Attitude Obstacles and the 85% Rule

Mike Neighbors is one of the best coaches around to study for the way that he thinks about coaching.

These are some notes on team building from a presentation he made entitled “The Top 25 Things I have Stolen.”

Probably most of these concepts you already know, but if you’re like me, it helps to continually read, revisit, and review the things I believe to keep me focused on them rather than focusing solely on the urgent items that come across our desks every day. I also think that some of the concepts are worth considering sharing with your team.



ATTITUDE is NOT everything. A great ATTITUDE does NOT mean we will be successful at whatever we dream.

There are things our ATTITUDE can do and things it can not do.

1) Your attitude cannot substitute for competence
2) Your attitude cannot substitute for experience
3) Your attitude cannot change the facts
4) Your attitude cannot substitute for personal growth
5) Your attitude will not stay good automatically

1) Your attitude can make a difference in your approach to life
2) Your attitude can make a difference in your relationships with people
3) Your attitude can make a difference in how you face challenges
4) Your attitude can make a difference

1. Discouragement: Are you a splatter or a bouncer?
2. Change: AM/FM, cassette deck, cd player, IPOD jack
3. Problems: flee it, forget it, fight it, face it
4. Fear: breeds fear, causes inaction, weakens us, wastes energy, inhibits potential
5. Failure: wills/won’ts/cants

85% Rule –Ronnie Tollet, Jeff Jannsen

Jeff Janssen is widely considered the world’s top expert on sports leadership. He helps coaches and athletes become world class leaders in athletics, academics, and life. He is the chief architect and lead instructor for cutting edge Leadership Academies at North Carolina, Stanford, Yale, and PITT. As the founder of Janssen Sports Leadership Center, Janssen associates are highly sought after speakers at many of the nation’s top athletic departments including UCLA, Michigan,Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Florida State, LSU, Arizona, and Xavier.

Jeff has lots of great thoughts, ideas, and exercises on developing leadership. In his travels he gets to visit face-to-face with the winningest coaches in sports. He is afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of the coaches and the players. His research is cutting edge. His access to these programs has produced some of the most useable data in existence.

His COMMITMENT CONTINUUM is the one that struck home the hardest with me because of an exercise he did with all of our programs. He asked each coach to list their team roster. Beside each player we were asked to label each player in one of the following categories:

Resistant: complain about coaches, teammates, workouts, conditioning team rules, pull against the goals of team
Reluctant: half effort, wait and see attitude, skeptical, hesitantly do what is asked, not bought in totally
Existent: are there in body but not in mind or spirit, show up but give little, apathetic toward team, go through motions
Compliant: will do what is asked by coaches and leaders, do just enough to get by, have to be pushed to start
Committed: go the extra mile, self motivated, take initiative, will do right even when you aren’t watching
Compelled: higher standard people, no matter the adversity they are there 100%, prepare, train and compete at highest level

After we labeled each player, we were asked to determine what % of our team were on the proper side of the continuum. He then walked around the room looking at the results and correctly predicted every team’s season results. He could tell so many things from this one exercise. But the main thing that stuck with me was that in all of his research NO TEAM HAS EVER WON A CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT 85% of the players being Compliant, Committed or Compelled.

Never!!! That’s some useable stuff. His book, The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual
speaks of how to move players from level to level and strategies for dealing with situations that really effect your team and your efforts.



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