You Win in the Locker Room First

Mike Smith  ( former Falcons head coach) and Jon Gordon ( Hard Hat, Energy Bus) have written one of my new favorite books. Not only will this be our next MBSC Book Club read for April but, I’ve already bought copies for friends in the coaching field.


Gordon is obviously a great writer but, Mike Smith is what really makes this book. Smith’s honesty about what brought down the Falcons is invaluable for anyone who coaches at any level.

Here are just a few of my notes:

Pg 17 Coach Smith on the first season after being one play away from the Superbowl –

“ instead of starting over from the beginning and continuing to focus on the process… we focused only on the outcome… I allowed the pressure to steer us away from the very things that had made us successful… I let outside forces and pressure weaken our culture.”

Pg 33 Jon Gordon- on negative coaches and teammates “ a negative coach can sabotage the entire teams performance… we also know that one negative teammate can sabotage a team”

Pg 35 Mike Smith- on complaining “ I gave the guy bracelets with “No Complaining” on them and told them they weren’t allowed to complain. If they had a complaint they could bring it to me but, only if they also had a suggested solution to the complaint”.

Pg 54 Jon Gordon on communication and negativity “Most teams break down because of poor communication…if there is a void in communication negativity will fill it. ”

Pg 63- Jon Gordon on the power of an outside voice “ never underestimate the power of an outside voice… when it ( info) comes from an outside voice, it’s new fresh exciting…”

Pg 67 “team beats talent when talent isn’t a team”…

Pg 69 Jon Gordon on connection:

“ one of the biggest complaints I get from coaches is that their teams aren’t connected. They have a bunch of young men or women who usually focus on themselves, their personal goals, their social media followings and their egos. They usually have family and friends telling them they should be playing more, scoring more, or getting more recognition. The message they get from the world is that it’s all about the individual, not the team. It’s about me, not we.

Pg 78- Jon Gordon Three Great Team Building Exercises

Hero, Hardship, Highlight- each team members describes their hero, a hardship they had to overcome and the highlight of their career

Defining Moment- everyone shares their defining moment

If You Really Knew Me, You Would Know This About Me

Pg 83 Chapter 6 Commitment- “It’s not about you. It’s about committing yourself to the team.”

Pg 98- “Humility doesn’t mean think less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself less”

Pg 121- “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders”

Pg 125- Character matters. You need talent but talent without character is like a car with no gas. “Character drives talent toward greatness”

Pg 131- Mike Smith ‘ passion involves a belief in something. Emotions involve feelings about something…. Emotions are hard to control and usually self serving and illogical…. Passion on the other hand is the engine that drives you to be a great leader and to build a great team.”

Pg 135- Jon Gordon- “ when people ask me how long it takes to be an overnight success I say at least 10 years. .. Starbucks did not reach store number 5 until 13 years into it’s history…Sam Walton did not oen his second store until 7 years after stating his company.”

If you are a coach or a business owner, read You Win in the Locker Room First, you’ll thank me.





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