Do you want to be the best leader you can possibly be?  Well, I am going to help you today.

Utilizing some older magazine articles and television programming, I gleaned the following 20 Practices Of Apex Leaders – Those Who Are The Best At What They Do:

ESPN NFL Matchup October 14, 2017

  1. Apex Leaders Recognize Those Things Critical To Success And Eliminate Those Things That Aren’t. – Greg Cosell said, “On third down, two things stand out about Carson Wentz.  How good he is before the snap of the ball – so critical to becoming a quality NFL quarterback.  And then, what happens after the snap becomes sometimes things change – really good (at) recognizing, eliminating and isolating.”
  2. Apex Leaders Follow Through And Finish Well. – Louis Riddick pointed out, “The Atlanta Falcons have given up six fourth-down conversions so far in 2017 which is #1 in the league.  They gave up 18 in 2016 which was worst in the league as well.”
  3. Apex Leaders Embrace Simplicity.  Simplicity Improves Speed And Efficiency. – Riddick added, “The Jaguars (defense), they play simple but they play fast…They just got better people than you do on the back end.”

Sports Illustrated November 13, 2017

  1. The Answer To Every Problem Is An Apex Leader.  Go Get One. – Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said, “With two wild cards, it’s easier to get to the postseason.  But it also means it’s easier to lose in the postseason once you get there.  You need a dominant bullpen and two dominate starters.  If you don’t have that, you better go get it.”
  2. Apex Leaders Give Your Team Confidence. – Referring to the last-season acquisition of pitcher Justin Verlander by the Astros, teammate Alex Bregman said, “Thirty-five (Verlander’s uniform number) is a game-changer.  When he walked in here, we immediately were a different team.  It’s his presence.  He’s Justin Verlander!  When we got it was like, O.K., now we know we can win this thing.”
  3. Apex Leaders Raise Expectations. – Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, “He (Verlander) brought us to the next level.  The expectations in this clubhouse went up.”
  4. Apex Leaders Embrace Preparation. – Astros DH Carlos Beltran said of Verlander, “Before a game you come in [the clubhouse] and he’s at a table with 25 pieces of paper spread out.  He is the most prepared pitcher I’ve ever been around.”
  5. Apex Leaders Embrace Self-Improvement. – Verlander said, “There are still going to be times when I struggle with my mechanics.  The difference now is here I have the tools and resources with this team to figure out what’s wrong and fix it much quicker.”

Sports Illustrated November 20-27, 2017

  1. HR Is Not In Charge Of Your Career.  Apex Leaders Continually Self-Assess. – Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said, “There’s been a lot of self-assessment… I feel like I’ve come out the other side a better player, and probably a better person.”

Sports Illustrated December 4, 2017

  1. Process Matters And Is A Differentiator For Apex Leaders. – Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of his former head coach Mike Shanahan, “Mike didn’t just show me that process matters.  He showed me that my process works.”
  2. Apex Leaders Have Put In The Work.LeBron James said to a 17-year-old Ben Simmons, “You have an opportunity to be better than me. But you can’t skip steps. You have to do the work.”
  3. Apex Leaders Are Generous.  They Want Others To Be Great As Well. – Simmons said of James, “Part of his greatness is that he wants others to be just as great.”

ESPN NFL Matchup December 9, 2017

  1. Apex Leaders First Learn How NOT To Lose. – Riddick said, “Before you can win games you have to figure out how not to lose them.”

ESPN College Gameday December 9, 2017

  1. Apex Leaders Live In Vision Rather Than Circumstance. – New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said, “You either live in circumstance or you live in vision.  Once you put the vision out there, map out how they have to get there and what you have to do to create the habits and what you do to have championship habits.”
  2. Being An Apex Leader Is Very Tough. – Fisher added, “A lot of people can be successful but when you go to become a champion, that’s why they only crown one.  It’s very tough.  There’s players everywhere.”

Sports Illustrated December 11, 2017

  1. Apex Leaders Correctly Evaluate Reality. – Former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said, “I’m going to coach this team as long as my key card works.”  15 hours later he was fired.
  2. Apex Leaders Value Competition. – Tennis superstar Roger Federer said to Rafael Nadal, “I’ve seen a lot of hard workers and inspiring players but you’ve been the one who has been the most inspiring and most influential and made me the player I am today.  Because you’re left-handed, because of your spin, because of the intensity you bring on the court, I had to reinvent and rework my game entirely.”
  3. An Apex Leader’s Greatest Ability Is Their Availability. – Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said, “Because of my $100 million contract I know I’m looked at as a leader of my team, and I that, I’m hurt… that I can’t be out there helping my teammates.”

Sports Illustrated December 18, 2017

  1. Apex Leaders Value The Next Generation. – A National League executive said, “(New York Yankees) Brian Cashman has done an excellent job.  He’s rebuilt the farm system with good players and he’s learned to stay away from really bad, long contracts.”
  2. Even Apex Leaders Need A Lot Of Luck. – “Pure luck.”  This is how Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly described the selection of young star center Nikolia Jokic.  Jokic was elected with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.  He was considered a project who was selected partly because he had an American girlfriend.  Jokic now anchors the league’s third-ranked offense.

What is one thing you learned from the list above which will make you a better leader?


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