Winning Ways – Learning By Doing

Darrell Smith, IAC President

While watching a basketball game recently, I was reminded of my own experiences in the sport. On occasion, the opposing team would run a “full-court press” the entire game. For those of you who don’t know, a full-court press is an effort by the defense to interfere with the offense’s ability to get the ball across the half-court line in 10 seconds. It is a strategy that is designed to force mistakes on the part of the offense. However, a good coach knows that if their team practices and prepares (both offensively and defensively), they can overcome a press (and even make it work to their advantage). Teams that don’t prepare for a full-court press, however, are often overwhelmed by it.

Throughout my years in sports, I had many coaches who were patient. The best ones had an ability to get the team to understand the value of putting their words into action. Effective coaches often have three stages to their technique: First, they explain it, then they demonstrate it, and last of all, they have their team do it. They knew that we had to spend most of our time doing everything they showed us or we would never succeed. In basketball, for example, a team’s ability to press and “break the press” can make the difference between winning and losing.

These coaching lessons also apply to how we work at IAC Supply Solutions. We have a team of specialists who all recognize that our game plan has to be dynamic and evolve with the needs of our clients. When we draft a rookie to our team, we don’t simply tell them how to do things; they get to start applying what they learn right away. It’s fun to see the rapid progress that comes from doing rather than simply listening. Even our veteran team members understand the need for continual learning. Our world changes every day. Focusing on developing the talents of our team members is what helps our clients keep their win/loss ratio where they want it.

I hope I’m half as patient with IAC’s team as my favorite coaches were with me. I have a few funny memories too. Ask me next time you see me, and I’ll share them with you.