Skip to main content

M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Brian Biro, Bestselling Author & Speaker

By May 31, 2024Article

Brian Biro is armed with degrees from Stanford University and UCLA, is the author of many bestselling titles and has delivered over 1,800 presentations on leadership, team building, and how to breaking through, globally.

His latest book, “Lessons from the Legends” has has drawn inspiration from NCAA and SEC championship-winning coaches Pat Summitt and John Wooden, offering a championship team building formula applicable to business leaders, parents, and educators.

M.R. Rangaswami: How can business leaders adapt these principles to create high-performing teams in the corporate world, especially in the face of rapid changes and challenges?

Brian Biro: In our business world today, the obsession with accelerating technology and AI, it can be easy for leaders to forget that they are actually in the PEOPLE business. It is how you and and your team grow that will determine how far you can go. Both Coach Summitt and Coach Wooden realized they coached people more than basketball.

One of the leadership practices they each used was to guide their teams to focus on controlling their controllables. They believed they did not control results, but they could powerfully impact the effort, energy, attitude, and constant drive to improve that would lead to breakthrough results. Both of these great coaches demonstrated immense humility which also had a profound impact on those they led.

They set the example of GIVING credit and taking responsibility. And, it’s amazing what’s accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. They became shining examples of personal responsibility, always seeking to learn and improve rather than blame.

Perhaps most importantly, both coaches focused every single day on the models of personal excellence they developed: Coach Summitt on her Definite Dozen, and Coach Wooden on his Pyramid of Success. That dogged consistency on the principles and qualities they most sought to develop ignited unstoppable cultures at UCLA and the University of Tennessee. Nothing is more important to long-term success in the business arena than a powerful, unstoppable culture.

M.R.: How can business leaders develop resilience in themselves and their teams, particularly in the dynamic and unpredictable business environment we often face?

Brian: Business leaders can learn from these two Legends to develop extraordinary resilience through a few very powerful leadership practices the coaches lived by. First, they were blame-busters! If you think about blame in the context of time, blame is always about the past. You cannot change the past. So, whenever you find yourself in blame, you are in the past. Coach Summitt and Coach Wooden did not pretend that mistakes weren’t made or than their players and coaches did not make mistakes. But, when mistakes were made, rather then getting stuck in blame, they moved forward by asking what they could learn from setbacks and mistakes to get better. As a result, their players and coaches weren’t terrified of making mistakes and focused instead on constant learning and improvement.

Second, both coaches lived by the practice to end every game, workout, and day on a positive note because that would create a springboard into tomorrow. This simple leadership practice created a positive energy about the future…that something good was coming tomorrow.Finally, both coaches constant focus on controlling controllables and letting go of comparison was especially important when dealing with challenges and setbacks. Whenever we focus on what we DO control rather than on what we don’t, we generate momentum, confidence, and resilience. 

M.R.: How can business leaders balance passion and composure in their leadership style, and when might one approach be more effective than the other?

Brian: Pat Summitt was known for her passion, while John Wooden was characterized by his calm and even-keeled approach. I wrote this book in part to demonstrate that styles are far less important in the long-run than core values, humility, and character. Each coach was 100% authentic in their style and intensity. Both were passionate about teaching and giving credit. Both believed there are no over-achievers, that we have more in us than we know, and both were passionate about helping everyone they led to rise as close to their potential as possible. The great value of John Wooden’s style was his focus on listening. For Coach Summitt it was her intensity about demanding one’s best. Though they went about it differently, both were incredibly PRESENT for others. Only by being fully present do we communicate to others that they are important, significant, and that they matter. 

M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap