I recently listened to Coach Bill Snyder – Kansas State University’s legendary football coach – at a leadership seminar. He took a zero-and-twelve football team in the early ‘90’s and, three years later, they were 10-2. He retired once and the team spiraled downhill so they brought him back and, three years later, the Wildcats won the Big 12 title and played in a bowl game.
He shared these statistics about goals and plans:
- 100% of people have goals
- 50% of people have plans
- 5% actually execute their plan
In the ’90’s when he first took over and the team had less than fifty players, at the end of each practice he would ask every player this question: What have you done today to improve yourself?
- To deepen your faith?
- To strengthen your family?
- To become a better student?
- To become a better football player?
You would think a football coach would be more concerned about what the player did to become a better player rather than to deepen his faith, or strengthen his family, or improve his grades. Yet the question about football was saved until last.
Coach Snyder gets it: personal value systems drive every activity we do. Getting the why before the what is always the most important priority.