Thursday, July 24, 2008

Talent is never enough

I read where Cal football coach Jeff Tedford and his assistants each took a chapter of John Maxwell's book "Talent is Never Enough," broke them down into lectures, and presented each section to their players in a classroom.

The gist of the book is this:

"Simple talent will never translate into success unless other factors related to character and attitude are strong as well. The more talented a team is, the more leadership is needed. Teams don't simply come together on their own; that they require leadership to do so."

According to Tedford:

"I started reading it and I found myself highlighting half of pages, or full pages. It was so relevant to what our situation was. I felt like we needed to spend time on a lot of the things in the book and go back and redefine who we are. There were a lot of things that we needed to hear as a football program."

It's a great example of going beyond the court or the field and focusing on intangible or "soft" issues. As I've discussed here previously, there are lots of coaches who know the "hard" stuff, i.e., X's and Q's. The difference is understanding the intangibles.

I posted recently about how the teams with the best players usually win. That's true. But in almost every case, there are strong leaders on those teams. As Maxwell points out in his book, talent enough is not alone. When building a team, it's important not to focus exclusively on finding good players. Instead, find good players who are also good leaders.

Cal's players -- at least many of them -- will carry the lessons from the book with them through life.

One off-season with the Warriors, we sent every player a copy of Maxwell's book "The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork." I actually quizzed Adonal Foyle about it (because I was betting that Adonal had read it from cover to cover, which he had).