Provision #271: Ten Strategies for Success

Laser Provision

What is it that makes some people so successful? This Provision introduces our new Provision series: Ten Strategies for Success. Each week for the next ten weeks we will feature a success principle from some of America’s greatest coaches. This is one series you won’t want to miss.

LifeTrek Provision

This week we start a new Provisions’ series entitled Ten Strategies for Success. Together with the introduction and the conclusion, it will be a 12-week series. Each week we will take one success strategy, explore it in some detail, understand it, and apply it to real situations in business and life. By the end of the series, we will all have a better handle on winning the game.

I use that image for two reasons. First, I lived for almost 10 years in Columbus, Ohio • home of The Ohio State Buckeyes. For most of that time, the team was coached by John Cooper. As the years went by, a clear pattern developed. The team would start out with a bang, just like it did yesterday in beating Texas Tech 45 • 21. But as the season went on, the team would grow weaker rather than stronger. There would be more rather than less confusion. And they would, of course, start losing. By the end of the season there was no confidence whatsoever that they could beat their archrival, Michigan.

That pattern always bothered me. If there’s one trademark of successful coaching, it’s that teams and the individuals they’re made of should get stronger rather than weaker. Winning ways build over time, they don’t deteriorate. That, in fact, is what attracts people to business and personal life coaches. They may come to coaching with a sense of treading water or losing ground. Their very legitimate expectation of coaching is that a coach will assist them to get back on track and to achieve success. When that doesn’t happen, as there was at Ohio State, there’s usually a coaching change. People expect coaches to produce winners.

That said, you can imagine my interest in Billy Packer’s and Roland Lazenby’s 1999 book, “Why We Win: Great American Coaches Offer Their Strategies for Success in Sports and Life” (Scroll down to order this from in the LifeTrek bookstore.) “Why do coaches win?” these authors ask in the book’s Preface. “How do they win? Is it the talent on their teams? Their knowledge? Their ability to motivate? What grand formulas separate the legends from the rest of the crowd?”

Good questions. Questions that frame the second reason for my using the image of winning the game for this new Provisions’ series. Whether it’s with my own clients or in any coaching and leadership setting, I want to know the strategies that make for success over time. I do not believe that progress is inevitable. The second law of thermodynamics lets us know that energy and organization in closed systems dissipate over time. Without the application of an external force, things will naturally go from more to less energy. That’s also been called the entropy principle.

But just as you can apply an external force to the physical universe, such as the sun warming a bucket of water, so can you apply an external force to the human universe • such as the losing team who comes out of the locker room at half time only to dominate for the rest of the game. Ever wonder what happened in there? What words were said? What adjustments were made? How do they do this?

Over the course of the next ten weeks we’re going to find out from some of the greatest coaches of the twentieth century. Mike Krzyzewski. Red Auerbach. Joe Paterno. Joe Gibbs. Tommy Lasorda. Sparky Anderson. Each week we’ll take one tip from one coach. And then we’ll apply it, beyond the bounds of court, field, or diamond.

The lessons of coaching are universal. I hope you’ll join me each week, for the next ten weeks, to learn from ten masters of the game.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.

I’m a little behind in reading this week, but this Provision is just what I needed today (my first day back in the office). Thanks.

I can relate to your experience on the Golden Gate Bridge. I rented a bike last year in San Francisco and ended up riding across the bridge, over to Sausalito and up into Muir Woods. I just got carried away (and was carried back to San Fran by ferry as I could go no further).

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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