In April 2018, I was invited to speak at the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Clinic (go if you ever get the chance). The keynote speaker was PJ Fleck, head coach at the University of Minnesota. Coach Fleck spoke about the importance of a daily team meeting. He led us through how he structures his team meetings and the 'magic pill' he uses in each one.
“We will always use short videos to hold their attention and help us make our point. Each day we’re going to show them a movie clip, a highlight of a sporting event or a current event from the news to help drive our message home,” said Coach Fleck. Coach Fleck used an exhilarating clip of two people parachuting but only one with a working chute from the movie, 'Kingsmen' in his presentation at the clinic. It was a home-run clip. I was on the edge-of-my seat and still remember exactly the point he was making...who on this team can you count on to be your parachute in times of trouble?
From Chapter 3 - Culture Defeats Strategy 2
'The Daily Fist-Fight'
I have always been proud of the job coaches in our programs have done meeting with our teams on a daily basis. The first time I got very intentional about it was in 2010 at Mesquite Poteet. We were on 90-minute block class periods, and the rule in Texas is you can only use 60-minutes to work out each day no matter what bell schedule your school is using. Schools on block schedule have 30 ‘extra’ minutes each day that needs to be some type of study hall or even better, leadership development.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better as a presenter and teacher in our leadership development time, but Coach Fleck’s demonstration of implementing movie clips was a game-changer for me. In the original Culture Defeats Strategy, I mention Pete Carroll’s philosophy of ‘fascinating’ his Seahawks daily. The parachute clip from the movie Kingsman grabbed me and still does even after I’ve used it and watched the drama several times myself while teaching seminars.
In chapter 3 of CDS2, we discuss the structure of and key ways to have elite position meetings and team meetings. I attempt to sell readers on the absolute necessity for them to get in the ‘daily fist-fight’ required to build a solid foundation for your championship culture.
Some of the most respected coaches who know a lot more football than I ever will conduct daily team meetings but do they 'go the extra mile' with a video clip?.
'Back to the book'...
Recently, I’ve begun to do a few one-day seminars to help coaches build their own championship culture called The Culture Factory. It has been a blessing to travel and meet outstanding coaches with growth mindsets who are looking to get the edge. It’s also a huge honor to be trusted to meet with their staffs and have coaches spend precious resources to take care of my flight, hotel, and stipend.
Here is the biggest take-home for me after several ‘Factory’ events: most programs have some form of core values but aren’t stressing or emphasizing them on a regular basis … or at all. Getting people from different walks of life, socio-economic backgrounds, different skill levels and different goals to think, speak, and act the same is a tough task and can only happen if it’s done daily. Just like bathing every day is much more useful than once a week. I wash daily and it works pretty well. Our daily system of culture works pretty well, also.
Another key to the daily fist-fight is we must prepare a lesson just like in a typical classroom because we are trying to achieve the same goal of a classroom teacher. We call our time with them our ‘Leadership Academy.’ It’s a classroom for all things Goonville culture.
Here is the short version of how we conduct our daily team meetings (go to CDS2 for a more in-depth explanation):
After 35-40 minutes of workout we gather our guys for '1/2 time'. We have a large area in our weight room where they can sit in rows in front of a large television for our presentations.
Coaches all prepare weekly lessons (powerpoints) and lead them, but I am also going to present a couple of days each week.
We will go through a portion of the lesson to the group and get them talking as a team. The next day before the workout begins, each battalion will meet with their two coaches assigned to them. Groups will discuss the previous day's lesson in a small group.
7:15 am - battalions meet in small groups and discuss the 'take-homes' from the lesson from the previous day
7:25 am - the first half of the workout begins (track practice)
8:00 am - '1/2 time' leadership lesson to the entire team
8:15 am - second half of the workout
9:05 am - over
*I realize we are blessed in Texas to have an athletic period each day. If you are in a school without one, I would do it one of two ways; meet with your team 15 minutes each day before school or once a week for 30 minutes.
If you are interested in using PJ Fleck's 'magic pill' and begin doing leadership lessons with your team, there are several excellent ones in our store on this website.
When I arrived at North Forney in the spring of 2017, the players were introduced to this type of team meeting for the first time. One of the assistant coaches told me after a few weeks that the players he had in class loved them. One of them asked him one day, "what are we talking about tomorrow in leadership academy, coach? I can't wait to hear who Coach Jackson is going to talk about."
Build your culture just like coach Fleck does, with a daily team meeting that fascinates them and drives home the message.