Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Win the White House!

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”(1)

The late great Babe Ruth…

Good day, friends. Hope you have some good brew in your cup. A very large cup.  This is a lengthy post.

Anyway, I imagine some of you may look at my title of today's post and wonder "what does she know about winning the White House".  Very little.  I am no Karl Rove or Dick Morris or Dana Perino, etc.  Nope.  I am an ordinary citizen who sees the obvious:  The Republican establishment in Congress truly thinks they know better than us.   They are working with the media to pick the candidate that will likely not obstruct their agenda.  Think I'm kidding?  Listen to Karl Rove on Foxnews.  Do you think they really want a Herman Cain in the WH?  Absolutely not.  They want someone who won't challenge them.  They don't want to be on the "We the People" team.  It's far more profitable for them to stay in the "Inside Beltway" crowd.  I hate to say it but appears so.

Many of you reading have been coaches at one time or another in your life.  Some have coached Little League.  Some have coached High School or College.  Some are in professional coaching as in Financial Management or Personal coaching like Zig Ziglar.  

At some point all of us have coached.  We have families.  We have subordinates at work, etc.   Didn't a "team" work more efficiently?

Now why am I trying to relate coaching and politics?  Because I believe with all my heart, the Republicans and Conservatives (AFP, Tea Partiers, etc) all better band together now to defeat the leftist machine.  And we can if we use some common ground like "What's best for America" and not "What's best for the party".  Many of my Republican friends are not going to like that.  Tough.  It needs to be said.

As many of you know, I am an avid Duke fan.  My house bleeds Duke blue.  I watched Coach K get #902 last night.  And I was proud.  What an accomplishment.  I watched as he said when a coach reaches milestones like that, he/she takes everyone who had a hand in it with him.   Coach K took his team.  

This leads to me reposting one of my favorite columns:  
"The Fist Analogy".   It first appeared  two years ago on another blog I was a part of when the Blue Devils were on the verge of a National Championship.  They were a team.   They banded together and became National Champions!  

We can use that same analogy in politics.  If we band together, if the GOP Candidates start pounding what Obama has done to destroy our country, if we collectively use our energy to shut the establishment up and convince them we can do better than Obama but only as a team, we will win folks.  And we can do it using ...

"The Fist Analogy".....

What exactly does Coach K say or do that makes any of his teams think they can do the impossible? That makes them act classy, with tenacity, and with determination?

Coach K believes exactly what Babe Ruth meant in the quote above,
It takes a team.

I learned about the "FIST Analogy" by reading Coach K’s book, Leading with the Heart.
Managers, CEOs, coaches, politicians, moms, dads, and definitely anyone who wants to be a leader should be required to read this book.

I can sum it up as follows (excerpts from a term paper assignment in my Management class, summarized):
 Keep on reading!!

You are part of a team somewhere. A family is a team. A design group for an industrial dryer is a team. Surgeons and nurses in an operating room are a team. Football, baseball, and basketball players are part of a team. The Founding Fathers were a team. Everywhere you go, teams are working and producing results, good and bad, whether at Starbucks or the Hilton or Congress. But what makes a team “a team”? What core qualities should a team have? And what competencies should a team endeavor to possess?

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the book, he likes to think of his teams as a fist. He states, “There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together is unbeatable.”(2)

How powerful is the fist? A fist is strong. A fist is united. A fist is unbreakable. Hold a fist to my face and I will freeze with fear. Pump a fist to show support and I feel secure. This analogy can be transformed and used in any business setting, whether in Corporate America or in the small mom and pops all over the country. It can be used in church meetings, mission trips, and family time at the dinner table. However, one, first, must recognize that a great team starts with individuals who possess the fist qualities: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride.

The first of the fist qualities, Communication, is vital to team building, business, sports or personal. Without communication, how can a group define the good, the bad, or the ugly that may exist? How can the company’s, the team’s or one’s personal goals be communicated if we do not converse with one another? These conversations should not be limited to the employee and manager. We, the team members, have no problem talking around the coffee machine, cafeteria or each other’s desk. We must use them in our families, as well.

The second finger in a fist is trust. According to The Free Dictionary by Farlex (, the definition of trust paraphrased is the firm assurance of the capabilities and reputation of another individual. You would not think twice about leaving your newborn with your spouse. We trust our banks with our money. We should be able to trust government to keep us safe. Nonetheless, trust is not something you’re born with.

It must be earned.

The third finger in our fist is collective responsibility. When individuals collectively work towards a common goal, and ignore selfish desires to benefit only themselves, the team will be productive and good results will happen. But this means realizing the majority of fingers pointing will be to ourselves. We will have to take responsibility for our own actions, communicate our needs and desires, and help our family, friends, and neighbors to be the best they can be. It’s a tough job putting others first. But it’s the right thing to do. Ken Blanchard puts collective responsibility in perspective: “None of us is as smart as all of us.”(3)

The fourth finger in our fist analogy is caring. Are we suppose to care for others as much as we care for ourselves? For what purpose? I am an avid Duke Basketball fan. I watch every game I possibly can. When I observe the Duke players, I not only see excellence, but heartfelt caring for each other. I have watched the players pat each other on the back, even after a loss. The captains communicate. They display their hearts each time they hit the wood. They show leadership. My hope is my team, my family, sees this in me.

The fifth finger in the fist analogy is pride. Coach K compared pride as having YOUR signature on whatever you do.2 This attitude is not limited to the basketball court. Whether I am cooking dinner, volunteering at church, designing a database or even taking care of my two year old grandson, the task should be accomplished heartily and to the best of my ability. We should ask ourselves as team members if we are doing that. Are we taking pride in every task, every conversation, every moment of our day? Do you do that?
Pride starts with you - it can make you or break you. But when someone is confident and happy with the situation he/she is in, problems do not seem that big. They are easier to fix. That same confidence bleeds over to the rest of your team. The team becomes cohesive and bonds. This in turn increases productivity, communication, caring, and responsibility. And the quality of output is excellent. Amen!

Now my friends, do this exercise with me:

Look at your palm.  Your fingers are outstretched.  Think you could defend yourself like that?
Of course not.

Now, form a fist.  Feel its' strength?  Oh yeah.  I might be able to punch something or someone pretty hard.  I would at least be a force to deal with.  

My friends, that's the attitude we need going into 2012.  We need warriors.  We need to prepare for battle .  We have one chance to bring America back from the brink.  

Join the right team and we will take back the White House.


(1,3) ”Team Building Quotes”. 17 Mar 2006. 22 Nov 2008.(
(2) Krzyzewski, Mike, and Phillips, Donald T., Leading with the Heart. New York, NY.
Warner Books, 2000, p. 68.

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