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Bo Knows Leadership 2

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I wrote previously about how Bo (Schembechler) Knows Leadership after reading some of the leadership lessons on Michael McKinney's Leading Blog. Now I've read the book -- and wanted to pass along some more leadership gems from this "throw back" leader!

John Bacon teams with Bo to write Bo's Lasting Lessons. It details the football career of Bo Schembechler, Michigan's coach from 1969-1989. As a military leader, I appreciated Bo's approach to people-centric, disciplined, focused leadership. The man cared deeply about every member of his team, understood that character counted, and was committed to winning as a TEAM. Here are just a few of the gems in the book:

-- On the importance of mentors: "When you're starting out, it's better to make peanuts for a great leader than it is to get some big salary from a mediocre one."

-- On seeking opportunities for advancement: "For God's sakes, quit worrying about your next job. Just do the best you can at the job you have now, and the offers will come. Wait for the right opportunity, and turn down all the rest. It will make all the difference."

-- Famous Michigan football motto: "THOSE WHO STAY WILL BE CHAMPIONS."

-- On taking over as a new leader: "One of the most common mistakes new leaders to ignore the history of the organization they just took over, or even to disrespect it. When you become the leader, do not start your reign by dismantling or ignoring the contributions of those who came before."

-- On the importance of giving everyone a meaningful role on the team: "Ultimately it makes no difference what (minor role players) accomplish. They're all on your team, and whatever your team achieves, every one of them must feel like this is my team, and we did this together. Because you did!"

-- On people: "You can NOT be a leader unless you like people! You've got to spend time with them, so you know them. You've got to be interested in who they are, what they do away from the job, and how they think. Your people have to know that their value to you and your organization is not determined just by what they do, but by who theyu are."

-- On mission-focus: "I don't care what your business is -- whether you're running a company or a classroom or a Boy Scout troop: You need to find a way to instill game day urgency in everything you do."

-- On the basics: "Blocking and tackling! Blocking and tackling! Blocking and tackling! Every business has its blocking and tackling, and if you can't do those basics well then nothing else matters."

-- On teaching: "Crunch time is not only what you're paid for, it's also one of your best opportunities to teach your people, because they're alert. When they're under pressure, that's when they learn best."

-- On decision making: "And when you're facing a big decision and you don't have much time to make it, you've got to pull the trigger. Not making a decision is the worst thing you can do. So long as you feel you made the right decision based on the information you had at that time, there's no need to fret about it. If it fails, you'll know what to do next time." is not business. Football is not combat. But leadership is leadership. And after reading this book, and having seen Bo give a speech before he left us in November 2006, I am confident that Bo Know's Leadership! Hooah!

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