Categories
General Leadership

Lead by Example

Lead by example. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog
Photo 74575302 / Don Shula © Jerry Coli | Dreamstime.com

Friday, December 2, 2022

This week, while visiting the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio as part of a team‐building exercise with some of the leaders of our company, I noticed a quote projected on a wall from the legendary coach of the Miami Dolphins, Don Shula. Shula, who coached from 1963 to 1995 (most of those years with the Dolphins) holds the distinction of being the only coach to have ever led a team to an undefeated season – going 14‐0, then winning the 1973 Super Bowl. Shula, who died just two years ago, was a hero to many of my generation, including me, not only for what he did in football, but for the way he lived his life and led other human beings. So, as I saw his words projected on the smooth, concrete wall, though I’d seen it before, I found myself reading it over, and over again:

“I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.”

What Don Shula understood intrinsically is that people follow the example of their leaders. They don’t do what they say … they do what they do. They watch them carefully. Imitating them. Wanting to be like them. Believing that if they do the things their leaders do, they can be like them someday. And because of this Don Shula understood something else – something far more important even. He understood that the sort of example he set was a choice. He knew that the only person who determines whether a leader creates a positive example or something other than that is the leader themself and no one else.

And that’s the point for the week.



See, what Don Shula knew, maybe better than any other coach of his generation, is that life is a choice. Every day of our life is a beautiful, wonderful choice between happiness and sadness, between giving our all or giving in, between bringing our whole heart or bringing something less, between doing the right thing or the wrong one, between helping a neighbor or walking right on by, … or between setting the right example or the wrong one. And this goes for all of us. Each of us is faced with a hundred chances each day to decide what sort of example we’ll set. Each one of us is a leader of something – even if it’s just our own future self. Each of us has an opportunity to choose.

And when more and more of us, then, ultimately, all of us, choose to lead, to set an example for good more often, the lives of everyone around us will improve – here at Turbo, in our homes, and in our communities. It can’t work any other way. It won’t work any other way. For every person here to achieve whatever the “more” is that they seek in their lives, every single person who works here must believe in, exhibit, and be willing to fight for a kinder, more positive example of leadership. And when we do, almost nothing will be able to stop us; because exactly none of our energy will be wasted on negativity, dissent, half‐heartedness, or indifference.

See, what Don Shula proved, beyond any doubt, is that winning, that having more of whatever matters to the people on a team, requires that no room be left anywhere for anyone except those who choose a better way. And because every single person in that organization, beginning with him, chose something better, they never lost a game.

That’s what’s available to us … if we choose a better way … if we choose to set a better example for those around us to follow.

So be like Coach Shula. Lead by example.

And Win.

Categories
General Leadership

Don’t Change Definitions, Change Lives.

Don't Change Definitions, Change Lives. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog
Image: Annie Spratt | Unsplash.com

Saturday, July 30, 2022

This week, the ruling class and media elites in this country spent most of their time arguing about the definition of long-settled words, most notably, recession. Long understood by all to mean an economic period marked by two or more continuous quarters of GDP retraction, our current administration and its water carriers began seeking immediately, after the news of Q2’s economic decline was announced, to recast the definition of the word recession so as to avoid admitting that the nation was, in point of fact, in one. Some even went as far as to deny that the long-held definition was actually the long-held definition after all. Bastion of truth and objectivity, Wikipedia changed the definition, locked the page from further editing, then, in response to visceral outrage, changed the definition of definition itself to allow for such fluidity as was occurring right before our very eyes.

The trouble with all of the variability, though, is that it was doing absolutely nothing to fix the root problem of the economic malaise gripping the country. Changing definitions is not winning. Changing definitions does nothing to help those whom one held their hand up and asked to lead.

Changing definitions is concerned solely with improving the image and legacy of those with egg on their face; it does nothing to improve the lives of those paying more for eggs.

And that’s the point for the week.



The trouble with insufferable narcissists is that they almost never take responsibility for their failures.

The other problem with them is that they care almost nothing at all for those whom they asked to lead.

It’s why they will bend themselves into a pretzel to avoid even the appearance of blame, let alone actually accepting, then taking action to correct a mistake they have caused. It’s simply not in their nature.

So, they send out their minions to deny that the truth people can see with their own two eyes is actually taking place. They instruct others to change the definitions of words. Still others they ask to recast and reframe data. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” they shout, “Enjoy the wonderful world of OZ.”

But this isn’t winning. No right-thinking human being believes this is winning.

And it’s not a matter of politics … or comparison … or whataboutism. It’s a simple matter of right and wrong – about telling people the truth or telling people something else.

People who tell others the truth, no matter how difficult, attract followers. They collect around them people who would go anywhere with them and do anything for them, because they know if they tell them something it is the truth. For second only to love, the most important contract between two human beings is trust. And without it, one will never have followers, but only people that do what they are told in exchange for money. But trust binds organizations together and fuels them onward. It’s what enables them to withstand the cycles of the economy and the buffets of the competition. It’s what creates winners – the likes of which we haven’t seen around here for a while … because we keep mistaking things for leadership traits that aren’t, and hiring people to lead who can’t – people who change definitions instead of changing what’s broken.

Don’t be these people. Don’t change definitions, change what’s broken. Don’t change the narrative, change the outcome. Don’t change words, change people’s lives.

And win.

For more about the author, please follow this LINK.

To purchase Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring, (John Hunt Publishing) please click HERE.

Image: Annie Spratt | Unsplash.com

Categories
Empathy

Don’t Fake Empathy

Image credit: engin akyurt | Unsplash.com

Friday, July 22, 2022

This week, I sent a tweet that some may have found a bit cynical, which suggested that the attempt by large corporations to convince their associates that a CEO who earns $20 million per year understands the well-being concerns of their average employee is, as a matter of fact, contributing to the well-being concerns of their average employee. See, no reasonable person believes that someone with an 8-digit compensation package has any ability at all to relate to the health and welfare issues of individuals making 100 times less than them. So, for anyone in the organization to suggest that they do is not helpful; in fact, it’s upsetting.

As if on cue, two days after I sent the tweet, up pops a post in my LinkedIn feed from a CEO sharing the great news that he had finally taken the advice he’d been giving to his team about self-care and had decided to embark on a 5-star retreat to one of Europe’s most exclusive destinations. It was a rather long post, complete with pictures of the posh facility and some regret on the leader’s part that he doesn’t do enough for himself. I tried to put myself in the place of one of his average workers. I tried to decide how the post would contribute to my own well-being and rather quickly decided that it likely would not, imagining that with the rising cost of everything my own vacation had likely been postponed as personal budget worries mount … creating real live health concerns at a time when people in the office are being asked to do the work of more than one associate.

And to know that the boss’s idea of empathizing with it all is to jet over to Switzerland for a spa week was likely the last straw. Because the goal of empathy is not to show people how much more important you are than their problems. It’s to show them how important their problems are to you.

And that’s the point for the week.



Trying to show people that their problems shouldn’t matter to them by proving they are trivial to you will almost always serve to remind them only of why you should no longer matter to them. No one wants to be reminded of power they don’t possess, or money they don’t have, or luxuries they don’t own. People want to be made to feel big, not torn down or made to feel small. They want to work for people who are empathetic with their plight – not tone-deaf narcissists who seek to minimize the importance of their lived experience.  

See, empathy is not a function of trying to convince people that things that they very well know do matter don’t. It’s a simple function of putting yourself in another’s place and understanding as best as you possibly can, how they feel … either because you’ve asked them or because you’ve been there before – purposely having walked a mile in their shoes.

At a minimum, it’s about honestly admitting that you have no earthly idea how they feel but promising that it matters enough to you to find out and then caring enough to do so. Because two things are true. One, all that most people care about is that you care. Second, you can’t fake empathy. Either you care or you don’t. If you care more for the person in the mirror than the person sitting in front of you, find another line of work. Leadership probably isn’t your bag. Because if putting yourself first matters more to you that anything else, you’re going to be spotted a mile away. And when you are, people will turn and run – joining the more than 4 million others per month that are heading for the exits, looking for people who truly and actually care.

So, don’t fake empathy.

And win.

To learn more about the author, please follow this LINK.

To purchase a copy of Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring, please click HERE.

Image credit: engin akyurt | Unsplash.com

Categories
Forgiveness

Give Second Chances

Give second chances. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog.
Image credit: Tommao Wang | Unsplash.com

Friday, July 1, 2022

This week, for Catholics universally, was the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Gospel reading was from Matthew, chapter 16 – the story of Jesus promising that upon Peter, himself, would he build his church. 

We know that he followed through. John 21 tells us so.  Even without the text from John, the existence of some 2.5 billion Christians globally would make it clear enough besides.  Christ kept his word … despite Peter failing to keep his.

Many of you may recall that between his first being told he would be the foundational rock for the future Christian church and his ultimate commissioning, Peter denied Jesus 3 times – even after promising, upon penalty of death, not to.

But despite what many might view as the ultimate slight, the ne plus ultra of betrayals, Jesus the Christ gave Simon Peter another go. But that’s what you’d expect from a perfect human being. It’s a notion rooted in forgiveness and the idea that few ever achieve first place without having been given a second chance. 

And that’s the point for the week.



There is a persistent notion in American business that, in the often cut-throat game of corporate ladder climbing that the rule of one strike and you’re out applies. There is no margin for error. There is no allowance for a temporary loss of self-control. There is no understanding for decisions to prioritize other aspects of your life over the business. And so, over time, the field of “leadership” candidates winnows away as a greater number of once well-regarded high-potentials violate this coda or that, disqualifying themselves from further ascension.

But true, caring leaders – those being sought out by many of the more than 50 million workers who have left jobs in the last year looking for kinder, better work environments, and the leaders behind them, behave differently. These leaders not only believe in second chances, they encourage the sort of line-crossing and mold-breaking that leads to needing them. 

That’s because these people know that protecting the world as it is or insulating the old guard from any challenge or criticism will merely result in a world without change and a business that watches its competition stream past it. They know that people and organizations learn, not from success, but from mistakes, failures, and knocks on the head. They understand that the best of us has have been given a second chance, an opportunity for redemption and the occasion to prove that tossing them aside would have been a monumental error. 

For many, a second chance is a first date with adversity. Without second chances, we build columns of so-called leaders who have never known defeat, nor trial, nor the requirement of picking oneself up and pressing on. We build soft-skinned and soft-palmed tyrants mostly, with zero soft skills and almost always a world’s best boss mug that they bought for themselves. 

To find the winners in life, simply look for the ones passing out second chances. They’re the ones people want to be around – not because they are pushovers, but because they recognize that having more and being more in life is a direct function of having fallen and been helped back up by someone kind enough to give them a chance to try it all again tomorrow.

So, give second chances.

And win.

To learn more about Phillip Kane, please click HERE.

To purchase a copy of my book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters On Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, please follow this LINK

Image credit: Tommao Wang | Unsplash.com

Categories
General Leadership

Do Things Cleanly

Do Things Cleanly. Phillip Kane's Andwin.net blog
Image: Charlotte Kane

Saturday, June 25, 2022

This week, my daughter, Charlotte, started a blog of her own. She named it Bellezza Pulita, or Clean Beauty. Charlotte has a passion for a more refined sort of lifestyle without artificial fillers or extraneous things that either don’t belong or don’t add value or worse, that are potentially harmful or disruptive. She believes strongly that there is a cleaner path to beauty, style, food and culture.

As I thought more about what Charlotte was doing and saying, besides being proud of her, it also occurred to me that a lot of what she’s talking about has application for our lives in business too. It makes perfect sense. When we seek to do things more cleanly, with less waste and with greater refinement, we’ll win more often.

And that’s the point for the week.



I often tell those I have the privilege to work with or coach that the expenditure of any effort, resource, or expense on anything not 100% tied to attainment of the organization’s goals and objectives is waste. I tell people this because it’s true. The cleaner anything is, the less waste will be associated with it.

That’s because what is clean is sleek and streamlined; it’s something pure and undefiled; it’s something without unnecessary adornment or extra bits that contribute nothing to its stated purpose or objective. So, it would follow, then, that things done more cleanly will be far less wasteful and far more aligned to organizational goals. They will also tend to be beautiful.                                                                                           

Beauty is not just a superficial asthetic. It is, or should be, something far deeper than that. Beauty defines the way all parts of something come together in proportion and balance. Too much of anything or something out of place destroys not only appearance, but functionality and effectiveness as well. 

True, caring leaders seek beauty in all they do because they know that not only does the creation of beautiful things more often guarantee winning but it also guarantees that people stick around longer and bring more of their heart to everything they do. That’s because if given a choice, most people would rather create beautiful things than the alternative. It’s also because in creating things of lasting beauty, human beings derive great joy. And along with love and trust, it’s joy that people seek to bring fulfilment to their lives whether at home, at work or in giving back to their communities.

And it all starts with doing things more cleanly, with less wasted time and effort, less of everything no one wants and more of what customers will actually pay for, less resources squandered on things that don’t matter and more spending on things that do, less screaming and more encouraging, less hidden agendas and far more transparency, less trash and more treasure, less L and more P, and, more than anything, fewer people who don’t care and far more people who do.

Because like almost anything else in life, to do things more cleanly is a choice – a beautiful, wonderful choice between caring enough to create something beautiful or, as is the case for many, to not quite care at all. 

So, choose beauty. Do things cleanly.

And win.

For more like this, visit https://AndWin.net

To purchase a copy of Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring, a better alternative to narcissistic, old-school, micromanagement, please click HERE.

Image: Charlotte Kane

Categories
General Leadership

Gather with Purpose

Gather with Purpose. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog. Image credit: Pezibear | Pixabay.com
Image credit: Pezibear | Pixabay.com

Saturday, June 18, 2022

This week, Annie, and I spent a day looking at houses. We are thinking of moving to be closer to our children. We looked at old houses, new houses and in-between houses. We looked at big houses, little houses and in-between houses. We looked at close to town houses, away from town  houses and a bit in-between houses. We looked at move-in-ready houses, gut-job houses, and in between houses. We looked at houses like the one we have now, totally different houses, and in-between houses. We looked at open floorplan houses, chopped-up floorplan houses, and in-between houses. And the one we ended up liking the most was the most unlike anything we expected to like.

It wasn’t in a location we liked. It wasn’t built in the 20’s like we like. It wasn’t in an old neighborhood like we like. It didn’t have a story like we like. It wasn’t particularly attractive like we (and most people) like. It was a house that 9 times out of 10, we’d drive right past. But it felt like a home … because it was built for people to gather in. And as much as I continued to think I wanted the house that was the most like the house I have now in the neighborhood like I live in now, I couldn’t stop thinking about the unattractive, needs everything, feels-like-a-home gathering place. I think that’s because we’re made to gather; we’re happier that way, especially when we have a reason for doing so.

And that’s the point for the week.



Human beings are social creatures. We were created to be together with other human beings – in tribes, in clans, in clubs, in families, in communities, on teams and any other collection of two or more of us in any one place with a reason for being there. We do so because we don’t care for being alone doing nothing for long. Even the more introverted among us like more to be left alone than to be alone; because we are not made for extended solitude.

That’s why cases of depression and worse skyrocketed during the last two years of remote school and work. Zoom was an awful substitute for gathering together. Two dimensional images of those we care about were poor and unacceptable substitutes for the real thing. And when the lack of contact was combined with a lack of direction things became even worse. Millions of listless, lonely workers was a recipe for disaster.

It’s that same lack of direction, I think, which is now creating the bulk of the mixed emotions which are surrounding the return to the office for so many. It’s not so much that people don’t want to return to the office ever … they do. They long to see and gather with those they love and care about. What they aren’t looking forward to, and in many cases outright refuse to tolerate, is a combination of the office with lack of direction. They are willing to tolerate the latter from home but not after dressing for the office then enduring a commute to get there. Plus, when there doesn’t seem to be any actual togetherness once they arrive, the whole thing feels like a giant case of bait and switch.

Those that will win the return to the office game are those who understand that human beings have both a need to gather and a need for purpose. People will gladly show up in the office if they understand why they need to be there and are likewise rewarded by regular and meaningful gatherings with those they’ve missed. What they won’t tolerate are the early stabs at a hybrid model that feels worse even than either remote work or the office of yore because those in charge decided to combine the worst of both together into one awful construct they decided would be best for themselves.

This isn’t about spoiled workers with too much Covid money. Nor should it be about companies waiting people out until the Biden economy gets even worse and their perceived leverage returns. It’s about neither of those things. It’s fundamentally about people wanting to be with people. It’s about people wanting a purpose. And it’s about people wanting direction. None of those things seem like they are too much to ask for. People will gather together on purpose, it’s just what they do. Giving them a purpose to stay, well, that’s just what leaders do.

So, gather with purpose.

And win.

To learn more about the author, please follow this LINK.

To purchase Phillip’s new book, a finalist for the 2022 Hoffer prize, click HERE.

Image credit: Pezibear | Pixabay.com

Categories
General Leadership

Get Behind the Mask

Get behind the mask. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog

Friday, June 10, 2022

Next week, my son, William, is going to racing school. It was a present for his 18th birthday. Like his father he likes cars. Like his grandfather, he like to go fast in cars. So, it seemed wise to combine some education with his fascination. So off to school he’s going to go. It’s something he’s been excited about … until the last week or so. Lately he’s seemed less enthusiastic about the whole thing. When before he’d talk about the adventure in a quite animated way, now he’s more reserved, matter of fact, and ready to change the subject. It has started to seem like something he doesn’t want to do anymore. The nearer time has come to leaving the less excited he’s become about going.

Finally, I asked him what was wrong. Of course, at first, it was, “nothing.” But eventually, I learned it was the 5 hours of flying it was going to take to get there. See, Will hates to fly. He always has. His trepidation about the trip, and what seemed the school, actually had nothing to do with the school. It was the air travel to get there. Will just wasn’t looking forward to the flight and it colored the way the rest of us thought he was thinking about the trip generally. Had I not asked him, I might have just cancelled the whole trip or made some other mistake based on my own assumptions of how and what he was feeling. That would have been a disaster. But then bad things typically happen when we simply assume what other people are thinking based on the masks they are wearing.

And that’s the point for the week.



When we try to diagnose the feelings of others from a distance bad things almost always happen. That’s because we’re almost never correct in our assumptions. The masks people wear are generally meant to hide their true feelings, not to portray them. But most of us miss that. Instead, we, at a glance, attempt to figure out what’s behind their expression, their body language, their eyes, not once thinking to simply ask them what’s going on. Then, acting on our own bad intelligence, we make matters worse.

In attempting to fix things we cause further damage. In attempting to heal, we create a greater rift. In attempting to bridge a gap, we widen one. All because we thought better of simply taking the time to get behind the mask, by showing that we care enough to ask what’s behind it.

After all, that’s what most people want anyway – to be cared about … to be listened to … to be unmasked, in their time and on their terms. No one wants by told by someone that they just fixed their problem when they haven’t even told that person what their problem is. But in most cases it’s not even about solving their problem. It’s simply about being listened to, about being understood, about not being judged, about someone saying, “I still love you no matter what” and “I’m not going to make stupid decisions based on stupid assumptions anymore.”

Most people want little more than that from their leaders, from their parents, from their siblings or from people they bump into on the street.

People don’t want to be the objects of assumption, they want to be the objects of affection. It’s truly no more complicated than that.

So, take the time to care enough to get behind the mask.

And win.

o learn more about the author, please click HERE.

To purchase a copy of Phillip’s new book, a finalist for the Eric Hoffer prize, please follow this LINK.

Image credit: Geralt | Pixabay.com

Categories
Diversity Love

Practice Radical Hospitality

Practice radical hospitality. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog.
Image: Phillip Kane

Saturday, May 14, 2022

This week, my daughter graduated from The University of Dayton again. She first graduated in May of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. At the time, in an abundance of caution, the school canceled all commencement exercises and simply mailed diplomas to graduating students.

But with fears of COVID-19 now dissipating, UD’s administration decided to do right by these kids and hold their own make-up ceremony this weekend. It was typically Dayton. Run by the Marionist Fathers, community is a big deal there. They preach about, and actually practice radical hospitality – a term attributed to Doris Day, who, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement, known for its social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. 

Radical hospitality is simply love by another name. It’s about welcoming, embracing and including others unconditionally. And the fact that The University of Dayton lives it is why The University of Dayton is a leader factory. See, true leaders are those who love others without stopping to question whether they deserve it. 

And that’s the point for the week. 



True, caring leaders don’t pay attention to things like race, creed, color, age, gender, hair color, hair length, height, weight, nationality, orientation, body art, or other identifiers because they recognize how little they matter to anything related to winning in life or in business. Because color of anything makes no difference, they are indifferent to more or less of it. The same goes for any other label. These leaders don’t care. Leaders who practice radical hospitality accomplish greater things and win more often because they focus more on the quality of the output than the complexion of the people who produce it. 

They will behave radically hospitable to all comers, because they play by a different set of rules in a game with a significantly longer timeframe than this month, this quarter, this year, or this planning horizon. And because they aim for something of value beyond the here and now, they wind up winning more often here as a simple matter of course – mostly because they attract more people to their cause.

See, people seek to follow these leaders because they make them feel welcome and like they truly matter. These leaders don’t turn people away because they are different or seek to collect up quotas of them because they are either. People flock to be part of what these people are building because they are made to feel individually special by one special individual, not part of some wider, faceless, corporate initiative.

These people have no favorites and they don’t play sides. They believe that true diversity is that which comes from different thoughts, ideas and experiences – not differences in appearance. No voice has more weight, no voice has less. There’s no call for guilt, shame or reparation. Only forgiveness, redemption and love – founded on trust, which bonds their teams together and fuels them forward to win year in and year out – a blurred patchwork juggernaut. 

So be like the gang at UD. Practice radical hospitality. 

And win. 

For more about Phillip Kane, click HERE.

To buy a copy of my new book, please follow this LINK.

Image: Phillip Kane

Categories
General Leadership

Choose the Light

Choose the light. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog.
Image credit Bruno van der Kraan | Unsplash.com

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Today is Easter Sunday. For the more than 2 billion Christians on the planet it’s the day we commemorate Christ’s resurrection from the dead – God’s triumph over darkness. It is for those of us who believe, the proof of salvation and the evidence that good will prevail over evil. For just as Jesus Christ was condemned by the wicked to suffer and die a horrible death upon a cross, he did rise again on the third day, exactly as he said. And just as the tomb in which he had laid was flooded with light the moment the stone was rolled away, so too was the world, the instant he stepped back into it. But that’s the thing about light. No amount of darkness can ever overcome it; the light will always prevail. 

And that’s the point for the week. 



Don’t believe it?  Bring a dark shoebox into a light room and open it. The room won’t become one bit darker. But the box will be flooded with light. Try a bigger box. Then a bigger box. No amount of darkness will ever prevail. But walk into the pitchest of black with the tiniest of flames and watch what happens. The light will always win. 

Leaders who bring light prevail similarly. Because people willingly follow light. People want to be uplifted, to be fed, to be part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders who recognize these things collect more followers. And they win more, for the simple reason that people are attracted to the light.  

It’s the reason that 2,000 years after he walked this earth, 2 billion people still believe … in the light. 

People who follow blackness do so because they have to, because they are forced to, or are under some control or addiction to the dark. No one grows up wishing they could be an addict, or a thief, or a horrible boss. They do so because there is no light in their life. Because the thing they worship is black. And it’s why when they’re gone no one remembers them. Because light quickly swallows the darkness – as if it never even existed. 

So, make today a choice. Make it about more often bringing light into a room or a home or a business or a community. Live your life as a bright, shining reminder of He who conquered sin and death for us, who deserve naught, so that we might have life and light everlasting. 

So, choose the light. 

And win. 

To learn more about the author, please follow the LINK.

To order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please click HERE.

Image credit Bruno van der Kraan | Unsplash.com

Categories
General Leadership

Be the One Others Want to Follow

Be the one others want to follow. Phillip Kane's andwin.net blog.
Image credit: Todd Greene | Unsplash.com 

Friday, April 8, 2022

This week, the North Carolina men’s basketball team very nearly beat Kansas to win the 2022 National Championship game in Boston. I say nearly because the Tar Heels lost by just 3 points, 72 – 69, after having led for much of the contest. UNC was not even supposed to be in this game, let alone be in a position to win it. They were an 8-seed. The last and only time an 8 seed ever won the tournament was 1985 (with no team lower than an 8 having ever reached the final game.)

But the Tar Heels were, in fact, there, and almost won.

Along the way, they beat a 1-seed, a 2-seed and a 4-seed. They got there the hard way. They won their way there.

And they did so with almost the same group of players that had lost in the first round to Wisconsin just one year ago. UNC returned 4 starters from the 2020 – 2021 season. So, with the exception of newcomer, Brady Manek, the team wasn’t much different.

What changed was the coach.

Hubert Davis was different. Hubert Davis was someone these kids wanted to play for. See, teams perform at a significantly higher level when they do what they do for someone they want to follow.

And that’s the point for the week.



In the semi-final game, UNC played Duke in a rubber match it was not supposed to win. Duke, a 2-seed was favored to win by 2 baskets. But it became clear relatively quickly that Carolina would be only the fourth 8-seed to ever play in an NCAA final. It was clear because it became plain to see that the Tar Heel players love playing for Hubert Davis. These kids would follow him anywhere. Duke’s players, on the other hand, were listless. Even in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game ever, the Blue Devil players didn’t rise to the occasion. There was no apparent love of Coach K. There was no one going over a cliff for him that night.

Those who unwillingly follow someone will bolt, curl up or mail it in at the very first sign of trouble, pain, or difficulty. Even in the best of circumstances, they will rarely give their all. That’s because in the human markets of give and take, the worst leaders take way more than they give. So, when it comes time to ask for more, they find only empty hearts. Those they lean into walk away, leaving them to fight alone.

But those whom others willingly follow are those who put in more than they ever take out. They invest in others with no expectation of return. They seek to make others really, really big, by making themselves really, really small. That’s because they understand the cardinal rule of leadership – that it’s not about them.

It’s the paradoxical truth of all of this: that the more we put others ahead of ourselves, the more they will stand behind us … willingly, without reservation, without fear, and without anyone ever having to throw a dry erase marker in the direction of another human being.

So, be like Coach Davis. Be the one others want to follow. 

And win.

To learn about booking Phillip to speak at your event, please contact us.

To order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please click HERE.

Image credit: Todd Greene | Unsplash.com