Wednesday, 19 June 2013

From the coach's box to the principal's office..?

OK, full disclosure here - I am a fairly... ahem... avid fan of the Geelong Cats in AFL...
However, I really don't think I'm being biased in seeing lessons from this article - by Geelong coach, Chris Scott - for staff and leadership groups in schools!!

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities

Who does what..? Who is good at what..? People need to know what is wanted / expected from them, in order to perform the role that the organisation desires from them. It's also so important to identify and utilise the individual strengths of team members - unleash the unique talents within the group and motivate people by letting them practise their areas of strength regularly.

Individual team members driving their respective areas of responsibility

One person cannot do everything - whether they are a coach of a football team or a principal of a school. Others with leadership responsibilities need to drive their respective groups, projects, initiatives, ideas, etc.

Avoid rushing into 'snap' judgements / reactions

When pressure and tension is high, when time appears to be short, it is easy - even natural - to react hastily and rush into decisions / actions, in a bid to 'set standards', be seen to be doing something, or to simply provide an outlet for frustration and stress...
Often, it is more useful to stay calm and take a little extra time, in order to make decisions that are rational, considered and balanced. Easier said than done sometimes!

Trust the process

"... we are really clear in our box on who should be commenting in pressure situations and who shouldn't... I always want to take some extra time to first hear properly from the person whose area the issue relates to."
Having clear, pre-planned processes reduces the potential for emotion and stress to influence decision-making - establishing and continually refining processes and systems will help ensure decision-making is consistent, as well as free from the heightened emotions that can often accompany stressful situations.

Collaborative decision-making

It is so easy for an individual to be 'blind' to a particular perspective / point of view / etc. This makes the discussion of complex issues and significant decisions vital - the range of viewpoints and perspectives need to be aired and considered, in order for informed decisions to be made.

Focus on making good decisions

Where possible... remove emotion, take the time to gather and consider all available information, then make rational, consistent decisions.

Delegation and Accountability

To paraphrase Peter Parker... 'with increased power comes increased responsibility'... 
Delegating influence over and responsibility for decision-making, needs to be accompanied by scrutiny and analysis of errors and under-performance, to ensure that decision-making processes and systems, as well as the performance of individuals and teams, are continually being refined and enhanced.

So maybe I am a little [or maybe a lot... ] biased, but I definitely think there are some lessons from Chris Scott and the Geelong coach's box for other leaders and teams!


  1. I see a lot of parallels with Jim Collins' 'Good To Great'. Nice share mate.

  2. Thanks Tim! I haven't read 'Good to Great' - perhaps I should look it up..?