Eight Things


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In 2007, Dennis Stevens set out with two other coaches to build a successful girls basketball team. The objective as to build a winning team that could win the right way. The growth of the girls was as important as the success of the team. The project was successful as the Georgia Pistols won the 2007 11u AAU National Championship. They won their games by an average of 20 points throughout the National championship tournament. Despite having a lot of talent, there were no individual stars on the team. Everyone had a role and pursued their role with their best effort. Every girl played in every game – and almost every girl scored in every game. Most importantly, the girls did it while growing as people, always respecting each other, the coaches, and their opponents. This presentation discusseseight principles that were applied to the selection, development, and performance of the team.

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  • Eight Things

    1. 1. Eight Things I Learned from Coaching Girls Basketball And how they might help you become a more productive project manager
    2. 2. Coaching Youth Sports <ul><li>Has lot in common with project management </li></ul><ul><li>It is a thankless job </li></ul><ul><li>Parents (Stakeholders) are ungrateful </li></ul><ul><li>The kids (Project Participants) don’t appreciate your investment </li></ul><ul><li>Your family suffers </li></ul><ul><li>The general perception is you aren’t really adding much </li></ul>
    3. 3. Coaching Resume <ul><li>Started coaching in 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Baseball </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentors, clinics and books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top 3 (out of 15-20) finishes seven out of eight years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State championship team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finished third in 2001 in the Dizzy Dean World series </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentors, clinics and books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seven state championship teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AAU national championship team in 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>At no time did I hit a ball, steal a base, grab a rebound or shoot a basket. </li></ul>
    4. 4. 2005-2006 Georgia Pistols <ul><li>Selected in 2005 to assist on an AAU elite team for the Georgia Pistols. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite </li></ul><ul><ul><li>winning the state and the region </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>being very competitive at nationals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and every girl developing as a basketball player </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The coaches, kids, and parents all were left a little unfulfilled, disappointed, and less than successful. </li></ul><ul><li>As coaches we felt we had missed an opportunity to contribute to the kids. </li></ul><ul><li>The kids deserved better – and it wasn’t just X’s and O’s. </li></ul>
    5. 5. We had to do something different <ul><li>The coaches came together and reviewed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What caused the discontent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What had we seen be successful in other sports teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we had enjoyed as project performers and athletes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What had we learned from business </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We identified eight guidelines and resolved to make the next year more successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Our “project” revolved around consistently applying eight guidelines. </li></ul><ul><li>I believe these guidelines are as relevant to business as they are to coaching kids sports </li></ul>
    6. 6. The next year <ul><li>In 2007 we won the AAU National Championship. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We cut our two tallest girls and our leading scorer. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We played every able-bodied girl in every game. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We won by an average of about 25 a game, including beating the 2 nd place team 91-61. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Can we apply our eight guidelines to managing projects? <ul><li>Projects are important to businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Much project management time is spent on requirements, schedule, and budget </li></ul><ul><li>However, most projects, particularly business projects, are performed by people and effect people </li></ul><ul><li>The single greatest cause of business improvement and technology projects are social, not technical or strategic in nature </li></ul>
    8. 8. Have a clear vision of what you are trying to do <ul><li>Not just the requirements </li></ul><ul><li>See the outcome – understand how it feels. </li></ul><ul><li>All the stake holders </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss conditions of satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Work hard, improve </li></ul><ul><li>No individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Respect your teammates, referees, coaches, opponents, and the game </li></ul><ul><li>Do the right things, the right way, for the right reasons </li></ul><ul><li>Make it a great experience </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Performers </li></ul><ul><li>Impacted Stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Your Management </li></ul>
    9. 9. Have a clear vision of how you will do it <ul><li>Not just the activities </li></ul><ul><li>How you will achieve understanding </li></ul><ul><li>How you will resolve conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Make commitments on time, deliverables and budget </li></ul><ul><li>How you will view the other participants </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Listen </li></ul><ul><li>Work out issues </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions when you don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Work hard – all the time </li></ul><ul><li>Talk – on the court and off </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Processes </li></ul><ul><li>Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations </li></ul>
    10. 10. Fit the project team to the vision <ul><li>Not just skills or unique knowledge but competencies and attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of the superman and the dragon slayer </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to put people in a position where they can be successful </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Some kids are faster </li></ul><ul><li>Some kids are taller </li></ul><ul><li>Some kids are more aggressive </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t make everyone happy – and you do them and the organization a disservice when you try to </li></ul>
    11. 11. Sell the vision to the team <ul><li>Everyone understands their role and how it makes them successful </li></ul><ul><li>Apply the vision with consistency. </li></ul><ul><li>Over and over again </li></ul><ul><li>Remind yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Reward adherence </li></ul><ul><li>Use the bench as a reminder </li></ul><ul><li>Keep each other in check </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>On-board new people. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to promote the vision </li></ul><ul><li>Catch people doing it right </li></ul>
    12. 12. Avoid Distractions <ul><li>Also known as “Stay focused on your outcomes” or “What would you do differently” </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve the team’s attention </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Referees </li></ul><ul><li>Other parents </li></ul><ul><li>The other team </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets </li></ul><ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><li>Turf wars </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Status meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Restructuring </li></ul>
    13. 13. Manage the attitude of the team <ul><li>Mood is key </li></ul><ul><li>People get swept up – both positively and negatively </li></ul><ul><li>You can kill a project or create huge success based just on the attitude of the team </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Hype them up </li></ul><ul><li>Remind them of successes </li></ul><ul><li>You ask them to commit to a bigger goal </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Remind them of past successes </li></ul><ul><li>Create a picture of them succeeding </li></ul><ul><li>Reward productive behaviors </li></ul>
    14. 14. Work on delivery until you perfect it <ul><li>Pay attention to the delivery capability </li></ul><ul><li>Expect to need improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Measure success as improved behavior over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the obstacles, and help eliminate them. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t compromise – you can learn, but work towards perfecting delivery. </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure defense </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Hand-offs </li></ul><ul><li>Enrollment </li></ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul>
    15. 15. No individual is successful only the team <ul><li>Value is delivered to the customer </li></ul><ul><li>Reward behavior that crosses boundaries to set others up for success </li></ul><ul><li>Catch people doing their jobs right. </li></ul><ul><li>Basketball </li></ul><ul><li>Not high score </li></ul><ul><li>Effort and attention to detail </li></ul><ul><li>Wins and losses </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Not Plausible Deniability </li></ul><ul><li>Setting the team up for success </li></ul><ul><li>Driving towards the vision, not individual objectives </li></ul>
    16. 16. Wrap up <ul><li>We didn’t win through better X’s and O’s </li></ul><ul><li>We didn’t win because we had all the best players </li></ul><ul><li>We didn’t win because of different training techniques </li></ul><ul><li>We won because we put the girls first, expected them to deliver, and trusted them to be successful </li></ul>
    17. 17. People Matter <ul><li>Often, on our projects, people end up feeling disappointed, unfulfilled, and less than successful. </li></ul><ul><li>The people on our projects deserve better. </li></ul><ul><li>People matter because people matter. </li></ul><ul><li>Just by paying attention, we can make a difference. </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing the team aspect of project can have dramatic results – not just on the project, or for our businesses, but for the people in the project. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Discussion