The Results Driven Culture of Coach G
There’s an age-old principle that to grow, an organization must first change or begin to change its culture.
The question “How do we grow?” is often “How do we change the firm’s culture to grow?” The answer is rarely as simply as pouring the coals to marketing or sales.
But the word culture itself is a fuzzy, hard-to-define term…until you experience the culture of the wrestling program at my son’s middle school.
Coach G runs a landscaping business by day, and, by afternoon, he is the head coach of my son’s middle school wrestling team.
Thirty plus years ago, he was a Pan American Games gold medalist, and he won state as a high schooler.
As a result, he has street cred. He is gruff. Short. Yells a lot. And his Spanish accent creates even more urgency when he barks an order. He is your Alpha Male’s older brother.
The other day, I picked up my son after a 7 AM Saturday morning practice. My son didn’t have to be at the practice. He doesn’t wrestle varsity; he is only a sixth grader.
But when Cory showed up, the coach apologized that his varsity wrestler wasn’t there so Cory could wrestle him.
“The next time I see him, I’m going kick his _____-_______ ___” (two adjectives and a short noun that a 12-year-old should never repeat).
Yes, that phrase. To my 12 year old. Like the fathers and mothers of all wrestlers at the school, I coughed lightly and almost chortled when Cory relayed the story to me. I shrugged my shoulders.
Coach G is not your typical suburban authority figure.
The other day he held a short, matter-of-fact parent meeting. About halfway through, an eighteen-month-old began to cry. Coach G stopped his address to the parents, walked over to child and, in front of his mother, demanded that he stop crying. “You don’t cry when I’m talking.”
We all laughed uneasily. Was Coach G serious? Or joking? No matter, the kid stopped crying. And we felt thankful once again that Coach G is our coach. “That’s just Coach G.”
Everything Is Black and White
In no other suburban context would Coach G’s language, attitude, and dictatorial style of leadership work. And no full-time, District 200 coach/teacher could apply even one of Coach G’s motivational techniques.
But his teams win. The last four years the middle school varsity wrestling team has not lost a dual meet or a tournament.
The boys both love and fear him. The parents see the experience as a kind of boy-to-man passage.
That is culture. Or, I should say, one kind of culture: clear expectations, a loud voice, a dash of fear, and what some parents might call a “potty mouth.”
I wouldn’t like a steady diet of “Coach G culture.” And his approach, of course, would never work in two of my life spheres─business and marriage.
But I must say that Coach G is an effective parenting tool. When I’m exasperated with Cory, I now pull out the big stick:
“I’m going to tell Coach G.”
We now have a results driven culture. At home.