The Best Leaders Surround Themselves With The Best

I’ve always been intrigued by leaders, coaches and teams that use the phrase “Surrounded By The Best!” You would think this would be an obvious or natural response for all leaders “I Want To Be Surrounded By The Best!”  The reality is that many leaders desire to be the best and surround themselves with mediocrity.

The word best is an illusive term; however it’s defined as — being of the highest quality, excellence, the best work, desirable etc. With that definition in mind, a leader should always strive for the best. It’s also important for leaders to understand that they are ultimately responsible for developing their team to be the best.

If you look at sports teams that have a tradition of winning and being the best, you will find a head coach that surrounds himself with the best assistant coaches in the business.  You will also find a program where everyone in the country is trying to recruit and hire those assistant coaches.  Why? It’s simple, just as the definition states: they are high quality, desirable and the best.

I remember visiting with an executive level leader of an organization and he was talking about his senior leader’s philosophy as it relates to their leadership team.  His senior leader has a desire to be surrounded by the best and said it this way, “I want guys on my team who are high capacity, high quality, I want the best.  I want guys on my team whose phone rings from people outside of our organization.  I want the guys that other guys want.”

I shared a post early this over a year ago titled — The Best Leader that outlines OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops’ leadership and the sending out of 7 head coaches in the last 7 years.  As I look at the current College Football AP Poll, I notice that Bob Stoops has 1 Coach that was under his leadership tutelage in the top 10 and himself: Bo Pelini (#10 Nebraska) and Bob Stoops himself (#1 Oklahoma).

If you want to be Surrounded By The Best, you must embrace these three things:

  • 1. It’s your responsibility to develop your team and give them opportunities to be the best. (Even though Oklahoma doesn’t win every national championship, Stoops has had them in a position to win it, year after year.  The best leaders maximize the potential of those they lead…  they put their people in the best position to win.)
  • 2. You have to give those that are “The Best” room to fly, dream big and try new things. (Learn from Google (The Best Search Engine allows employees to spend twenty percent of their time to work on their own project, independent of their workgroup. Google believes that no one should leave in order to pursue their personal passions. Letting employees do this results in over twenty percent of Google’s new product launches has stemmed from these personal projects.  There can and should be a marriage between “High Capacity” talent and great organizations; they are not mutually exclusive.)
  • 3. You must openly embrace that best will not only be sought after, but sometimes the best will leave and take those best practices other places. (7 Division-1 Head Coaches in 7 years & don’t forget about the ESPN All Access to the Sooner program that aired a couple days ago and part 2 tonight.)

Anyone can be the best with hard work, commitment, dedication, learning, leading and having the willingness to be Surrounded By The Best.  dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Share your thoughts on Surrounded By The Best.

  • Excellent points. So how do you go about leading people who are smarter than you? What sources can you recommend?

  • Good stuff! JumpHigh & Go Win!

  • If you look at sports teams that have a tradition of winning and being the best, you will find a head coach that surrounds himself with the best assistant coaches in the business.

  • Bernie

    Really good stuff SW!

  • Martina Luise

    This is nice but can you give an ex// of people who do surround themselves

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