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Sunday, August 30, 2020


Back when I was pretending to be an athletic coach, I carefully studied the practices of numerous outstanding coaches (in various sports).  I came to understand a commonality in them:  they were all fundamentalists. 

 No, not the religious kind. 

Fundamentalists in the sense that they knew that when athletes are put into the crucible of competition, they will physically, cognitively, and emotionally default to their HABITS.

Thus, those coaches built into each and every practice session certain fundamental skills routines, to ingrain deeply the auto-responses desired under duress.  Dribble drills in basketball and form tackling in football are examples.  Do them right, every time, without having to think about it.

The best Servant Leaders I know engage in the same type of daily disciplines - the habituation of the fundamentals.  They know full well that under the pressures of organizational crises, disruptive events, tight schedules, difficult negotiations, etc., we default to deeply ingrained schemas - physically, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Both sets of consequential leaders I've studied - the athletic coaches and the Servant Leaders - were fundamentalists.  They deliberately chose and practiced daily the default responses they deemed necessary for success. 

I'm still thankfully learning from some of those exemplars.

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