Author Jon Gordon has put together a collection of books that have been resourceful for coaches of any industry. I have had the opportunity to read The Energy Bus and now, You Win in the Locker Room First.

Starting a program, rebuilding or rebranding is about getting the right people on board embracing a plan in place geared towards sustainable success. You Win in the Locker Room First provides guidelines (7 C’s) encapsulating variables to consider when building a winning program. Anecdotes provided from former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith and sage commentary from author Jon Gordon provides for an easy read that could be of value for any future leaders, particularly coaches. Here are the 7 C’s with a couple quotes from each that stood out the most:


“…culture is defined and created from the top down, but it comes to life from the bottom up.”

“If you are looking to build a new culture or transform the one you have, the first questions you should ask yourself are, “What do we stand for?” and “What do we want to be known for?”


“You can do everything right as a leader and coach, but if you don’t have positive mentors and team members in the locker room your culture and team will fall apart.”

“The leaders of the team or organization set the tone and attitude. Every moment of the day someone on the team or organization is taking cues from you.”


“My greatest challenge right now is to be consistent myself. I must be the ‘same guy’ all the time. I must be relentless in my pursuit of being consistent. I must discipline myself to be fully present so I can be in the moment with each person or player. Then we have a chance to maximize the moment together.” – Pete Carroll

“The fact is, past success does not determine future success. Future success is the result of how you work, prepare, and practice and how you strive to improve each day.”


“The best communicator is not the person who is the most eloquent speaker, but the person who has the ability to listen, process the information, and use it to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team and organization.”

“While there are many ways in which you can present the yearly and weekly messages, it’s critical to make sure that you drive the message home the first time you present it. Then, after the first presentation, you want to make sure you reinforce the themes and messages over and over again, almost until they become annoying to the players. You have to say them so often that they become ingrained in their minds.


“When you have these types of challenges throughout the season, it will test your resiliency as a team. It will also test your team’s level of connectivity. When you are connecting as teammates, you reach a level of confidence that will take you a long way in overcoming the issues that can cause dysfunction within the team.”

“As a leader, you have to be intentional about connecting with your team and creating ways for team members to connect with each other.”


“When we hear from a leader, we will learn; but when we feel a leader’s commitment, we will be transformed.”

“Self-serving leaders don’t leave legacies that change the world for the better. They may win a few championships, make money, and achieve some fame in the short run, but true greatness is achieved when a leader brings out the greatness in others.”


“I believe caring is one of the greatest success strategies of all. The greatest organizations on the planet care about the work they do, the products they create, and the services they provide.”

“So think about who you are and what you stand for. Identify ways you love to show you care. Decide how you want to make a difference. What do you want to be known for? Your caring trademark should express who you are, demonstrate values in action, and reflect your mission to make a difference and serve others.”



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