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This business coaching lesson explains why you must have strong business leadership in your organization to achieve success.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Regardless of career accomplishments, you can't be successful in life if you aren't successful with your family.
  • Lesson Nugget: If you don't have a good example of how to be a leader in your life, find one.
  • Lesson Nugget: Whatever level you are at, look for people ahead of you for guidance and provide guidance for those behind you.
  • Ask Yourself: Am I using and investing my talents to the fullest?

leadership and management training like edtech

-You're talking about something right here that is so counter-cultural that it could almost be viewed as offensive by some, because if you think about it, you have the cover of "Forbes," which is a great, great organization. And then, you have "Fortune" and "Fast Company" and all that. And they-- we very rarely celebrate a great dad, you know? We always celebrate the business award. We very rarely say, here is a man who's a father of three and all three are doing well. And you've-- you've been on the record of saying that what you're seeing with your kids and their development is more rewarding than anything you experienced. Do you really believe that? Is it more rewarding to be--

-Absolutely. I mean, I've had times when I've gone-- you know, I've gone to church. Sometimes I preach. And I've had times when I preached at church and on the way home, arguing with my wife on the way home about everything, about stuff I said when I was preaching and all kinds of things. So, you know, in that, there's an emptiness to that, you know? And so I think that there's not enough talk about-- and this has-- I don't really think it has anything to do with the religion.

It has to do with the family really is a structure that our society is built on. It really is. And if we have strong families, we have strong society, period. I don't care what your faith is. I'm telling you, if we have strong families, we have a strong society. And so-- so to me, you know, this is where we have to find that good balance, I think, and understand you're not successful in business, you're not successful in life, if you can't take care of those things that are right in front of you.

-So to me, specifically, I used to-- this is a story I used to say. Well, my dad worked night shift, Dave. So he was never really home with me during the day. So I don't know what it's like to really have a dad that's involved.


-What do you say? Again, because I'm presenting these expectations-- if I'm saying, well, the reason why I do this is because this was how I was raised. This is my background. You are you telling me just take it up a notch? Find somebody that can--

-Find somebody that can help you walk through that, because, you know, that's the-- we need to see-- we need to see the examples. We need-- first, we need to be the examples. Then, we need to see the example. I always look for people who are at that next level for me. So whenever I go-- if I go to a business or a church or whatever, I'll go find the people who are leaders, who I look up to, and I'll sit down in front of them. And I'll say, you know, how are you doing this? Like, I don't even know how to manage my day. How do you get through this, you know? How do you run an organization like this and still have time-- excuse me-- for your wife?

I need to know this stuff. I'm not very good at it. I'm trying to figure it all out. So-- so at every level, we are. I try to be a mentor. We have a Bible study on Wednesdays and I try to be a mentor to the guys at my table, whatever ways I can encourage them and help them and walk through things. Yeah, I have kids who are almost all off to college now. So guys who have younger kids, I can say, OK, I was there. I know exactly what you're going through right now. Try to be patient with them, love on him, and give him whatever advice and help him walk through that trial.

-Now, when you played in the NBA in 1998, I mean, you essentially were making almost $15 million a year at that point, which is $180,000 hours a game. And the reason why I bring that up is because did you ever feel like that the expectations that others were setting for you were too high? Because on the media, you know, we're talking. All these guys like me, you know, we're sitting around grilling food. We're talking about, well, David, he's got to bring more intensity. He's got to show more passion. David has got to play harder. He's-- he's not running back on defense the way he should. Did you ever feel like the expectations were too high?

-I felt like there was a lot of pressure. Now, expectations for-- other people's expectations, I'd never worried about too much. People will put ridiculous expectations on you. I mean, I sat and I remember them talking about Michael Jordan saying Michael needed to do this and Michael needed-- that guy's the best player on the planet. And yet, he still wasn't making people happy. I have no idea how that's possible. So you know, there's always someone there waiting to criticize you, you know? That-- that's there.

I think what we need to set is the expectations for ourselves and understanding that you know, we've been gifted with certain things. And given my circumstances, my gifts, I better answer the bell, right? And that's kind of a biblical thing for me. It's you've been given certain talents and you can't bury them in the ground. You've got to-- got to come back and say, hey, you've given me five talents. I've invested them now. Here's 10. Thank you, Lord. So I think that that's where we draw our own expectations. You have talent. I don't care what it is. You have abilities and you've been gifted with certain things, you need to invest those things in people and in society and then come back and say, I've used them in a positive


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: If a leader is doing their job, they set the expectations high, holds people accountable to those expectations, and is held accountable to those expectations by others.
  • The Art of Leadership Principles: 4. Offer a high degree of service
  • "It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has... It is simply service that measures success." -George Washington Carver
  • Ask Yourself: How do I measure success in my own life?
  • Lesson Nugget: For your business to successfully grow and stay valuable to your customers, you must offer a solution to a need, thereby being a service to your society.


-Who is helping you set higher expectations for yourself? Or who has helped you set higher expectations?

-My wife, number one. That's why it says that a wife is a good thing. Having a wife is a good thing because she she'll help me stretch. She helps me learn. She helps me grow. And even though sometimes it can be challenging for you to accept what she says or how she says it, you have to understand that she's a gift to you. And so that's the first level of challenge right there.

And then I look at my kids. That's the second level of challenge there. So, my sons will do the same things I used to do. And then I think, are you kidding me? I keep telling you not to do that. But it's wonderful. Because you grow, you stretch, you learn. My expectations go up as I see what we're capable of doing. And to me I think it's a great challenge.

-So you don't view your wife, the feedback that she gives you, as criticism to be ignored or to argue with or to defend your position. You view it as she's a sincere gift, she's a precious gift from God, and she's here to be sort of your life coach or to give you these sorts of mirror--


-Candid feedback.

-She's a big part of that. And I think my wife helps drive my expectations higher. My children help drive my expectations higher. I have to be an example for my kids. So, that means day by day I have to be above reproach. I have to come in there every day and set a tone. And my kids are watching me. They're saying, Dad, you're slipping. Dad, you said something mean to mom. Or Dad, you did this.

So, my actions-- they push me to a higher level. They set the expectations. And you might think, oh, that's ridiculous. You can't be perfect. Of course we can't be perfect. But we can strive. We can push ourselves to that level where every day I'm trying to be a better person. I'm trying to be a better man. And I think that we have natural things around us that push us up to that level, if we accept it.

-Now, principle number four is offering a high degree of service. George Washington Carver was so into this concept of offering a high degree of service, to the point that he explains that essentially at the end of the day, at the end of your life, that's how you're measured. Could you maybe clarify what George Washington Carver was talking about when he was talking about offering a high degree of service? And what that means to you?

-Yeah. Carver was, like I said, one of my heroes. And one of his quotes that I love to talk to the kids about was, I would say that he said, it doesn't matter how tall you or how wealthy a man is, it is simply his service that will measure his success. And so having these kids understand what you give back from the talents you've been given is everything. That's what success is. It's not going to be what your paycheck looks like. It's not going to be how powerful looking you are or what car you drive. None of that stuff is going to matter. It is going to be simply how you use the talent you've been given. And what you pay into other people's lives that's going to measure your success in life.

-And if you're a small business owner-- there's a lot of talk if you watch-- it doesn't matter which president it is. If it's President Obama or it was President Bush, they're all going to say, well, American business is the backbone of our country. We need small business owners to focus on growth and everything. Really, it comes down to usually in American businesses there's a dude or a lady and 10 employees, and that's what it comes down to. If you're speaking to that person specifically that owns the business, they have 10 or 15 employees, why is it so important for them to offer a high degree of service to their team and to their customers?

-Well, because it adds value to our society. I mean, it really is that simple. I think that when you add value, you become more valuable. And your business will become more valuable. That's a very underrated thing. A lot of us think about-- we grow up thinking about how much we can take. As children, we're always taking. We're always, what can you give me? Who's feeding me? What's next?

And then as you grow to be an adult, you learn that it's not always about you. It's about what you can do. As a mom, you certainly learn, it's about me pouring myself out so that these kids can grow. And that's where my value lies. And in a business, hopefully as you mature, you understand that's what your business should be about. That's how you grow. That's how you do something significant is you learn, how can my business be a service to society. How can I meet a need that's not there? How can I build up our society? That will grow you. When you're just taking all the time, your business is going to have a short shelf life.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Ask Yourself: Am I exceeding the expectations of my customers?
  • Lesson Nugget: Treating people with respect can "take the chains off of them" and make them feel valuable. People that feel valuable, in turn, can add to our society.
  • Lesson Nugget: Sometimes, people just need someone else to believe they can do it. Encouraging people can have a greater impact on their lives.


-Well, here's what I'm trying to do with my wife. I try to get home. And I try to say, baby, I'll be home at 6:00. I don't know if you've used this move at all. This is the move I do-- say I'll be home around six.


And I try to get home like at 5:55, or 5:42, or 5:15, because she doesn't expect that extra level. Or with customers, sometimes when they show up, I like to have a gift bag for them, for their birthday, or east-- so I'm always trying to exceed their expectation. What are some things that you do on a practical level, on a daily basis, to try to offer a high degree of service to the people in your life?

-Well, I think I try to have a-- number one, my number one thing is treat people with the respect. I don't care who it is. I always like to take a extra special time to acknowledge people who are serving. People, whether it's the attendant in the bathroom, or whether it's the gas station guy, or whether it's whoever it is-- the Bellman at the hotel. Take a minute to say hi. Shake their hand. Talk to them.

That's what I always try to do, because those people are important. And their value is significant. And I think that adds, to me, that adds value day by day. And it just builds up our society. And it takes some of the, kind of the chains off of people, I think, to know that they are valuable. And happy people-- I don't care how much money you make-- but happy people add to our society.

-I think one thing-- it's if you're watching this-- you obviously were able to make millions of dollars playing in the game you love at the professional level. I started in an apartment, didn't have air conditioning. But it doesn't matter if you don't have money. I didn't have money. I did not have money. I didn't have money I could give you. I didn't have gifts I could give you. What I could do, is with every bride and groom that I met-- I use to meet every couple at Panera Bread. And I would meet them at Panera Bread, and I would just offer to buy them coffee, which is like $3.00.

But taking the extra time to talk to the person, and really get to know them. And let them know you care, beyond you as a customer, I really care about you as a human. That's something we can all do. And that's the key to climbing up the ladder there.

Now, when you were in the NBA, you won some-- or, I say won-- you received some humanitarian awards or some charitable, I guess, recognition for some of the work you did off the court. What were some of those awards? And what were some of the things that you we're passionate about doing off the court when the limelight was on you when you were traveling 100 and something days a year?

-I think it's a requirement that I give the awards back when I brag about them, so--


-I don't know, I mean, there just different things. I think that it's really nice. I think sometimes it's important to be an example and allow people to recognize you for some other things you're doing. Because it encourages other people to get involved and to have that as a part of their lives.

Giving back is a part of your life. It's who you are, right? It's you grow up, you learn that hey, if I've been blessed, then that means somebody blessed me. So I've got to be able to bless them.

-In full disclosure, I'm forcing David to talk about this. He does not want to talk about his own awards. But I just want to bring this up because it's huge-- is you spent time, off the court, in a community.

-I think that's a key of it. I grew up going to public school. My dad was enlisted in the Navy. He was a senior chief-- 20 years in the Navy. So we didn't grow up as overly-privileged kids.

We were middle class kids, and we worked hard. I knew I was going to have to work hard for living. And maybe I wouldn't make a boat load of cash. But I was going to be happy in my own shoes.

Whatever I was doing, I was going to figure it out and be a good husband, and father, and all that sort of things. That's what my father taught me. So I hold it as a very high value to encourage people. Because this is America. It's a land of opportunity. It's a place where you can achieve anything you want to achieve. It is very possible, but all you need sometimes is just encouragement.

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