#2 Lesson Learned – A Good Business Leader Must Serve Others First

#2 Lesson Learned – A Good Business Leader Must Serve Others First

Insights from:  Kim Stegall (Fullscope Dynamics Marketing Manager)

The buzz about Alltech Rebelation, the international conference for food and beverage manufacturers and companies to explore innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas, continues. Rebelation recently drew 3000 attendees from 68 countries, and Edgewater Fullscope, Zero2Ten and Microsoft were there as Commonwealth Club sponsors.

If you know anything about college sports you know Kentuckians are passionate about University of Kentucky (UK) basketball. Why? Because they win, and are led by Rebelation speaker, John Calipari.

During his 22 year college coaching career, Coach Calipari led six college basketball teams to the Final Four, won one national championship and helped 31 players make it into the NBA. He’s the first coach in UK history to receive the Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year award and he’s the recipient of the Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year and Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year awards. So, yes, the room was full when this rebel leader took the stage and this SEC college football fan was very impressed, not by the speaker’s awards or accolades, but by his practice of teaching servant leadership.

The 2014-2015 UK basketball team goal was to get eight players drafted into the NBA and Kentucky had the extreme talent to do it. On a single slide, Calipari spelled out the five succeed and proceed steps he and his coaches follow.

  1. Players first - Let the players dreams become the team dreams.
  2. Servant leadership – The players must care about teammates and become their brothers’ keeper. Being a servant regularly involves players and coaches travelling to a US or international location, meeting underprivileged children and washing these children’s feet and then providing them with new socks and shoes. This simple and humbling act deeply impacts the team and the memories of “giving back” stay with these players that may someday be high-paid NBA players.
  3. Academic Success - Coach Calipari wants his players to be successful in the classroom. He reminds his players to “think big—think like a king,” “fail fast and try new things,” and “money has wings, fame is fleeting and life is more than just about you.”
  4. As we all succeed, we all benefit. He teaches the importance of team efficiency, treating each other like family and being trustworthy. He said “It’s amazing what gets done when we don’t worry about who gets credit.”
  5. National Championship/NBA Draft - So how did the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcat basketball season go? They had a perfect regular season record of 34-0 which led to a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament but they were defeated in a final four game by the Wisconsin Badgers. The team sent seven players to the NBA draft.

After his speech, Alltech founder Dr. Pierce Lyons, awarded Coach Calipari the Alltech 2015 Humanitarian award for his widespread charitable endeavors, including “Hoops for Haiti,” which raised more than $1 million for earthquake victims and the 2012 telethon that raised $1 million for hurricane Sandy victims.

Translating his succeed and proceed advice to the business world, Calipari asked his audience so “As a company, are you working for each other like a team?” Let’s revisit some of his key points through a business lens:

  1. Employees first. – If you take care of your employees first, they will take care of your customers.
  2. Servant leadership of your employees. – Your employees must care about each other and work with other employees as a cross-functional team. Sometimes this means doing things that may not be part of their job description, or going the extra mile. Managers should lead by example.
  3. Career Success – Think of this internally and externally. Provide career paths for employees so they gain valuable skills while delivering better work for your company. For someone like Fullscope, who sells ERP and CRM solutions for manufacturers, careers are often made or broken with the selection and implementation of enterprise business systems. Fullscope has a servant attitude toward companies with these projects as we understand the impact on someone’s career. We’ll do what it takes to deliver the right Microsoft technology and make their project a success.
  4. As we all succeed, we all benefit. Coach Calipari’s words don’t need to be changed, they apply to business: Team efficiency is important; treat each other like family and be trustworthy. “Don’t worry about who gets credit just get the job done.”

It sounds like good advice to me.

Read the previous post: Five Lessons Learned from Being a REBEL

 


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