Film Offers Key Lessons for Leaders and Organizations;
'When the Game Stands Tall' Is About More than Football
The film tells the story behind the remarkable achievements of the Spartans football team from De La Salle High School in northern California. Coach Bob Ladouceur’s teams won 151 straight games over a period of 12 years, the longest winning streak in any sport, including college and professional levels. As the Spartans’ win tally climbed, expectations of many around the team and in their community soared. The pressure to continue the winning streak grew.
As an educator, Coach Ladouceur was not comfortable with the growing emphasis on winning. His coaching had never been just about winning. It wasn’t about the streak. Rather, he was totally committed to teaching young students how to grow up the right way in order to become successful people in the world at large. It was about sharing genuine emotions, overcoming challenges and setbacks, and becoming a family. It was about commitment to each other. It was about brotherhood on and off the field.
The real challenge for the Spartans came following its first loss in more than a decade. Would the team’s unity and collective will dissolve after an inevitable defeat, or would the team become even stronger as its young members chose to recommit to doing their very best as individuals and as teammates?
What would happen in your organization if the floor fell out from under your sales operation for the first time in 12 years or a new product line failed? What if a major new facility fell flat when it opened? How would you want your team to react? Would your team bounce back or would it sit around in stunned silence unable to respond?
As a leader what have you trained your employees to do in these situations? How have you coached and prepared them to respond to challenges? Have you properly conditioned them to deal with the stiff tests they are certain to face in the marketplace? Are they clear about your expectations of their performance, and certain of your support? What will they do if you aren’t around to lead the response? Perhaps most importantly, are you growing their talents and abilities so that your team can become even more successful in the future?
I believe that superior quality wins. Superior quality products, services and facilities are keys to success in any environment. It will take dedicated teamwork, however, to deliver the superior quality your organization needs to pave its road to success.