The Secret to Winning

Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio shocked the
sports world by announcing that they were releasing Byron
Leftwich, their starting quarterback, and replacing him with
David Garrard.

Coach Del Rio stated that he not only thought Garrard was
the better quarterback but that he also brought more
positive energy to the position and team — and “positive
energy is something we covet.”

Del Rio, like all great leaders and coaches knows an
important secret. If you want to win, ironically, you don’t
focus on winning. You focus on the positive energy and
attitude and development of your people and team.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA Basketball Coach ironically
never focused on winning. He focused on developing his
players. He focused on improving their fundamentals, skills,
character and team work. He focused on people instead of
outcomes and as a result he won… a lot.

Of course all successful people and teams have a goal to
win. But winning is just a goal and not the focus. Winning
is the byproduct of great effort, leadership, coaching,
teamwork and positive energy. And just as you can win in
sports you can win at work and life by knowing and living
this secret.

My friend Skip Tague told me a story about coaching his
daughter’s basketball team. In the beginning of the year
they were like the bad news bears of basketball. They were
blown out each game and the girls were dejected.

So instead of having the girls focus on the points on the
scoreboard Skip devised a different point system. He gave
the girls points every time they took a shot, or made a
great pass, or got a rebound or played good defense.

The girls grew more and more excited about this and over
time focused more on how many points they could generate
individually and collectively with the new point system
rather than the scoreboard. “And then a funny thing
happened,” Skip said.

The girls started to dramatically improve because they were
focused on improving their skills rather than the scoreboard
– and they even won their last game. But the best part is
that the following year Skip’s team was the best in the

Whether its football, basketball, work or life, winning
doesn’t happen by focusing on the points on the scoreboard.
It happens when we focus on the people, skills, positive
energy and teamwork that generate the points.

Let us focus on these things, create a new scoring system
and winning will come easy.

by Jon Gordon