#InspiredCoaching: Learn how to build a team from the best

Former Texas State Bobcats head coach Dennis Franchione talks to his team during a game. Franchione offered Inspired Coaching advice to Amway Connections.
Nov 16, 2013; Jonesboro, AR, USA; Texas State Bobcats head coach Dennis Franchione talks to his team during the first half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at ASU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Trust and teamwork.

Those are key parts of success, whether in the business world or on the sports field. Amway Co-founder Jay Van Andel talked about them in one of the many speeches he delivered over the course of his life.

“Amway was built on a concept of trust and teamwork,” he said. “You have the power to build trust and teamwork within your organization.”

You may have the power to build that team, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Thanks to Amway’s support of the Amway Coaches’ Poll and a partnership with USA TODAY and the American Football Coaches Association, we have access to some of football’s elite coaches to get their advice on how to build a team. We also asked some successful Amway Independent Business Owners, or IBOs, for their take on team building.

A winning team comes down to diversity, attitude, trust and a willingness to overcome differences to get the job done.

Diversity

Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the National Football League, said the first thing to think about is diversity.

“The thing I love about football is that it’s the one sport where you can look out on the field and see diversity at its core,” Welter said. “It doesn’t work if everybody looks the same. We need everything from straight muscle to straight hustle and a whole lot of crazy.”

Amway IBO Lauren Wilz prioritizes that on her business team, too.

“In our organization we just really challenge people: Talk to people that have a different background, that are going to have a different perspective, because that is what really challenges our assumptions and actually really breeds the right environment for diversity.”

Attitude

Dennis Franchione, former head football coach at Texas State University, learned that attitude is just as important as talent for a team.

“I could afford to be wrong on talent a little bit,” he said. “Maybe they weren’t as good as I hoped they would be, but I could never be wrong on attitude. If I was wrong on attitude, I brought somebody into my organization that would negatively impact others. If his work ethic wasn’t the same, he would drag others down, so I couldn’t afford to be wrong with that.”

Penn State Nittany Lions Head Coach James Franklin walks arm-and-arm with his team.

Penn State Nittany Lions Head Coach James Franklin walks arm-and-arm with his team. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

Trust

Building trust between team members is one of many things that James Franklin focuses on as head football coach of Penn State University. He does that through a team bonding activity when members gather and take turns sharing a personal story.

Franklin sees strength in vulnerability, and he leads the way by sharing stories from his own childhood about his father’s struggles with alcohol.

Anthony Melillo, an IBO from New York, sees team value in those trusted relationships, too.

“When you build a relationship first and really understand where the people on your team are coming from, when they know you’re going to be with them through the challenges, not just when there’s financial benefit – that’s when you can really pull the best out of somebody,” Melillo said.

Overcome differences

But those relationships don’t mean that everyone has to agree and be best friends, said Bill Curry, former head football coach for Georgia State University. When it comes to getting the job done, religion, race, politics or ideologies shouldn’t matter.

“I don’t care what our differences are,” Curry said. “I’m talking about taking care of business. … On the good teams, the guys give up their differences, join hands and are willing to go to war together, and that’s what makes all the difference.”

So, are you ready to build your team, or do you want to learn more? Visit AmwayConnections.com to read more great #inspiredcoaching insight from elite coaches and learn about the Amway Coaches’ Poll.

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