Kevin Deshazo

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Twitter – @KevinDeShazo

Kevin DeShazo is the best-selling author of Leadership Interrupted: daily inspiration to become the leader you were meant to be, and iAthlete: Impacting Student-Athletes of a Digital Generation. He is the founder of Fieldhouse Media, Senior Consultant with GiANT Worldwide and Partner with Culture Wins – the sports division of GiANT that helps leaders in the sports industry build a championship culture with their team.

Kevin is a sought after speaker, having presented on over 200 campuses as well as at conferences and conventions, including NACDA, CoSIDA, the NCAA Convention and the Collegiate Athletics Leadership Symposium. He has been quoted on, The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Bleacher Report, Sports Business Journal and a variety of other national and local media outlets.

Kevin also hosts The Leadership Minute podcast and is the co-host of The Sports Leadership Podcast so make sure you check those out too!

Coaches and players alike should be ready to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Kevin DeShazo from Fieldhouse Media and Culture Wins.

What We Discuss with Kevin DeShazo

  • His experiences as a player & what he learned that had a long term impact on him as a leader
  • How Twitter provided direct access to pro athletes in its early days
  • Teaching athletes, coaches, and athletic departments to use social media to build their brand
  • What is your purpose for being on social media and how should that shape the things that you put onto social media?
  • The five components of a high performing team
    • Communication
    • Relationships
    • Alignment
    • Execution
    • Capacity
  • How to balance high support and high challenge as a coach
  • Why all coaches should ask, “What’s it like to play for me?”
  • The two key traits for any leader
    • Self-awareness
    • Intentionality
  • Being Present vs. Being Productive

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 [00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the hoop heads podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my cohost Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast from Fieldhouse media and culture wins. Kevin DeShazo. Kevin, welcome to the podcast.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:00:11] Thank you so much. Excited to chat for a bit.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:14] Absolutely, we are looking forward to digging into some culture and leadership issues with you talking about it, both from the perspective of a coach and an athlete.

Want to start by going back in time to when you were a kid and talk to us a little bit about your experiences with athletics when you were younger.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:00:32] Yeah. So I always loved sports, played sports. Growing up, basketball was probably my main sport. Played, played quite a few, but that was the one that I stuck with the longest.

I certainly was not talented enough to play at the collegiate level. Ended in high school. and then in terms of college played intermurals so if that counts,  that’s about

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:52] the extent we’re counting that for sure.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:00:54] Absolutely. I mean, it’s effort, right? We’re out there running around , it’s competitive.

No, so that was, that was the extent of my. , [00:01:00] athletic career, but just always been a fan as, as most people, you know, grew up on sports, a massive part of my life. and so it’s, it’s fun now that, that sports continues to be a part of my life and part of my work. When

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:12] you look back on your time as an athlete, when you were younger, what’s one or two memories from could be basketball, it could be another sports, something that just stands out to you as something that when you look back on your childhood that you remember from an athletic perspective.


Kevin DeShazo: [00:01:26] is a really cheesy answer.  but the people and the relationships, like I’m, I’m a, I’m a people person. And so the experiences that we got to have the shared experiences,  relationships that were formed to meet you, you know how sports are, you’re in the, in the middle of the grind and you’re, you’re frustrated, you’re struggling, you’re putting all this effort, you’re working your tails off,  for a, a shared goal with a collective group of people.

And so, in the midst of that. If it’s done right, you can’t help a bond. You can’t help but form strong relationships.  and so I, I wasn’t, it wasn’t the world’s best [00:02:00] athlete by any stretch, but was, was fortunate to be a part of some really fun teams with some amazing people.  that, that just taught me lessons that I’ve been able to take throughout life.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:08] Can you think of something that a particular coach shared with you or something that you remember. One of your coaches saying to you or sharing with you that still sticks with you in your current life where you are right now today?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:02:23] Yes. My ninth grade basketball coach,bill Rottler, I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jinx high school, and he was, he was an old guy then and was real mild mannered, real easygoing. And it was the first time,  you know, playing it at that, at that level.  and you’ll get into high school just, it’s obviously a different game, different world than the middle school, just like college is different than high school and as you get older.

But it was all I ever really thought about was the game aspect and how are we getting better as players. He was the first coach I ever had. That that showed me the value of like we, we’d practice, but we would [00:03:00] just have long conversations as, as a team. He would talk to us one-on-one, and it was the first time that I realized like, Oh, he cares about us as people.

Like he wants it to be a great team. But I could tell by the way he, even at that young age, it’s like he’s really concerned about who we’re becoming as individuals and how that shapes who we are as a team. So that was kind of my first. Realization.  even at a young age that sports was about more than the game itself, right there, there was something else going on in the midst of it.

If a coach is doing it right, right. If a leader is doing it right.  so that was a new way for me to think of, we’re not just here to get better at a skill, right? We’re here to get better as people.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:35] That’s kind of amazing that a, he was an older coach. And B, I think that one of the things that we see now is clearly the idea of relationships and culture has become.

Much more commonplace today than if you go back 15 2025 years ago where you had more of that fire and brimstone type coach. And it was my way or the highway as opposed to the relationship. So it’s kind of interesting that you’re ninth grade basketball [00:04:00] coaches, an older man, and yet he was already on sort of the, the front end of this train that was coming down the tracks in terms of relationships and culture.

Interesting that he was sort of ahead of the curve, I’m sure for his time and certainly for his age.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:04:15] Absolutely. You’re right. If you think about it, this is all fairly new in terms of actually connecting with players and not, not as caring about players, because I think coaches have always,  to a certain level care, but to actually show that level of care, to try to connect with the, with the player as a person.

, this would’ve been. You know, mid nineties, late nineties. , and so he, he, you’re right. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was ahead of the curve. That’s not how most coaches thought at that time. And certainly coaches of his age.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:45] When you were going through and you were an athlete at that time, when you started thinking about what you wanted to do.

, as a career, what were some of the things that you considered as you were going into college and where did [00:05:00] you kind of see yourself going? And then we can kind of compare that to where you

Kevin DeShazo: [00:05:03] ended up. Cool. Well, at first it was, first I started out nowhere close to where I thought I would end up. And now it’s kind of getting, actually kind of circling back around to actually where I’ve kind of always thought I would be not, not knowing that this career existed, but.

No growing up, of course you want to be an athlete, just like the kids want to go to American idol. At some point you realize you’re not good enough and you shouldn’t be on the show.  there’s a ceiling to your, to your talent,  athletically. And so I really realized that pretty early on.  I considered being an agent,  consider being kind of all sorts of things in the sports world.

And I considered the FBI considered being a teacher. I’m in my, I’m. My personality is I’m an idea person, so I switch from idea to idea to idea all the time. Ultimately wound up going to Oklahoma state and getting a degree in management information systems doing computery stuff, which is actually what I went.

To school before I realized that my freshman year, that’s what I wanted to major in because I knew [00:06:00] at that point, you know, computers are becoming a huge thing, and they said, if you want to do programming, do computer science. I said, that sounds terrible. , if you want to do the business side of computers, do, do, am I S I said.

I like business. I like computers, let’s go that route. And then of course, it ended up being half of my classes were programming, so it was a nightmare. Anyway, so never, never use that degree. And got a job in healthcare. Recruiting was, well, my first job, which is a different story, maybe for another day, was as an embalmers assistant.

So I was in Obama’s assistant, and they go making six 50 an hour with a college degree for my first six months. And then I got into healthcare recruiting, and then got into kind of the social media world. And so then now for the past five years, been working in sports, or I guess past 10 years, sports and social media, sports leadership, sports and culture.

, but I, I remember in college at some point in college, I don’t know, you know, when Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks thing, I feel like it was sometime when I was in college. And I remember he, he, all the players had like PlayStations [00:07:00] and like CD players in their locker, right? He was one of the first owners to like make the locker room a space that players actually wearing to spend time in.

And I thought, that’s incredible. I want to work for that guy. And I probably emailed him a hundred times, you know, I want to work for you. And it’s, I’m always, even in college with the MIS, I still thought I can do something in sports. And then here I am, you know, 15, 20 years later, actually working in sports.

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:24] Yeah. That’s very cool. I think that like a lot of young people who are involved in in all coins or all kinds of sports, I think there’s always the dream first of being an athlete and then second looking at it and saying, how can I. Stay in the sports world, whether that’s through coaching, whether that’s through working for an organization, whatever it might end up being.

And then of course there’s a lot of people who have that entrepreneurial bent as well. So not only do they maybe want to be in sports, but they want to form their own thing. And obviously you’ve been able to do that with a couple of your different ventures. And I want to ask you about how, because clearly you’ve [00:08:00] been, if you’ve been involved in the social media world for 10 years, you’re clearly, again, sort of on the, you know, on the front end of that trend.

Because I think if you look at what’s happened to social media in the last five years, especially on the sports side of it, I think it’s really exploded over the last five years. So talk about maybe just how you. Got involved in initially what you saw that you thought might be a powerful way to connect with athletes and teams and get a message across.

Just how you came across that idea. What made you think that social media would be an area that you could utilize to be able to help teams, help players, help athletes to, improve their experiences in sports?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:08:42] Yes, I was, I was working in healthcare. I was a healthcare recruiter and Twitter came out. You know, I’ve been on Facebook since college.

I thought it was a terrible idea. Whenever it came out, I never really loved it, but you know, everyone was on it. So I was on it and we were using, you know, the economy was kind of tanking [00:09:00] and we were using Facebook to recruit nurses to find, find nurses to fill job orders that we had. Cause we realized that if we’re on Facebook all day long, these nurses have to be there as well.

And so that was kind of a tipping point for me mentally where I realized, okay. Social media can can apparently be more than like pictures of my aunt’s cat. Like this can be something useful and people can make money. Cause it was how our team, how our division actually stayed afloat during an economic downturn.

, and so then Twitter came out and I was immediately addicted to Twitter because now I realized that I had access to people. Right? Facebook, it makes sense to connect with someone on Facebook because you know them. There’s a relationship. Maybe it’s high school, maybe it’s business, they’re a friend. But Twitter, it’s, it’s, it’s actually a really bizarre thing cause you’re following complete strangers for the most part.

So in the early days, I’m, I’m following athletes, right? I live in Oklahoma city. We had the thunder, some falling Duran following Westbrook falling, James harden, following shack falling, all these, these celebrities. And I’m realizing I’m getting like updates into their [00:10:00] day. And I remember at one point I had just gotten back from a convention at Houston and the thunder, we’re going to play the rockets.

So James harden tweets headed to Houston for a few days. Where should I eat? I respond. Best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever had. We went there two days in a row, here’s the name, and he responded. He was like really best, best Mexican restaurant ever. I’m like, Oh my goodness, I’m having a conversation with James Hart and this is the wildest thing.

Cause like, you know, I grew up going to games and, right, and you’re like trying to get, trying to get athletes attention. Right. I remember going to Rangers games growing up. My aunt lived in Dallas for awhile, so we get to Rangers games and I love Nolan Ryan and we’re sitting by the dugout and I’m just like wearing out my arm, waving at him the whole game, trying to get his attention.

And the best you can hope for is that. Hey kid, you know, like they wave and you go about your day. You think it was the best thing in the world. But now I’m having a conversation with James Hart, like, this is nuts. This changes everything. And so I was just on, on Twitter really as a social media fan. And at some point I realized a lot of college coaches were banning their players [00:11:00] from using specifically Twitter.

You know, the, it’s the enemy. It’s the bad guy. They’re too responsible, they’re too immature, they can’t be using it. And so coaches are banning players from Twitter. It’s social media is the bad guy, but I’m seeing all these other people use social media for good. Whether it’s, you know, athletes connecting with fans, businesses using it, nonprofits, artists, whatever it may be.

So I thought, why can it be so good for so many people? But it has to be bad for student athletes. That doesn’t make sense. Somebody should have a conversation with these guys about how you can use social media. Well. And so, and I’m, I’m realizing it, it’s just shaped as a negative for this one group. While I’m seeing so many other groups use it, use it for good.

And so I just kind of started to complaining to people like, and someone needs to show student athletes how to use social media and not to come in and say, Hey, don’t tweet that. Don’t post this. Don’t be an idiot. But to say you’re on at two or three hours a day, four or five hours a day, let’s actually make this useful both today as a student athlete and tomorrow whenever you enter into the real world, whether that’s pro sports or sales or healthcare or education, you know, whatever it may be.

[00:12:00] And so I kept complaining about that enough. Finally, a friend said, look man, you either stop complaining or do something about it. And I didn’t know anybody in the sports world. I had legitimately zero connections. I was just a sports fan with a Twitter account, and he said, that’s great, but you know, people like you, you, you know, social media.

So go figure it out. And I was in the midst of I, at this point, I had started my own healthcare company and it was failing miserably. And so then my wife, my K, I think. Clearly awesome at business. I’ve made $0 million this year, so I think I just started

Mike Klinzing: [00:12:30] another one. Right.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:12:31] And so, so we did, and again, the idea was that social media isn’t the bad guy.

And so you got to think this was nine, 10 years ago. Instagram didn’t exist. Snapchat didn’t exist. Tick-tock didn’t exist. , it was Facebook and Twitter and YouTube was around. But,  you know, different, different kind of idea in terms of social media. So it was just a brand new world to so many people.

And it started off where ads and coaches were saying, Hey, will you come in and scare our kids off of social media? [00:13:00] And my response was, sure. And then I’d get there. And that’s not what I’m there for, you know? But that would give me on the campus and I could share the real message that social media is not the bad guy.

That you don’t need to be afraid of it. But yes, you need to understand risks and be intentional. , but this could be a really powerful tool, both the student athlete and for the school. And so you shift it, you know, nine, 10 years later to where now it’s. We’re not just talking to student athletes, we’re talking to coaches about how they can use it.

We’re talking to athletic directors and people in compliance and marketing and development. What this looks like for all of them as brand ambassadors, as as their own brands to start to share messages and shape their narrative. And. So now they’re asking me to come in. It’s, it’s not, Hey, we, you scare our kids off of social media.

It’s, Hey, will you help them build their brand? Because that helps us build our brand. And so there’s just been this massive shift, and in a great way, in the way that athletic directors and coaches think. And most of it is because we’ve become comfortable with it. Right? You’re typically afraid of the things you’re unfamiliar with.

And social media was so new that it sounded terrifying because people just [00:14:00] didn’t get it. But now that it’s been around for a decade and it’s, it’s not fad. Right. And they’ve seen the distance as a part of our normal life at this point. They’re seeing the good and the value that can actually come from it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:10] Absolutely. I think if you think back to the early days of the internet and you think about how many people were scared to put their credit card into an online shopping site, and how that clearly has gone away at this point, and. Social media. I know that when I think about my own experiences with it early on, you’re kind of looking at it and going, yeah, I kind of see how this would be cool if I was a 17 year old high school kid, but I’m not sure how it fits in with the plan of what I want to do for my business, whether it’s what Jason I do in there any day as teachers or whether it’s with the podcast or the basketball business.

I’ve been running for a long time. You didn’t always necessarily see what the value in it was. And then as you become more and more familiar with it, as you become more comfortable with it, as you see other people who are using it in such a way that it’s driving business to whatever it is that they’re [00:15:00] doing, or whether it’s, as you said, building the brand of an individual person, you start to see the value in it.

And then one of the things that I always struggle with, and I think that this is something that. I’m sure you provide value to student athletes in this area is, I think there’s always a question of. Am I doing it? Quote on quote? Right? And not that there’s necessarily one right way, but I’m sure there’s a formula of things that you’re able to share with athletes that can help them to be able to get the message across that they want to get across and use.

The platform in such a way that is of a benefit. So let’s talk a little bit about that. What are some things that when you go and you present on a campus to whether it’s an entire athletic department or a team, or however it is, that you go ahead and present your information, what is it that you’re sharing with those athletes?

What are some of the things that you could share with our audience that they could use social media for to help them. Yeah.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:15:54] I think to your point, you’re right, there is no right way to use social media, right? Because of your purpose is totally [00:16:00] different than my purpose. Different than somebody else’s purpose.

So it’s really about what’s wise versus what’s, what’s not lies. And, and even beyond that, it’s about, this is a conversation we have with student athletes and coaches and leaders around social media, but also just around leadership in life is be intentional with it versus being accidental. So it’d be accidental means you don’t really care.

You’re, you’re just on social media because you’re on social media. Cause everyone’s on it because your friends are on it and you don’t really think about how you use it. And so there’s nothing guiding how you post what you post when you post versus if you’re there intentionally. It’s not, well, I’m just there to connect with my friends.

No, it’s, I’m there for a bigger purpose. And that doesn’t mean to build a brand with a million followers or build a business, right? Again, everyone’s going to have their own purpose. But if there’s, if there was a why kind of driving your reason for being on social media, that can shape the what. So if I’m on social media for this reason, what are the things that I need to post to help build that?

So for me, part of it is I’m there to build awareness around. [00:17:00] Sports and social media athletes and social media leadership and culture and communication. Well, if that’s, if that’s what I’m there for, what kind of things should I be posting? So I’m just posting about my dinner or about the weather, about some random stuff.

I’m not, nobody’s going to think of me for those reasons. Right? They’re just gonna think Kevin’s weird. He’s posting about nothing. And so there’s no value. It’s just noise, right? It’s like, Oh, he’s just another guy. I can tune out. But if I’m intentional and say, this is what I’m there for. So that then shapes my actions, and that’s how I built a business in a career.

Because when I was first on social media, there wasn’t a point. I was just on it because everyone was on Facebook and then Twitter was new and it was talking about anything and everything, right? Kind of whatever went. It went through my head, went on to social media and nobody really cared. But when I started using it on purpose.

Every time people would see my name, they knew what kind of content was going to come out from my accounts. And that way, if that’s what they care about, they can follow me and pay attention. If they don’t care about it, don’t follow me. I don’t care. You know, I’m not there for followers and they’re to try to add value to people who care [00:18:00] about the things that I care about.

And so it’s the same thing for student athletes. It’s really,  you know, own, own your, your core. What is, what is your core identity? What do you want to be known for? And if you want to be known for this, are you posting things that add up with that? And so that’s the basic level that’s, that’s really it.

It’s like what? What is your purpose for being on social media and how should that shape the things that you put onto social media? So how do you help an

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:25] athlete develop that. Kind of vision, cause I think of myself at 1920 years old. If I’m a college athlete or a high school athlete, I’m even younger than that.

How do I even know or begin to understand what it is that I want to portray out there? I’m assuming then that you go through an exercise to help kids sort of figure out what’s important to them, what message they want to share. As you’re doing your workshops and as you’re doing a session with them, how do you help them to come to the realization of, okay, this is what I want to stand for.

This is what I want to put out there to the world when I’m on [00:19:00] social media. How do you help kids develop that?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:19:02] Yeah. I think two things. One, it changes, right? You said who you are as a freshman is not who you are as a senior. All right? And the thing is that you want to be known for the things that you’re about are going to be different, or at least it should be, right?

As you’re growing and maturing and developing and figuring out what you believe about certain things and who you really are. And so one of the things that we ask them to do is think of your, your core words or your identity words, and just three or four of them. Now you don’t need a list of 20 but it’s if, if someone hears my name, what do I want them to think?

And so for that student athlete as a freshman, one of the things they’re most going to care about is student athletes. Right? And so, okay, you want to be, you want people to know you’re a student athletes, so you want to be posting content about you as an athlete. That could be stuff that the department gives you, right?

Pictures and videos from your practice and games. It could be stuff that you’re, you know, road trips in the locker room before practice, you know, whatever it may be to show your life as a [00:20:00] student athlete.  it may be that you’re really into art. Or it could be music or maybe you’re funny. Okay, well what can you share to show people that part of you, you know, yes, you’re an athlete, but you’re an artist.

 and maybe that, that art is music. Maybe it’s like actual paint or visual arts, graphic design. What can you show people to get to give them insight into that part of you? And again, those things are gonna change. So I always challenge them, rethink this every year, you know? Are you the same person today that you were a year ago?

No. Okay. Well, how is that shifting the way that you use social media? A great example, just for me personally, is that five years ago I wasn’t working with teams around leadership and culture, and so I was talking about that a little bit because I’ve always been interested, but it wasn’t a core focus of what I was talking about.

Well, and that became something I was really passionate about and something I really wanted to work with teams and leaders around. I could, it’s not going to happen overnight. And so I had to [00:21:00] shift the way I started talking less about social media and athletes and more about leadership, more about culture, more about self-awareness to try to rebrand myself as not just a social media guy in sports, but also as, as a leadership guy in sports.

And so now when people hear my name, they don’t just think social media, they think leadership and culture and a few different things. And,  that’s been me being consistent and intentional over time to reshape the content that I share.

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:25] All right, so let me ask you this. As your own mind ship, mine and mindset shifts, how do you go about learning?

How do you go about growing as a leader? How do you grow about understanding culture and thinking about what it is that you want to share with people on social media? How do you become a quote, GoTo expert in. Culture and leadership. What are you doing to develop those skills within yourself so that then you can share them with others via social media?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:21:58] Yeah. So I, [00:22:00] this is probably five, I don’t know, about six years ago, actually. It was almost six years ago today, thanks to the Facebook memory that I had today. I, so I started, a daily. Newsletter, a daily email called Fieldhouse leadership. So I, as I was doing the social media stuff, you know, it gave me an opportunity to spend time with coaches, with ADSL, with people in the sports world, just to realize what’s really going on.

 the good, the bad, the stresses. And I just realized there was a massive gap and leader development and culture building in the sports world where most of it is. You know, bringing in a motivational speaker, rah rah for an hour, and then things go back to normal. And so I didn’t have a solution for that.

I just knew there was, there was a gap, there was a pain. And so I started a daily email just to try to speak into that, to give, give thoughts, give advice, give encouragement, giving spirit, whatever I had and how within a few months, I had a number of, of ads and Hey, will you  [00:23:00] getting my email? And I said, Hey, will you come out and do a staff retreat?

And I can’t, ethically, I didn’t feel okay doing that. I didn’t have content. Right. I just had a bunch of ideas. I was randomly throwing in to emails. I didn’t have a system. I didn’t have

Mike Klinzing: [00:23:11] any content. It’s how to put together a curriculum Kevin.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:23:13] That’s right. That’s right. And most people would have just said yes and figured it out.

And maybe that’s okay. But like I said, ethically, it was like, I don’t want to, I don’t feel right. And when I’m taking their money, when I’m just figuring this out. Well, six years ago today,  an old mentor of mine, guy named Jeremy Kubitschek, he, he’d run John Maxwell’s brand for a number of years. , my wife had worked for him, years ago in Oklahoma city when he bought Maxwell’s companies.

He moved to Atlanta, put on some massive leadership events. One was called catalyst, which became like a global leadership conference. One was called Leadercast, another global leadership conference. And he kind of realized, again, those big events are, are fun, but they’re not really changing people. Well, he was moving back to Oklahoma city and he’d kind of recalibrating what leader development look like and said, Hey, I want to show you what I’m working on, so I see walk through some of these tools and these [00:24:00] visuals.

I said, whatever that was, I need that. Like as a man, dad, husband. Those things are going to make me better. I said, but more than that, here’s what I’m doing in the sports world. This is the missing piece. Like this is what he was doing, stuff, you know, with Chick-fil-A and Delta and with Google and the air force.

, I said, that’s, that’s what the sports world needs. And so we partnered up. And so for the last six years, I’ve been taking all the content and systems and languages and, um. Stuff that we’ve been building into teams and organizations around the globe and, and kind of reformatting that for the sports world, renamed field house leadership as culture wins.

So culture wins is the sports division of a company called giant. And so giants doing all this stuff in business and nonprofit and you know, all sorts of industries and culture wins is the sports arm of that. So that’s, that’s been for me, a way to a, work on myself, but B, get the content and the systems, the curriculum that we can now put into.

 sports teams and sports organizations.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:54] I think it’s amazing the connection and how closely related the [00:25:00] fields of business and sports are when it comes to building winning organizations. And I know I’ve spent a lot of time reading books, whether it’s on entrepreneurship or business, and then clearly spent a lot of time reading books about coaches and successful organizations within the sports world.

And it’s amazing the number of parallels that you can draw between the two. And so if you would give us. Let’s say two or three things that no matter what your organization is, whether it’s a sports organization or whether it’s a business organization, some of the things that you think are critical to developing a winning culture in business and in sports.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:25:35] Yeah. So we look at what we would call the components of a high performing team. And like I said, this is true. Whatever your industry is, right? If you’re in healthcare, if you’re in medical sales, if you’re in insurance, if you’re in education, if you’re in ministry, if you’re a nonprofit, or if you’re in sports.

So those, those components are communication, relationships, alignment, execution, and capacity. [00:26:00] And so if you have all these, those things going well, it almost becomes this flywheel of moment  where you’re having consistent success. And that’s what we would look at as a great leader or a great team or a great organization, is that they didn’t have a good year.

Right? Cause you can, you can be a bad leader and have a good year, but can you replicate it. Right? Can you keep winning? Can you keep doing the right thing? Is can you keep developing people?  and on purpose. And you know, so for us, those are kind of the five components and most people are just focused on the execution and alignment, right?

We’ll get the calls like, man, our team’s just not executing at the level we should be. You know, we’re not winning enough. We’re not selling enough. We’re not performing at a high enough level. , will you come in and make sure we have the right seats on the bus? Talking about alignment. And for us, if you focus on those two things, you’re just going to get compliance.

Or people are just going to do the job because they have to because they get paid to, because you’re the boss, but they’re not going to give their best. They’re not going to go above and beyond. You’re not going to get,  their best effort, their best energy. Okay. But when you focus on communication and relationships, then all [00:27:00] of a sudden people feel valued.

They feel heard. All of a sudden they trust you. The vision becomes a little bit clear and they’re like, great, game on. You’re going to get everything I have because I trust you and I believe in the vision. And so we can get leaders to start with communication, relationship and realize that that’s not weak.

That’s not holding hands singing kumbaya around the campfire. But if they want to win and if they want to win at a high level and win at a high level consistently, that they’d got to start with communication relationships. So when you do that, people execute and then they have room to actually grow and develop as people and leaders.

Mike Klinzing: [00:27:31] All right, so what does that look like on a. A sports team. If I’m a coach and I’m thinking here specifically basketball, if I’m a basketball coach, what are some things, some concrete things that I could do to improve the communication and relationships on my team? Now, clearly we all know that that can be done through little conversations and talking as you’re coming out for warmups and having conversations that are outside of the game of basketball.

But just give us some things that coaches can do that you’ve [00:28:00] seen have success. In terms of improving that communication and building relationships with their players, which ultimately, as you said, is going to get them to produce at a higher level and buy into what you’re trying to do as an overall

Kevin DeShazo: [00:28:11] program.

Yeah. I think to bring it down to the simplest level, you know, we look at the best leaders in the world have figured out how to balance high support and high challenge. And so, which builds relational trust, right? Too many leaders, and we were talking about my, my high school basketball coach,  years ago, most leaders from that world and a lot of leaders today are really focused on the challenge, high expectations, high demand, get the job done.

And it creates kind of this culture of fear where, Oh yeah, you’re sure what, whatever you say, and almost a culture of manipulation where they’re not going to tell the leader the truth. They’re not going to give them real feedback. Um. Utterly just kind of flip to the other side where it’s too much support.

You would call that a player’s coach, right? Where you want to be their friend instead of holding them accountable instead of speaking [00:29:00] truth.  and actually living the standard and holding people accountable to that standard. And we’ve made accountability. A dirty word in our culture is like, no, accountability is a great thing.

You do that because you care about people, right? Because you, you hold people accountable because you see what they’re capable of and they’re not currently operating at that level. It’s, it’s not something you do to someone. It’s something that you do for someone. And then if you’re doing neither of those things, right, you’re just abdicating a whatever.

I don’t care what you guys do. You know, I’m, I’m out in six months anyway. I’m going to be fired anyway. Or I’m, you know, whatever. Don’t see a ton of that in coaches, but it happens,  where they just let things run a muck, right? It’s just, there’s no energy. , people are doing whatever they want. Nobody really cares.

But the best have figured out how to balance, support and challenge. It’s high expectations, high accountability. But also matches that with the level of support and encouragement and resources and time that people actually need in order to achieve those expectations, to reach those standards. Because if you just like communicate the expectation and then bail, [00:30:00] right?

You’ve set people up to fail. But if you can say, Hey, this is, this is what I expect from you, but I’m going to give you everything you need to get there. People say, great, now I know that you’re actually for me. I don’t, you’re not against me. You’re not trying to hold me back. You’re not here for yourself.

You’re actually fighting for my highest good, so I can trust you even when you speak truth that I don’t like to hear. You know, Richard McKay at Liberty, who’s one of my favorite coaches in the world on their team. They’re what they call trusted truth tellers. It’s like you can T you can tell me the truth, but do I trust you?

When you tell me the truth. And that comes through through relationship that actually knowing each other. And so I think at the simplest level, it’s, it’s just learning to balance, support and challenge. If you can do that, people thrive. It’s a culture of empowerment. It’s a culture of opportunity, and people give their best.

Now you can go really deep with stuff. We have a system, a communication system that we use called five voices. To where leaders can actually know their tendencies around communication and other players, tendencies around communication, and for leaders to really think, what’s it actually like to be led by [00:31:00] me?

What’s it like to play for me? What’s it like to work for me? Well, your leaders define culture. So if you don’t know what it’s like to be on the other side of you, you can’t lead intentionally. And so we can go pretty deep with people,  to help them kind of realize the way they naturally operate, that how they can communicate better with every voice on their team.


Mike Klinzing: [00:31:20] think that’s a powerful question that every single coach out there who’s listening should ask themselves, which is what. Does it feel like to play for me? And I think if you haven’t asked yourself that question as a coach, I think it’s a really great one to really help you to self reflect and understand what your players are feeling.

When you were talking, I also heard you say that when you have a culture that is based on just having high expectations and you have that fear factor, and I think back to my college playing experience and. That was definitely the way that it operated. My college basketball program operated that way. [00:32:00] , through fear, there would’ve been no possible way that I would’ve ever told my head coach the truth about what I was thinking.

It was always, yes, sir. And you would just do what you were told and you think about how the experience could have been different, better, how we might’ve been able to have more success than we had. We had two successful seasons while I was there, and two maybe not quite as successful seasons as everybody would have liked.

And yet at the same time, I feel like if we could have struck a better balance that maybe things would have been different. And at that time there just wasn’t as much information out there in terms of how important the culture was. And you still had a lot of old school coaches and my coach certainly was one of those at that time.

And I don’t have any complaints because I had a lot opportunity and my coach. Like the things that I did, and so therefore I got to play a lot and have had a successful career, but at the same time, part of me wonders and wishes that, Hey, I wish there had been a better balance between, you know, that high expectation [00:33:00] versus that, you know, high support that you talked about where both of those would have been in place.

What if, let’s, let’s just talk to coaches out there. If I’m a coach who has. Very high expectations, but I’m not as good with the support. What’s something that I can do to increase the level of support for my athletes so that they can reach back dictations and then let’s flip it around and go the other way.

If I’m a coach that has that. You know that high communication, but I don’t have the ability to hold my players accountable and have those high expectations. What’s one thing that a coach can do on both sides of those equations to kind of sort of balance the two so we get closer to what we would envision being the ideal.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:33:41] Yeah. I think, you know, what coaches typically do is say, I’m just going to hire people that are different than I am, right? They can handle the things that I’m not naturally good at, and I think that there’s, there’s wisdom in that, right? I think that that’s generally a good move, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to not get better at those things.

Right? You don’t just say, this is who I am. Deal with it. If you want, [00:34:00] if you want someone to tell you your job, go talk to this coach.  or if maybe you’re the coach who’s overly supportive. If you want someone, you, you gotta be the bad guy, right? We get, we have good cop, bad cop. I stopped being a cop. Just be great coaches.

 you know, we, we, we need to get, be better at both of these things. And so I think number one is, is, you know, we, we use this tool called know yourself to lead yourself. So what are your tendencies, right? If your tendency. Is to bring too much challenge and not enough support. That tendency is not going away, right.

If that’s who you are, that’s hardwired into you. But play that out. Those tendencies shape your actions. Those actions have consequences, good or bad, depending on the situation, cause we’re not saying challenge is bad. We’re saying too much. Challenge without support is bad, but too much challenge creates certain realities or certain consequences that shape your reality.

Well, what if you have a negative reality with, with your team overall or with a person on your team? Do some detective work and work backwards. Stop blaming it on them. Look in the mirror and say, what? What of my tendencies is causing this?  maybe it’s my tendency to be overly [00:35:00] challenging.  this kid feels like I’m just beating him up.

That’s not my intent, right? Cause coaches, I don’t, I don’t believe coaches are choosing whipped wake ups. I mean, I’m just gonna be a jerk today. I’m going to bring way too much challenge going to beat my team down. I’m gonna make them afraid. Like nobody wakes up to lead that way. The problem is we don’t wake up to not lead that way, right?

We’re leading accidentally. We’re not choosing to be different. So I think you got to realize how you’re naturally wired is okay, I’m not naturally good at support. I can’t be great. Right? Let’s, let’s not hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations, but I can be better. So let’s say you’re a two out of 10 on support.

Well, you shouldn’t expect yourself to suddenly be an eight out of 10. But can you get to a four and then what happens to your influence and that that support, I mean, it’s, it’s super simple stuff. It’s, Hey, great job, loved you energy during that drill. Hey, love how you’re communicating with the team. Hey, appreciate your effort.

Appreciate the way, just little things, right? It’s not an hour long conversation of, Hey, you’re talking to your point guard or your [00:36:00] quarterback. Hey, just tell me how you’re feeling. No, I just, just give me all the fears that you have. That’s not it. It’s just little moments of showing that you actually care about them because again, they’re trying to figure out, are you for me?

Are you against me? Are you for yourself? Well, if you’re asking me how I am, but you’re giving me encouragement, if you’re celebrating the things that I do, well that lets me know that you see me. Right? And then I’m going to, I’m going to receive that challenge in a much better way. The flip side, if you’re the coach who brings too much support, same thing, that’s your tendency.

That’s who you are. Well, play that out. Those tendencies cause you to take certain actions. Those actions have consequences, good or bad, that are shaping your reality. Well. If your tendency is to be way too supportive and bring no challenge and no accountability, what reality is that creating within your team?

Do you like that reality? If you don’t, what are you gonna do to change it? It’s on. It’s not on the team. It’s on. It’s on you to go first. So again, you’re not going to be great. The challenge, but to realize that you have to get better. You can go from a two to a four. And that [00:37:00] sometimes just comes from speaking truth, right?

And a lot of times, if we’re not going to challenge, we think we’ve brought challenge, but we really haven’t, right? It feels like a mosquito bite and we think we just ruined someone’s day. And they’re like, I think coach was mad, but also think we’re best friends. You know, they’re not quite sure what, what happened.

So being, being able to speak the truth, say, Hey Jeff, this wasn’t, that’s not how that drill goes. Hey, pay attention. I need your best right now. This is important. And so being able to speak truth and hold someone accountable if they’re slipping and that’s not who we are. Cause that’s not how we act.

That’s not how, if their grades are slipping, guys, we’re not players where people. How you act in the classroom matters just as much as how you act on the court. The standard is a standard, no matter where we are, if you’re, if you’re slipping, right? So you keep that standard and hold people to it. And again, that’s not being a jerk.

You have to get that out of your mind cause to too many of us. And that’s, that’s my tendency by the way, is to be overly supportive. You’re not being a jerk. You’re actually fighting for their best.  and they’ll respect you a lot more. Cause what’s going to happen as if, if you don’t do that, somebody else [00:38:00] will.

And they’re going to come back and say, man, coach, I was at this camp over the summer and this guy told me I’m not great at this. Like, does that, is that real? Oh, man. Absolutely. Yeah. You’ve been terrible with that for three years. What? Like what did you tell him? Why? I just didn’t wanna hurt your feelings.

Like, man, I’m trusting you to help me get better. How can I get better if you don’t tell me what I need to get better at? And so realizing that holding people accountable isn’t a negative.  if we do it the right way, they’ll actually receive it as a trusted truth teller and work to get better. Yeah. I

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:27] think that point that you just made is something that we’ve heard from a lot of high level coaches that you have to be able to tell players the truth.

And the reality is, is that players who care about getting better, want to hear the truth from their coaches, and they want to be held accountable. They don’t want to be told good job, when in fact they’re not doing a good job. And. As you said, there’s all different ways and styles of being able to get that message across, but ultimately you have to tell your athletes the truth or you’re going to end up losing them at [00:39:00] some point, and it might not be right away.

It might be, as you said, three years down the road when they get another coach who finally tells him the truth and then they realize, Oh man, I was bad at this all along, and. My coach that I had for three years never corrected me.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:39:14] What kind of coach and the way that we would phrase that to people is you call people up, not out, right?

If I’m calling you out, I’m creating shame. All right? It’s embarrassing you. It’s making you feel less than if I’m calling you up saying, Hey, this is who you are, right? You should be up here. You’re operating down here. Do you see that? Like, I’m not going to let you live down here. And so it’s just different mindset of they don’t need you to call them.

They know when they’ve, they’ve generally know when they’ve made mistakes, right? They’re not dumb, but they typically need you to call them up to a higher level in terms of their mindset, which is going to change their actions. They don’t need you to call them out and shame them and embarrass them. And that’s too, some coaches do that when you’re overly challenging, but when you’re overly supporting, you think that accountability is shame.

It’s like, no, you’re, you’re, they’re going to receive that as you fighting for their best.

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:59] Yeah. I think that’s a [00:40:00] great point and I think it leads to something that I’ve heard you say a couple times, but I think it’s really, really important to mention here and I’ll just get your feedback on it. I think to me, when I hear the things that you’re saying, I think any coach who sits down in a room with.

You or anyone who’s talking about culture and talking about these things that we’re having a discussion around is going to probably be nodding their head and saying hi. I agree with that. I think that’s all true. I think I should probably do that, but one of the things I think is challenging for coaches is that every single day you have to be two things.

You have to be self aware of what you’re doing and to, I think you have to be very, very intentional in the way you go about your coaching and just like you talked about with athletes, where is it. Intentional or is it actually dental? I think coaches fall into that same trap. So you can talk a little bit about how important it is to be a self aware of who you are and then B, how important it is every day.

You step out on the practice floor under the sidelines, how important it is to be intentional.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:40:59] Yeah, I would say those are maybe [00:41:00] the two key things for a leader. I know we can talk about humility and character, which, which are obviously important, but it’s self-awareness and it’s intentionality again.

What’s it like to be on the other side of you. What’s it like to be on the other side of your leadership? Do you know your tendencies? Good, bad? How do you, how do you operate under stress? How do you operate when you’re busy? How do you operate when you’re losing? How do you operate when you’re winning and if, and if you’re constantly changing.

Right? You’re, you’re shapeshifting and your people don’t know what to expect. , which, which version of coach are we going to get today? Right? Cause that’s living accidentally. But when you know yourself and it’s a, it’s a, it’s a journey that never ends, right? This idea of self-awareness. Like I’m constantly learning things about myself, good and bad.

Like, Ooh, that’s not a good habit. Now I don’t like learning those things. I usually get defensive cause insecurity is not fun, right? I want to argue about them, but when I’m honest, I’m like, no, that’s real. And I need to get better.  and coaches talk about this stuff for teams all the time. Coaches have to live it, right?

At some point we get in that coach’s chair, we’re like, no, I’ve, I’ve done my work. Now [00:42:00] it’s time for them to do the work. So I don’t know. Cause you, you always have to be going first. You have to be living and leading this for your team, otherwise they’re never going to buy into it. And so for a coach to practice self-awareness, always looking in the mirror.

And again, you can do that with personality assessments. But I think just understanding your tendencies. Well, sometimes we’ll, we’ll tell people, go as deep as making a tendency log. Hey, when this person said this to you, how did you react? Why is that a tendency when this happened? How did you react? Why is that a tendency?

So you can be intentional to understand how you respond in every situation so that you can be intentional to be better in every situation. And so with this idea of intentional versus accidental, it’s like you’re not going to create a great culture on accident. You’re not going to have a great team on accident.

You’re not going to be a great leader on accident. You’re going to do that by thinking about it every day. And some people will say, that’s exhausting. I’m like, no, that’s leadership, right? It’s, it’s, it’s not a job. It’s, it’s a lifestyle. It’s from the moment that you wake up to the moment that you go to bed, [00:43:00] you’re leading yourself.

You’re leading your family. You’re leading your team. You’re leading your staff. You’re being led, obviously by other people, hopefully, because great leaders are great followers.  but it’s, it’s a mindset. It is the way that you operate in every phase of life. Otherwise you’re a hypocrite. Right? You’re just leading your teams like, no, I got to see that from you.

And every circle of influence and so in every moment, what is, what is my tendency? Is that the right thing? Or do I need to choose a new action because I can’t change my tendencies, but I can change my actions? And that’s, that’s the beauty of, of the balance of self-awareness and intentionality.

Mike Klinzing: [00:43:34] So how long would you say, and again, this is not going to be, obviously the answer is going to be different for every coach and every situation, but typically when you go in and you have these conversations and you help coaches start to recognize and be aware of what their tendencies are and what their style of leadership is.

How, how much resistance is there from some coaches initially? Do you get some pushback [00:44:00] on, ah, you know, I’m not, that’s not, that’s not really what I’m like, like when they fill out one of the a personality survey or they, they’re, they’re doing one of these activities where they’re cutting, where you’re coming back with a result of here’s where you fall on this scale.

Do you sometimes have coaches that. Don’t recognize themselves immediately in the results that they’re getting. And then eventually they come around.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:44:20] Oh, absolutely. And because they’re just like the rest of us. Right? So it’s when it comes to showing them what it’s like in the mirror. Not all of us, like what we see, some of us look in the mirror and still think, you know, where that high school linebacker and we’re 55, 55 year old dad Bob, you know, and we just don’t have that self awareness and we were refusing to see reality in the mirror.

 and so I think it’s, it’s one giving them permission to, to respond, maybe negatively to not have a great response. Cause none of us tend to have a great response and we’re shown the truth and when that truth can hurt.  but I think it’s also critical to point out what they do well. Basically, Hey, this is your personality.

These are the things you’re amazing at. Like these are the things that make you a great leader, but [00:45:00] there are also these things that are going to trip you up. These things that you have to work on. And each of us have both of those sides. We have natural strengths and natural weaknesses. Our weaknesses are never going to be strengths, but they can be less of a liability.

And so for me, with coaches or with leaders, it’s really asking them, well, what do you want. You know, I’m, I’m, this isn’t me telling you these things. This is, this is you looking in the mirror. This is, this is who you are. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. It’s just reality. This is who you are. If you ask your players and your staff there, they’re going to acknowledge this, and so let’s celebrate what you’re really good at and keep building on that.

But what’s your vision for you as a leader? Okay, well, that’s a vision of what could be. Now let’s look at where reality is. How are we gonna start to close that gap between who you are and who you want to be. We’ve got to change some habits. Well now let’s look at your team. What’s your vision for your team?

And not just winning a championship, cause that’s everyone’s goal like, but what kind of team do you actually want to have kind of culture do you want to have? Okay, what kind of culture do you have. Well that we got to change. We got to start [00:46:00] to work to close that gap. So what, what new habits and standards and values do we need to say yes to?

What are some things that we need to stop doing and say no to?  and again, that there’s a process, right? This is, change is really, really hard. Most people don’t want to change.  even if things aren’t going well, it’s just easier to maintain the status quo than to create change. But the but to consistently give them, just like, just like I would tell them to do with their team, I’ve got to consistently give leaders a vision of what could be to kind of encourage them and empower them to keep running, to keep going, to keep trying to develop new habits and showing them where it’s working.

Hey, remember this is who you were six months ago. This is who you are today, and look at your team. I know it seems like it’s really difficult and you may have a long way to go, but look at how far you’ve come and look at the progress that you made. Yeah, I can get the top of the mountains way up there, but look down, look how far you’ve actually climbed.

And so to acknowledge their progress along the way, the same way they should for their team. All

Mike Klinzing: [00:46:54] right, so I love what you just said in terms of getting them to see progress. Cause a lot of times we [00:47:00] have this far reaching goal, especially in athletics. And we see. Where we want to get to and if we don’t get all the way there, we somehow feel like we’ve come up short.

So talk to me a little bit about how your process works. Where, okay, I’m starting day one with coach X. What does that process look like over the course of six months, a year? From your perspective, what are you bringing? How often are you seeing that coach interacting with them? And I’m sure there’s different varying levels depending on a team, but just in your ideal, in your ideal world, how often would you yourself be in contact with the coach, getting them to talk through some of these things to help them continue to make progress?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:47:42] Yeah, like I said, it varies and you have some coaches who are,  who left, who loved to process things, some coaches who hate to process things. And part of that is me figuring out coaches as I work with them. Okay. He doesn’t want me to text him after a game when our loss. You know, he wants it, he wants it the next morning or a couple of days later.

 okay, this one [00:48:00] wants, he wants a text game day or to help him get into the right mindset and to help him be a little more intentional.  so it’s, it’s for me, all right. Same thing. I have to know myself to lead myself, but I have to know, know the people I’m working with in order to lead them well.  so it’s, it varies.

Sometimes it, depending on the team, I could be there every month. You know, going out and spending time with the coach, spending time with the team. , sometimes it could be every quarter.  sometimes I’m just doing, doing video calls and,  with the team, I’m usually communicating with a coach fairly regularly, probably once a week.

Again, depends on relationship, depends on what they want. , but it’s, it’s, there’s kind of a journey. They have to go on it, and it starts at the beginning of just asking them, Hey, what do you want. I, I, you wanted me here or may maybe your ID you wanted me here.  but, but what’s, what’s the goal here?

Cause I can, I can give you a whole lot of advice, but none of it matters if I don’t know what you want.  and I don’t, I can, I can sit here and talk for days and days and days, but let’s actually figure out a plan of how we’re going to work together. Cause my ultimate goal isn’t, hasn’t to do with me.

It’s you want to get better. How do we help you get better? [00:49:00] I’ve got 45 ways three of them are going to matter and I’ve got to pick the right three based on who you are and based on what you want. And so sometimes it’s a three month process, sometimes it’s, it’s a two year process.  what I found is that, you know, depends on relationships and sometimes just the athletic department paying for it.

Sometimes it’s just that team is going to pay for it some times. Just that coach. But I’ve been been fortunate where a lot of programs I’m working with, if it’s not the coach of their teams, the department, they just have a budget for a season. I still stay in relationship with that coach and I’m coaching them anyway because we just become friends and they want to get better and I want to serve them.

And so for me, that’s what I love because those are the coaches who care, right? And not just about winning. They care about getting better. And so they’re going to do whatever they can to get better. And those are the coaches that you’re going to see who are going to win consistently. Or like a Richie McKay at Liberty.

I mean, he’s winning consistently and he’s got a culture now back to back championships. Well, that’s not what they were before, and it’s not the coach he was before. And that’s not that I’m not taking credit for that. He’s, he’s been one who’s been hungry to learn wherever he can learn and commit to getting [00:50:00] better.

 and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s not the same coach he was three or four years ago. And his teams are different than the teams that he had three or four years ago. And the success shows that the culture shows up. So that’s the piece for me is, is you want to work with people who actually care about getting better.

And. Some of them. It takes him a little bit longer to get to that place. Some of them are hungry day one.

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:19] All right. So I want to piggyback off that what you just said. What’s the biggest obstacle that you run into when you’re working with a coach for the first time? So you show up. They may or may not know you in advance.

Maybe they’ve reached out to you, maybe they are Ady has reached out to you. What do you find to be the biggest stumbling block in getting a coach to recognize and start getting on the right path towards building a winning culture?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:50:45] The easy answer is ego, but really ego is just insecurity right there.

They’re afraid. Coaches are very guarded people.  and I think probably some of our media culture is kind of created that, but they don’t want to give anything away. They don’t want to acknowledge there’s any issues. They don’t [00:51:00] want to acknowledge that they can get better because that’s seen as some form of weakness that’s somehow going to be outed.

And so there’s a, there’s a level of insecurity of like, I’m, I’m desperate to prove myself, or I’m desperate. To hide the fact that I’m, I really, I, I, that I know that I’m not doing well enough or I’m afraid of losing reputation or losing influence or losing credibility. So that wall of self preservation is usually really high and I get it.

And so for me, I can’t, I can’t come in and like, I can’t lower that wall for them. Right. I can’t come in and make them, trust me. I’m just going to show up with the right mindset to say, Hey, I can’t force anything. Let’s just talk. And the more that I just have conversation and try to ask questions, try to listen, which, which I will acknowledge is not my natural gift.

I prefer to talk rather than listen.  which maybe maybe why I’m a decent podcast guys, cause I can just talk.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:49] Absolutely. That’s great. That’s, that’s the, that’s those kinds of guests we want on the show.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:51:53] But it’s a learned skill for me in relationship. It just, it’s just not what I’m naturally good at.

But if I want to build [00:52:00] influence. And builds credibility. I’ve got, I’ve got to make them feel comfortable and eventually, if I can start acknowledging that I understand their world, that this show them, Hey, this stuff actually works. I’m not just throwing theory out. I can show you how this will help you when I can show this, how this will help your relationships and how this will ultimately help your family as well.

Not just your team or your staff. This is going to impact your whole life.  as I start to get more and more comfortable than that wall self preservation comes out like, okay, there’s a level of trust and slowly that they let me in, and then the magic can happen. All

Mike Klinzing: [00:52:32] right, so I’m going to guess that I already know the answer to this question where I’m gonna ask it anyway.

What would you say is, when you look at the totality of what you do day in and day out, what do you get the most satisfaction from? When you sit back at night and put your head on the pill and you think about what you’re doing day to day, what do you gain the most satisfaction from.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:52:54] Yeah. I think, lives being changed and I, and I’m certainly not going to sit here and try to take credit for [00:53:00] changing someone’s life, but when I get texts from a coach or a text from an ID and say, man, even if it was just like a tweet that I put out there, like, man, that was the exact thing I needed to hear today.

You know, I’m like, great. That’s it. That’s good enough. Right? Cause something, something that I thought or said or maybe even screwed up, screwed up out. That became a message. Helped help them.  I mean, I’ve got messages from, from ADSL that that content we’ve worked through in systems and have saved their marriage, have saved their department, not just most so financially, but it was all going, going downhill quickly, and they were able to course correct and build the implements they needed.

So it’s, it’s stuff like that. It’s like, you know, teams winning, whatever, having a bunch of clients, whatever like that, that’s all fine and good. But yeah. , at the end of the day, it’s like, I feel like my purpose on this planet is to help do whatever I can to help people get better.  as leaders, as people, as teams, as families, and as I get [00:54:00] messages affirming that it’s like that.

That’s it. That’s all I really care about. All

Mike Klinzing: [00:54:04] right. I love that you mentioned in that answer that not only you’re impacting those coaches. With their teams and on the court or in the gym. But you’re also talking about the impact that it has in their families. Because one of the things that we’ve spent a lot of time, Kevin, talking to coaches about is, especially today, and I think it’s becoming more and more of a factor, is that balance between family life and the demands of coaching.

And so I’m sure that as you’re talking to coaches, that that’s something that has. Come up. And I think that coaches at all levels of the game struggle with how do I balance my desire to be successful as a coach and my ambition in that area with my desire to be the right type of husband and father that I need to be for my family at home.

So can you talk a little bit about maybe some of those conversations you’ve had with [00:55:00] coaches and share some advice that you have or some things that have helped. Coaches that you’ve worked with to strike the proper balance between those two things?

Kevin DeShazo: [00:55:10] Yeah, I think some of it, and this may be a really terrible answer to give,  especially in the sports, highly competitive sports world, but it’s true in business as well.

If you want to be the absolute best of the best, that requires sacrificing something,  I don’t think you can have the biggest and best business in the world and have a healthy family life. I don’t think Steve jobs did it. I don’t know the bill Gates did it.  I, I just don’t know that that’s possible.

And if you look at the work that it takes to become the best coach, the winningest coach, I mean, you, you see the hours these guys are putting in and, and. This isn’t out of judgment. There’s no way they’re, they’re giving their best at home as well. , and so I think you have to almost reframe what does best look like?

Like, do I need to, what if I went to national titles and [00:56:00] don’t see my kids for 10 years? Is that worth it? Like, man, I dunno what that is.  but what if I have a consistently winning team and I’m home with my kids as much as possible and holding my spouse as much as possible? Then I’ve got the best of both.

, and then what does winning. What, what’s a realistic expectation for winning? Now it’s also gonna be different at different levels, right?  certain levels are required, a different level of time demands. You know, D one’s going a little bit different than, than .  not those coaches are any better or worse, but there’s, there’s some different time demands, but I spend some time with a, a power five assistant football coach recently who, not counting game day travel and, you know, just overall game travel and not counting time he puts in at home is putting in 65 hours a week in the office.

So that means he’s probably doing 85 to 90 average. And I said, man, that’s not, that’s not okay. I’m not here to judge you. That’s not okay. I know you’re married and [00:57:00] I know you have kids. And I know sometimes they’re up at the, at the, at the field, the stadium. But man, it’s like that made me that, that kind of re re heightened my mission of like, okay, we got to fix this.

Because I think a lot of it is broken. I mean, it’s just, I would have studied, um. One power five football team spends 20,000 man hours a year studying their opponents. I don’t know if that number is good, bad, indifferent. I have no idea. You know what to measure that against. But it’s like, what if you spent 15,000 hours studying your opponents and 5,000 studying your team and your culture,  but also your family and, and what would, what would change then?

You know, you look at at,  football coach at Navy. They’ve, he looked at Chick-fil-A. I said, man, they’re closed on Sunday, and they’re the highest and most profitable fast food restaurant chain,  per franchise, per location. That’s insane. They figured something out, so he just stopped. He will not let staff come in on Sundays.

So if they can, if Chick-fil-A can do what they do and our clothes one day [00:58:00] we can do what we do and be closed one day a week, go hang out with your families. Don’t watch film cause you can only cram so much or it’s like creamy for a final. Either you know it or you don’t. But we convince ourselves that that extra hour is going to get us that recruit.


Mike Klinzing: [00:58:13] And it’s so easy now to Kevin. You know what I thought with all the digital, with the digital film and everything, you know, you think back to 20 years ago when you had to pop in the VHS tape and

Kevin DeShazo: [00:58:22] that’s right.

Mike Klinzing: [00:58:22] Fast forward and do all this and now you just go on huddle and you can watch, I mean, you could be watching film 24 hours a day and probably going out if you want to watch every opponent you’re playing against, what you want to watch

Kevin DeShazo: [00:58:34] Korean ever.

We have more technology than ever to make us as efficient or more efficient than ever. Yet we’re busier than ever. And probably getting less done and it’s like we should be working less. You should be able to watch more film and less time today because of all the technology, but we just choose. We feel like we’re missing out.

I told the coach one time, we have a system called five gears. It’s about work life balance, which is a lie. It’s about being present or [00:59:00] productive. There are times to be productive. There are times to be present and you’ve got to figure out when you’re in the right gear at the right time so you don’t undermine influence.

Cause I could have, I could work 40 hours a week and have terrible work life balance, right? I could sit at home and be on my phone from four to midnight.  even though I’m, I could, I’m technically home. And so I had a coach one time, I said, you know, you need to wake up in the right gear. Don’t wake up and look at social media, look at your email.

It’ll be there when you get to the office.  wake up and do something that gives you energy, you know, read journal, go for a walk, go for a run, whatever. And he said, yeah, but recruiting, I got it. Yeah. I’ve got to be getting recruits. I said, look man, if you’re recruiting my kid at six o’clock in the morning by texting him, I can tell you who he’s not going to play for.

Mike Klinzing: [00:59:46] Exactly.

Kevin DeShazo: [00:59:47] It’s like if that’s what you have to do to get that kid, that’s a problem because that’s probably not a kid you want on your team. I don’t care how talented they are. If it requires you texting them, but too, cause that’s, I’ve never seen a kid say, [01:00:00] yeah, I signed with this school because they sent me the most social media graphics sent me the most.

DM sent me the most texts. No, it’s relationship. Like the distinguishing factor is always relationship with a coach. And yes, that takes time. But it’s not the amount, it’s not the amount of texts that you’re sending him. It’s, it’s what you’re actually saying to them, how you’re having conversations. And so I think coaches really need to rethink, and by the way, in the midst of this whole coronavirus thing, now they have time to rethink it.

Hey, is how we recruit necessary and best. Now we have time to figure out a better way. Now, I haven’t had time to figure out a better way to structure practice, to structure life.  and so I hope, and we’re working with teams right now to try to figure this out. What does all this look like?  how can you be better now that you have time to actually create change because now they can’t recruit.

Okay, well let’s rethink everything and let’s innovate and let’s try to get better in the midst of this. Cause I, that that system of pursuing their craft and trying to be with families is pretty broken.

[01:01:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:01:00] Yeah. I think, again, what comes through in that whole thing is the need to be intentional. And before we were talking about being intentional with what you do with your team.

And here we’re talking about being intentional with what you do with your time and making sure that. The time that you are putting in is being utilized correctly. And I think you said it very well that it’s very, very difficult to be the top performer in any field without making sacrifices. And a lot of times what’s sacrificed is I’m working on my business, or I’m working coaching my team, or if I’m a player, I’m working on getting better.

And that requires sacrifice and there’s no question about that. And yet at the same time, I think that you made another great point about whether or not. You’re being president of productive, and I know that we all fall into that trap. It’s so easy to have our phone in our hand and be sitting there with our family and we should be interacting with them.

And we just pick up the phone and we’re mindlessly looking at who knows what. And we can disguise that as saying, Oh, we’re working, or I’m trying to send a text [01:02:00] to a recruit, or I’m sending a message to a player. But really all those things can be done at a time when. We’re truly working as opposed to when we’re home with our families.

And that’s something that if you’ve let yourself fall into that trap, if you let yourself kind of become mindless in what you do, then you end up losing a lot of time, both on the productive side and on the present side. And that’s where I think we fall into trouble, as opposed to if we could be completely intentional all the time, or as much as is humanly possible.

And just. Keep that front of mind. What we’re actually trying to do. I think all coaches are going to be better off. I think that’s a great piece of advice you just shared.

Kevin DeShazo: [01:02:35] Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Klinzing: [01:02:38] All right. So let’s jump from that to talking about where you see what you’re doing. How do you see it evolving? What are some trends that you see both on the social media side and in terms of what you’re trying to do with, with culture, with coaches, especially in light of the fact that we’re all kind of locked down now, where, where do you see what you’re doing moving forward?

, maybe in the short [01:03:00] term and then also longterm? What are some things that you have kind of, in terms of planning.

Kevin DeShazo: [01:03:06] Yeah. I think we’ve talked about this a little bit already, but the coaches are realizing, and leaders are realizing the need to care.  that relationships matter, that that leadership as with anything is really a people game.

Whatever industry you’re in, that leadership is the people came. And if you want to win in the long run, you have to develop strong relationships. You have to develop trust.  you have to be worth following, right? We’re, we’re, we’re out of this world where they’re going to follow you because you’re the boss or you as a coach, we have options.

And so you actually have to be someone that we want to follow. And so leaders are starting to get that. There’s this, this slow shift that’s happening and the coaches who make that, that shift quicker will will start to win and we’ll win in the long run. And again, that’s true at every level. That’s true for teammates, for players.

 are you a player that a coach wants to coach? You know, what’s, what, not just what’s it like to play for you? What’s it like to coach you?  so we all have to be asking that question regardless of our role. [01:04:00]  so that’s what we’re seeing a lot with, with leadership for us. You know, there’s, there’s a consulting side of it.

There’s the coaching now we put out an online platform to scale. Leader development.  too. It no longer has to be a workshop or a motivational speech.  people can get better in, in real time and the Palm of their hands, which is, which is pretty powerful. I’m on the social media piece. It’s, it just keeps becoming more and more of an issue.

Schools are seeing now. It’s a recruiting advantage. Um. So Nebraska signed a deal with it with a friend of mine.  Blake Lawrence, they’ve got a company called open doors and their, their platform gets content into athlete’s hands. , he was a former football player at Nebraska, and so it’s not just, you know, and I’ve been in Nebraska and talk to their players.

So they’re going beyond just education. They’re going into real brand building of, we’re going to give you tools and an app, a content and platform to really build your actual brand. Well as the, as the whole,  name, image, likeness stuff continues to build that’s now recruiting [01:05:00] advantage. So again, that that world just continues to evolve from scare them away from it, to help them understand,  how to not make, make mistakes, to help them use it intentionally, to now, let’s give them content, evaluate their profiles,  and help them become social media influencers.

You know, so it’s. It’s a fascinating world. And as the platforms continue to shift,  the behaviors stay the same, right? New platforms come and go.  but the, the, the reality of social media in college sports as a storytelling device, as a brand building platform,  just continues to gain more momentum.

Mike Klinzing: [01:05:33] Yeah. I think it’s an exciting field to be in, both from the social media and technology side of it, which we know is always evolving. And then you combine that with the sports piece of it. And I think it’s just. It’s an exciting field for, I’m sure you to be in and to be able to have the influence. And then the nice thing about sports and business to some degree, although I think sports probably it’s more instantaneous, is you get to see the impact that [01:06:00] you’re having on programs.

You get to see it through a . Feelings that the coach has given to you, and when you’re having those conversations and you get to see the culture that they’re building. And then there’s also the immediacy of that one loss record up on the scoreboard. And then ultimately, as you look down the line, you think about the influences that coaches have, and by you influencing coaches, coaches, influencing players, and then those players going out and having successful lives.

I think that’s something that to be able to have that impact go through multiple layers. I think it’s gotta be a huge sense of satisfaction for you and I’m sure it will continue to be that as you move forward. I want to get, begin to wrap up here, but I want to give you a chance to share how people can find you on social media, how they can engage with you, if they’re interested in some of the things that you talked about today and improving the culture of their team.

And then if there’s anything that we didn’t hit on tonight that you want to share as kind of your final parting shot, go ahead and do that. And then I’ll jump back in and we’ll wrap

Kevin DeShazo: [01:06:58] things up. Absolutely [01:07:00] easiest ways to find me. , I’m on social media often. Um. All platforms at Kevin . The business side is either at Fieldhouse media or at culture wins.

My website is  dot me there’s, there’s business websites, but that’s probably the easiest one to find me at.  kind of a Bookout from about two years ago called leadership interrupted. It’s really like a daily devotional for leaders, for lack of better phrasing. It’s just a daily thought. It took 365 of my daily emails.

 and put them into a book.  you can sign up for my email on my website, I think are the culture wins website.  and then I’ve got a book coming out soon. It’s in the editing process right now. A new book,  tentatively called keep chopping wood, really about the process and a commitment to the process and how you’re doing work to now.

To build your future and build your team, build your culture for tomorrow. So keep a lookout on that. I’ll obviously be be announcing that on social media channels,  when that is ready to be released, but hopefully sometime soon.

Mike Klinzing: [01:07:59] Fantastic. [01:08:00] Kevin, we can’t thank you enough for spending an hour or so with us tonight.

It’s been a pleasure. Getting a chance to know you, getting the chance to learn a little bit more about your business and hearing all the great things that you’re doing for the coaching profession. So thank you. We really appreciate it and to everyone out there, we will catch you on our next episode.


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