Building Your Team’s Philosophy

Teams benefit from a defined set of philosophies, grounding beliefs that influence group and individual behavior over long periods of time.
We are designed for short-term thinking, a trait that isn’t as useful in a world where flourishing, not survival, is our primary goal. Many of our business elite, Bezos to Bill Gates, credit success to the long game, which they are willing to endure. Meanwhile, the crowd focuses on short-term thinking -winning the battle but losing the war.

“Most of the work we put into any given quarter happened years ago” – Jeff Bezos

Your goal as a coach, is to get the best out of your player. Many coaches are good at the Xs and Os of their sport, but to stand out from your competitors, consider using your team’s philosophy to outperform your competitors.

Let’s take Greg Popovich, one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. Here are some of his key philosophies:
Perspective. Care about the players more than the game. Teach the game of life through the sport.
Character. Recruit players that are “over” themselves. Nine of ten of Pop’s players are not from the US because that is where he is finding the players that meet his expectations as a team player.

Standards for All. Hold the same standards for all your players. Don’t treat your stars differently. Other players see the difference in treatment, and it undermines the team.
Transparency. Feel the pain. Once, when the team performed poorly, he had them watch the game in its entirety. Every painful minute. Why? Because he felt that they weren’t being transparent with themselves. He wanted them to see what he saw -they lost the game on their own accord.
It’s About the Journey. For someone who isn’t focused on winning the championship, Pop sure has won his share. Still, that’s not his focus. Instead, he puts an emphasis on the journey and the process -not the end game. The team needs to feel like they deserve the championship because they did the work.

Start with the Basics (Every Year). Fundamentals are for pros as well. Popovich starts with basic drills that you might see in your middle school gym.

Life is Bigger Than Basketball. Pop cares for his players more than the game. This type of trust extends far beyond the court.
What are your philosophies? If you don’t know, take some time to reflect and define them. Displaying what you believe to your players will bind your team, giving you a system for reinforcing the long-term behaviors that contribute to a winning organization.
QuickText Tip: Share your philosophy to your team and ask them to interpret or internalize the meaning. Focus on the consistency of your message, understanding that the impact of your message fades over time.