the team. Krzyzewski agreed with his new boss that Team USA’s problem wasn’t one of talent but of culture. The players had stopped appreciating the importance of what they were doing and why it mattered that they show up every day prepared to play like champions.

Krzyzewski— a West Point graduate and US Army veteran— suggested that the team needed “feel- it moments” to drive home that players were now involved in something greater than themselves and to fortify the foundation of the team.

Great Teams Need Glue To Hold Together

The two most significant indicators that a team can be great are its level of grit and the strength of its glue. HUMANeX measures two key components of great teams: the depth of their grit, and the strength of their glue. Grit measures how a team drives ahead, responding to adversity and constantly improving its performance. Glue measures how a group sticks together, how its members coalesce into an effective team, especially in tough times. Today I’m sharing the second of a two-part blog (part one can be read here) about these characteristics and how they can help as you build your Great Team.

Derek Fischer. David Ross. Daryl “Moose” Johnston. Shane Battier.

None of these athletes will ever make it to the Hall of Fame but they played a major role in sports as they helped great championship teams stick together.

Ross, a backup catcher who has been a below average hitter for most of his career, is such a valuable teammate and locker room guy that he has been the top free agent target for iconic baseball franchises like the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs.

Great Leaders Don't Speak Ill Of Their Predecessors

Great Leaders Don’t Speak Ill Of Their Predecessors

Sunday night brought euphoria in Cleveland. The Cavaliers ended a 52-year major sport championship drought, winning the NBA title. On the flip side, the Warriors lost three games in a row to lose the championship. Despite the series outcome, most will agree the Warriors are a great team and Steve Kerr is one of the best coaches of the game.

But among the most impressive pieces of his leadership has been how Kerr has handled his walk past the man he replaced as coach of the team during each game of the Finals. Sitting on the sidelines, calling the games for ESPN, was Mark Jackson who coached Golden State for three years before being fired in 2014. While the Warriors made the playoffs for the first time in 17 years under Jackson, the team’s owners didn’t think he was the right coach to bring an NBA championship to the Bay and instead hired Kerr.

That gamble paid off as Kerr has led the Warriors to an NBA title last year and a record number of wins this season. One of the reasons Kerr has been so successful is the respect he has shown Jackson.

Tom Glavine Proves The Right Adjustments Can Take You To The Hall Of Fame

In Game Six of the 1995 World Series, pitcher Tom Glavine took to the mound for the Atlanta Braves and pitched a masterpiece, going eight innings and giving up only one hit to the Cleveland Indians.

There was a lot of weight on Glavine’s shoulders that October night. After having spent much of the 1980s in the cellar, the Braves had come close twice in the early 1990s to winning a World Series but had fallen short both times. But, as Glavine headed off the mound in the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead, he turned to manager Bobby Cox and asked to be taken out of the game, much to the displeasure of the more than 50,000 Braves fans in attendance.

Glavine realized he had run out of gas against the Indians. But, over the years, he had built up a strong relationship with Cox, earing his manager’s trust. Glavine knew what he was capable of better than anyone else and gladly stepped aside as closer Mark Wohlers came in to pitch. After his strong performances in two games, Glavine was named the World Series MVP, a high point for a pitcher who always knew how to evaluate himself.

Want To Build A Great Team? Hire Terriers, Not Poodles

The two most significant indicators that a team can be great are its level of grit and the strength of its glue. Today I’m sharing the first of a two-part blog about these characteristics and how they can help as you build your great team.

Great teams need to bring in people who value being challenged over being comfortable, one of America’s leading experts on recruiting has found, putting in canine terms who the best organizations want and who they should avoid. From studying athletic teams, colleges, school districts, and businesses, Brad Black, the president and CEO of HUMANeX Ventures, says teams “need to bring in more terriers and avoid poodles.”

Black measures two key components of great teams: the depth of their grit, and the strength of their glue. Grit measures how a team drives ahead, responding to adversity and constantly improving its performance. Glue measures how a group sticks together, how its members coalesce into an effective team, especially in tough times.

Jim Palmer

How Culture, Mentoring, And Trust Lead To Greatness

Even though he won three World Series with the Baltimore Orioles and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, some of the defining moments in Jim Palmer’s pursuit of greatness took place at the low levels of the minor leagues, learning from a great instructor in Cal Ripken, Sr.

In his new book “Nine Innings to Success: A Hall of Famer’s Approach to Achieving Excellence,” Palmer, a Hall of Fame pitcher who spent his entire major league career in Baltimore, relates how he learned the “Orioles Way,” a focus on professionalism, training, evaluation, and fundamentals, from Ripken.

“We’re going to outwork all the teams that we’re going to play,” Ripken told Palmer and his teammates in Aberdeen, South Dakota. “We’re going to come out here every day and try to get a little better in our craft. And we’re going to have fun doing it.”

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Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with


DELL
Chevron
Microsoft
Hewlett Packard
BROCADE