“Leave No Doubt,” that is the name of the altruistic, realistic book written by Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic gold medalist coach; Mike Babcock. Babacock is a Canadian at heart who shows us numerous times throughout his book that effective leadership and coaching involves a constant balance between core values, personal expectations and an organizational philosophy towards winning.
Babcock opens his book in a thrilling fashion. He begins by revealing his winning credo, which was stretched across the dressing room entrance of the Canadian 2010 gold medal hockey locker room:
"Leave no doubt
That is our game.
That this is our time.
That 14 days in February will be two weeks for the ages.
That every day counts.
That every meeting matters.
That every practice makes a difference.
That each one of us will rise to every occasion.
That this isn't about us, it's about our country.
That we know 33 million Canadians will attend every game.
That home ice is an advantage.
That nothing can distract us.
That nothing can stop us.
That our determination will define us.
That we are built to win.
That we are a team of character.
That we are a team of destiny.
LEAVE NO DOUBT."
As powerful and compelling as the above credo is, Babcock showed the reader on the second page how his book was not just about hockey, it was about life. The credo represented how he approached life and how he chased his dreams. Basically, Babcock always reminded himself that he was fit for the job of succeeding and learning. Both are powerful attributes of a desirable coach and role model.
Although I could write you three separate blog postings surrounding Babcock's book, I want to share with you some of the unique philosophical highlights. One of which was his heart heavy philosophy towards individual effort. As intensive and demanding as the credo sounds, he never pushed a player or an administrator any harder than he pushed himself. That is a very powerful use of effective leadership. Demand? yes, but be effective and demand a lot from yourself first!
With that in mind, Babcock had an interesting approach to failure. He wrote, "If you are disappointed with how your group or team is performing, the first person you should look at is yourself. Alignment and direction start at the top." Basically, he defines how you should react when synergy within a winning organization begins to fail.
Lastly, Babcock consistently used his book to show how to take control and to find a positive outlook during times of negativity. This is something that affects us all. He mentioned how 'speed bumps' come up in life when things do not go our way or according to our plans. Personally, I have dealt with that issue and have developed a keen sense of patience in dealing with those 'speed bumps'. Babcock describes those 'speed bumps' as moments of excitement which keep life interesting. As a coach, people see him as a successful figure, but in reality he almost abandoned his coaching aspirations at a young age to take on another career. He chose patience, embraced challenge and adversity, and now he can reflect on those challenges by looking at his image in Lord Stanley's Cup and his shiny 2010 Olympic gold medal.....
If you are a coach who wants to succeed, before you pick up a coaching manual or commit to a team, read this book. If you want to start a successful business and you want to discover who you are as a leader while looking ahead to where you want to be, read this book.