Summary: On this episode of Tomorrow’s Leader we talk about what it means for people in your organization to work together to make sure they are putting their best foot forward and that your business is a success.
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. So recently I had the opportunity to watch a friend of mine play soccer and he’s a goalie, which is one of the most scary positions you can play in soccer. And how do I know? I know because I played goalie as a soccer player for many years and it was an incredibly rewarding, exciting, but also scary, scary position. So he was in what I call the scariest moment of a goalie’s career, and that is when you’re facing a penalty shot. So I’m watching this game develop in this penalty shot start to get put together. And I just immediately was drawn back to all the moments as a goalie where this period of time, this whatever it was, 60, 90 seconds as the ball was being placed and everything was starting, it was just nerve-racking, as can be because you had so much pressure on you and statistically, 75% of penalty shots go in. So as a goalie, you realize, OK, you’re at a severe statistical disadvantage. Yet there is an enormous amount of pressure on you. It’s not like soccer. There’s you know, the average score is twenty goals a game. I mean, you know, sometimes it’s one, two, three goals. So one penalty kick and goal can mean the difference between losing and winning the game.
John: So it’s needless to say, you’ve got an immense amount of pressure on you. I’m watching my friend as a goalie. And again, all the things are lining up and just running through my head about right when I was at that moment. What you’re thinking is a goalie and there’s a lot of science behind it because you’re trying to read the kicker. You’re trying to get a gauge of where he or she is going to kick the ball. It’s a big goal. And you statistically, again, are at a disadvantage. So you have to, as a goalie, commit. You’ve got to make a decision. And usually, you’ve got to make a decision as to whether or not you’re going to go left or right because it’s not like you can react. There are some goalies that react to where the ball is going going, but you have to have unbelievable reflexes and agility to be able to read and go in the direction just based on after the ball is kicked. It’s just it’s a millisecond.
John: So most goalies are trying to read the player. Now you’re looking at a whole bunch of different things. You’re looking at. You’re looking at the eye contact. You’re looking at where the player is looking, because more times than not before they kick, they’re going to glance
where they’re trying to hit it. If it’s going to be to the right on the low side of the goal, the high side of the goal, they’re going to look. You’re actually looking to see if the goal, if the player is looking above, if they’re looking in the sky, usually that’s an indication that they’re aiming
for the upper right or upper left corner. I mean, this is how precise it was. Literally, you’re looking at the eye contact.
John: And if you knew that if they were looking too long or too far in one area, oftentimes it was to mislead the goalie. So you kind of were trying to read that, too. My looking they’re looking in a reality where they’re trying to hit or they’re trying to just throw me off. Then you’d be looking at everything from their angle that they’re coming toward the ball. I mean, if they’re coming far from the left, you knew oftentimes they were going to be shooting to the right, if they’re coming straight at you is more difficult because then they had more agility to be able to move and kick the ball left or right. I remember looking at their plant foot. That was actually one of the best tells because where their plant foot was pointed was oftentimes the direction of where they were kicking. It was very hard to have their plant foot turning to the right and kicked to the left. So I look at that and that would give me an extra half a second to determine where the ball was going.
John: Ultimately, you look at their hips because it was very hard for a player to turn their hips to the right and kick to the left. So, again, as a goalie, you’ve got all these things in your mind and you’re just you’re so focused trying to read to get any statistical advantage that you’re going to get this thing. And again, you really, as they’re kicking, had to begin your dive to the left or to the right. So you really had to commit. And it wasn’t just moving to the left, to the right. It was diving to the left of the right. Most KCS penalty kicks go on the ground because it’s hard to control it in the upper left and upper right-hand corner. Those are the best places for a kicker to kick because a high probability of it going in hardest to block is a goalie. But it’s very hard and it’s risky because oftentimes it doesn’t go in the net. It goes over to the side. So again, all these things running through your mind so much in this game. And I’m watching my friend and I’m just I’m in the moment. My heart’s beating.
John: This is a really important part of the game. It’s a pivotal shot. The whole crowd is watching and everybody’s like on pins and needles, and you see one of the players go up to the goalie beforehand and all you could see was the player was the captain of the team, goes up to the goalie, puts his hands on his shoulders and says something, looks him in the eyes, says something, and the goalie nods and the goalie gets in position. The player lines up take a few steps back. Everybody’s heart is beating. It’s like nobody can say anything. It’s like they’re holding their breath. The player runs up, kicks the ball. All right. A grounder to the right, the goalie immediately upon the kick, dives to the right and blocks the shot. And it was like, wow. And it was a great kick. It was just inside the net. So was it had to be a far dove. And the goalie, my friend, got it blocked the shot. And everybody was like, wow, I really just went nuts. It was awesome. So even telling the story, I’m getting all jazzed up. So it’s really kind of cool. And it was just, again, you know, statistically, only 25% of those shots had best get blocked.
John: So I asked my friend afterward, I said, so what? You know, phenomenal. I mean, that was incredible. What was what did the captain say to you? And he said, well, he came up to me, put my put his hands on my shoulder and said, listen, I saw this player the other day in a game. He had a penalty shot and he hit it on the ground to the right. So chances are that’s probably where he’s going to go. And he said that’s all I needed to hear because chances are, statistically, players get a comfort zone and most players with their hit, they shoot in the dominant side. So if they’re a right-handed kicker, they will actually shoot to the right. So this
added piece of information gave my friend the confidence to know that, you know what I’m going for, I’m going to dove to the right. And the fact that he didn’t hesitate and he had that confidence ultimately has helped him get that shot. What was really cool is after he blocked the shot, he pointed right away. He pointed right away to his captain. And that’s it, everybody. The teammates all came rushing up to him. And you saw him point. And it’s actually on video. So it’s kind of cool. You saw him point right to the captain. So he gave credit to the captain for giving him that piece of advice.
John: So awesome story. Really cool. Brought back a lot of great memories of being a goalie. But what does this have to do with leadership? Right. Well, it has to do with teamwork. And I see organizations a lot of times where, yes, there’s a common goal, but there’s a lot of internal competitiveness. There’s a lot of almost cutthroat competitiveness to outdo each other. And you see this a lot of times in different sales organizations and whatnot where there’s a lot of, you know, jockeying for position and awards and recognition in this and that. And in reality, ultimately, what was beautiful about this moment is there was one player that had a piece of information or an offer or suggestion or whatnot that helped make that other player better at that moment. And this one player jumped in and helped that player perform a little bit better for the benefit not just of the player of the whole team. And the whole team ended up benefiting because they won the game.
John: So I think about organizations as a leader and believe me, for years and running organizations, I struggled with this, too. I wanted a certain level of competitiveness. I didn’t want it to get cutthroat competitiveness. But I knew the competitiveness would drive each person to perform a little better, even if there was a little internal competitiveness. But ultimately, what was most important is our competition was internal it was external, right. Our competition, our competitors, its outside competitors, not internal competitors. And in reality, ultimately, you know, in some cases, which is going to be another episode coming up soon, is the outside competitors are not even our competitors.
John: Ultimately, sometimes there are times we’re going to work together with a competition to ultimately serve the needs of the client in the marketplace even better and help each other get even better. So stay tuned for an episode coming up soon. We’re going to go through all kinds of different examples of how that works. But as a leader, here’s a couple of key things. I think about the coach of that soccer team. The coach did a great job of bringing a mentality
and a culture where it doesn’t matter what it takes. Your job is to ultimately help each other perform the best way possible.
John: And you see this a lot with sports teams where listen, you know what? It doesn’t matter if you blew that last play or as a goalie. Listen, you know, I was in many times where I let it go through that shouldn’t have gone through. And I was beating myself up like crazy. And it can impact your performance. And in sports, how especially in soccer at the beginning of the game, how you play a couple of key plays can ultimately drive the momentum and shape the whole game. And that’s the case for a lot of sports. How you start ultimately has such an impact on how the rest of that game goes. So it’s so important to lose everything you. And to build that team and that camaraderie in such a way where listen, I got your back, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you miss that I got your back. You’re in your position for a reason. We need you. You’re there and the team needs you. So ultimately, as a leader of an organization, how can you breed that type of culture where there’s an ultimate level of
teamwork? Because as the title says, teamwork makes the dream work. And how can I put my players or my organization in a place where they have not just willing to do whatever it takes for them to succeed, but they’re willing to do whatever it takes to help other people succeed?
John: Believe it or not, what it starts with is the leader setting that tone and setting that expectation and communicating that is part of the vision. As a leader, how often do you talk about what your expectations are for how the team works together? How often do you recognize different situations? Now, the coach would have been really smart after that game to immediately draw attention to that and give props to that and congratulate the captain of the team for doing it, for playing a part. Now, the goalie did a great job of giving attention to the captain. But think about that. The leader has an opportunity to reinforce the right behaviors. When you see something that’s done right and something you want repeated, you have to point it out. You’ve got to put a spotlight on it. You’ve got to broadcast it. You’ve got to recognize it.
John: You’ve got to make sure that people understand this is what you not only expect, but you want more of otherwise. People don’t know that that’s ultimately what the team should be doing. Leaders also on the other side when they see examples that ultimately are not what they want. So they see examples of a lack of teamwork. They’ve got to pinpoint that. They’ve got to bring that bubble, that up to the surface, and they’ve got to make that known. They’ve got to acknowledge the fact that that is not the example of teamwork that’s going to ultimately help the dream work. So as a leader, that’s the most important thing that you do, is set the tone and set the culture for your organization.
John: And think about as a takeaway from this podcast today, what is your team look like? In what circumstances would one player or one person on your team go above and beyond to help another player on the team, even if it didn’t mean any kind of acknowledgment? So
that’s the most important thing. Some people will do it because they know it will reflect positively on them. But if nobody knew, here’s the ultimate level of teamwork. If nobody knew that captain or saw that the captain did that, would the captain have done that? I’m confident he absolutely would have. So the people in your organization, if it was not recognized and not rewarded, would they show the behaviors of ultimately helping their other teammates win and going above and beyond to help their teammates win?
John: That’s the true team teammate. That’s the person you want in their team on your team. That’s the ultimate person. They do it for the right reasons because they want the other people in the team to win and the team to win, not because they want the acknowledgment and the recognition for being that type of team player. So ultimately, as a leader, those are the things you want to look for. When you find that type of person, what do you have to do? You’ve got to promote them. Honestly, that’s the type of person you want as your next leader. And that’s the thing you want ultimately your culture to revolve around that type of mentality. So quick cool story. A little recognition for my friend for playing a great game and blocking a really tough shot in soccer and ultimately helping to win the game.
John: So really cool stuff. Want to share that with you as a quick takeaway on how teamwork makes the dream work. Hope this was helpful today. Make sure you keep tuning in. Give me ideas, suggestions, give me your stories of great examples of leadership,
whatever it may be, or even bad examples of leadership because I love to bring that as examples of what not to do, different case examples, or maybe different challenges that you’re having as a leader of your organization. So direct message me, reach out, call me whatever it is, look forward to chatting with you. In the meantime, like, share, suggest topics suggest speakers or guests on my podcast, and go down below. Hit the five-star review and make sure to put comments down there too and look forward to talking with you next time. Thanks, everybody.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!