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A Management Lesson from Coach K | No BS Management Advice


This comes from a podcast interview, I was listening to where Grant Hill was recounting some stories from his career in basketball and in this one, he was talking about a situation where he was playing for Duke against Kentucky in one of the qualifying rounds for the NCAA championship,
Duke, Kentucky. Great teams.
And he tells the story about almost losing the game. They gave up a basket with less than two seconds left in this round. And it would be easy for them to give up at that point. But their coach, Coach Mike Krzyzewski got the players back in the huddle and with the presence of mind asked them very simple question.
He looked at Grant Hill and said, “You know, if I needed you to, could you throw a pass down the court to . . . ” and they had two players down at the other end. And he said, “Sure.” And then he went over to each of them and asked “if you got the ball from a pass, could you make the shot, they both said, “Yeah.”
What he had done is, for a year before practice, he would have Grant Hill practice throwing a basketball like it’s a baseball down court, to someone who would turn around and shoot the ball with very little time left. In other words, he had them practice this exact same circumstance without the hoopla.
But the situation that they were going to be involved with, folks, often we put people into situations that they’re unprepared for. They never practiced being there and we wonder why they fail us.
Being a manager means putting people into situations where they can win. It sometimes involves coaching. It sometimes involves a kick in the butt, but, ultimately,the job of the manager is to put people in a position where they can win and that’s what Coach K did in this particular situation. He put people in a position that they have practiced for before where they could win. That’s your job.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” “No BS Job Search Advice,” and “Job Search Radio.”

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