Coaches are always looking for examples of leadership. They seek advice from other coaches, players and will go outside the sporting world to ask business leaders for stories and opinions.
I was shown an interesting article the other day by a very accomplished coach that leadership is for the birds. It was a story off of a leadership website by Michael Hyatt. He posted a guest blog by another leadership coach, Sean Glaze.
Sean Glaze told the story of penguins at the San Francisco Zoo and the changing of a culture. For years the 46 penguins at the San Francisco Zoo lived a comfortable country club life. They laid around, ate and swam. Taking occasional dips to keep cool and keep their feathers sleek.
As Sean Glaze wrote, “life was un-challenging.”
That is until six new penguins from Ohio were introduced to the colony.
The Ohio penguins immediately jumped into the water and began swimming. They would get up in the morning and swim relentlessly until they dragged themselves out of the pool at night totally exhausted.
And a funny thing happened. According to the zookeeper, without squawking or fighting or penguin cajoling the San Francisco penguins joined their Ohio cousins.
The West Coast birds left their country days and got into the physically demanding habits of their Ohio peers. Soon all of the birds were swimming all day and night.
So what is the leadership lesson to be gleaned?
According to the author, Sean Glaze, “The shock of a new idea or way of doing things inspires people to live up to others’ expectations and levels of performance.”
From the story I think you can learn a couple of important life and leadership lessons that easily transfer to sports.
1.You can’t talk people into changing. Leaders are all about action. They walk the walk. If you don’t want to keep up, that is on you and you will be left behind.
2.Change or new ideas are necessary to shake a team out of the daily malaise that has become the acceptable way of doing things. Just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean it can’t be done better.
3.Keep going, don’t give up. If you truly believe you are doing the right thing, stick with it. Your focus and determination will inspire your team.
Let’s hope that this season swimming with the SHARKS can be just as inspiring.