Guest Post: Pete Carroll

Joe Wilson has worked in a variety of continuous improvement, problem solving and engineering roles in manufacturing and distribution functions  in the automotive, electronics, and food/grocery industries. He was responsible for site leadership of Lean implementation during the launch and ramp up of becoming a supplier to Toyota and was able to work directly with their personnel and the Toyota Supplier Support Center.   His training background includes courses in Lean/TPS through TSSC and the University of Kentucky’s Lean Systems program.  He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and a Shainin Red X Journeyman in addition to training in Kepner-Tregoe problem solving techniques.  Joe also has a BS degree in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

I’ve gone back and forth on this several times on what to write about a book I recently read.  I’ve settled on stripping most of what I had to say about it because of two reasons.  First and foremost, I absolutely hate the business as sports parallel.  I just can’t see how pushing yourself through to end of year performance is like fighting for a playoff victory or giving a big presentation is like shooting free throws with the game on the line.  Those situations always seemed to have enough levity as it is without adding a made up metaphor to put them over the top.  The second reason is that I’ve already written about a book by a football coach and, frankly, I couldn’t figure out a way to do it again without making it come off like a form letter.

With that in mind, and with a goal of finding ideas that fit with lean without necessarily being from the lean world, I bring you what I picked up from the book, “Win Forever” by Pete Carroll**.  I’ll be honest, I had no interest in reading the book and only picked it up while I was waiting to meet someone at Borders and killing a few minutes.  When I picked it up, I opened to a page where he described his philosophy as, “Doing things better than they have ever been done before”.  I am a true believer in the concept of chasing a ‘True North’ and this struck a chord with me that was along those lines.  Since I had a good coupon and I was still waiting for the friend to show up, I plunked down a few bucks and figured I’d skim through it.

There was one point in the book that has stuck with me as extremely valuable.  One of the building blocks of his philosophy is for the individual coaches to “learn the learner”.  In his practical terms, it meant the coaches that work for him are responsible for understanding what motivates, de-motivates, and engages the players they coach.  That forces the coach to learn how to optimize their message to the recipient so that each person can be put in a position to be the best they choose to be.  It is such a simple and profound concept and one I had never come across before phrased this way.  Matt has made several posts lately that hit on training and coaching. I can’t help but wonder how much effort I have put forth over the years that didn’t make an impact because I spent a ton of time polishing the message and didn’t take enough time to understand how the person needed to receive the message.  Or how many initiatives or programs, lean or not, haven’t been fully realized because the human factor was left out.  It has been quite a point of reflection for me to realize where some opportunities have been lost and what I can do to improve in the future.  Or how best to present information to a large group with very separate motivations.

**As for whether or not you should get the book or not, it depends.  If you won’t be able to get past things like USC football, Reggie Bush, and his 7-9 team making the NFL playoffs this year, you will probably not get much out of it.  If you can ignore those things or don’t know anything about them, I’d recommend it.  It’s a fairly quick read about the path to creating a personal vision and the pieces that were important to him as he determined what he was passionate about.  There are some solid leadership tidbits that can apply anywhere people are striving for greatness.  It is, however, also a bit cheesy in parts…don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Posted on February 2, 2011, in Guest Post, Leadership, Learning, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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