About Matt Doherty
Matt Doherty played and coached basketball at the University of North Carolina. He started on the 1982 National Championship team with NBA greats Michael Jordan & James Worthy. The program was led by legendary coach Dean Smith. Matt went on to coach college basketball. He was the head coach at Notre Dame before taking over the UNC program. He led the Tar Heels to the 2001 regular season ACC Championship while being named AP National Coach of the Year. Matt is now a consultant while broadcasting games for the ACC Network.
Since his time at UNC, Coach Doherty worked as the head coach at FAU and SMU in addition to working at ESPN, the Indiana Pacers and the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“Not everyone is a born leader,” says Doherty. “But EVERYONE can become a better leader.” Whether coaching a sport, running a company, or leading your family there are skills that can be developed to put you and your organization in a position for success.
Lesson 1: Emotional Intelligence beats emotional ignorance every time 07m 13s.
Lesson 2: Befriend Change 11m 15s.
Lesson 3: The Six Knows of Leadership 17m 50s.
Lesson 4: How to Hire 23m 53s.
Lesson 5: How to Fire 26m 35s.
Lesson 6: Strengthen your Core Values 31m 51s.
Lesson 7: It’s not a Mission without a Statement37m 38s.
Lesson 8: Forgiveness is how you Free yourself 41m 02s.
Lesson 9: E+R=O 43m 47s.
Lesson 10: Recruit Your Personal Board of Directors 50m 08s.
Matt Doherty: [00:00:00] You know, people talk about success and pound their chest and write books, but I want to talk about failure and the lessons that I learned so I can share them with other people. So hopefully people will avoid the landmines that I stepped on.
Duff Watkins: [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to the podcast. 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn. Where we dispense wisdom, not just fact or mere information, to a rising audience of international leaders. My name is Duff Watkins, and I am your host. This podcast is sponsored by the professional development forum. Which accelerates the performance of young executives of any age in the modern workplace.
Our guest today is Matt Doherty. Matt Doherty is an expert on leadership and he’s also the author of a book called Rebound. First question, Matt, why did you call the book Rebound?
Matt Doherty: [00:00:53] Well, I think that when you say, you said I was an expert on leadership, I think that means I came from the school of hard knocks.
And when you get knocked down, you need to rebound. And my basketball, my background is in basketball. So, I want it to have a play on words with rebound the ball, but also rebound from adversity rebound from setbacks. And in my case, rebound from failure where I lost my job as the head coach at my Alma mater.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:21] Yes. Just on that note, a lot of people, a lot of people nowadays or unfamiliar with that story. So, let me give it to you in a condensed version, you were a high school All-American you were recruited through the university of North Carolina to play basketball. They are UNC is a basketball powerhouse.
You’re on the national championship team of 1982. You played alongside a couple of guys called James Worthy and Michael Jordan, I believe Michael was your roommate at UNC.
Matt Doherty: [00:01:47] He was, he was not, no. You know, that was that was not the case. No.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:52] But he’s a friend of yours.
Matt Doherty: [00:01:54] Oh yeah. He lived across the hall, but yes, he was not my roommate. Yeah. Just want to, you know, we’re still, he wrote the forward to this book stuff, which he doesn’t do very often for people. Correct? Correct.
Duff Watkins: [00:02:07] The point is you’re playing against a couple of guys who went to the hall of fame and professional basketball. And this is the point I want to make to everybody.
Okay. Now, Matt, you weren’t just out there making up the numbers are right. I mean, we you’re playing in the Atlantic coast conference. This was one of the most intense basketball conferences in the U S and you were the second player in the history of the conference to earn 1000. Points 400 rebounds, 400 assists over your career.
So, you contributed.
Matt Doherty: [00:02:32] Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was a stat that I think I was the second player in Carolina history. It maybe the ACC history, I don’t know. It’s one of those stats that they make up to make feel good. I basically was a Jack of all trades master of none. But I, I look back and, you know, I had an important role in, in that you know, I, I was that coach on the floor.
I wasn’t very talented Duff. I couldn’t run a jump, but I knew how to play in. And that’s one of the reasons I want to play for coach Smith, because I know he would appreciate me for the things I could do as opposed to the things I couldn’t do.
Duff Watkins: [00:03:09] Hmm. Very important. Well, and so you, you, you graduate and, and you flirted with a professional league, but you spent some time on wall street and found that dissatisfactory got the coaching bugs a lot of players do then start to work your way up. The ziggurats of coaching assistant coaching got a gig as a head coach of Notre Dame. Big league did very well. The first year the call came in, Michael Jordan was one of the guys who made the call to urge you to come back to take over from the legendary coach at North Carolina, or one of the following, the legendary coach Dean Smith, who at the time, but we won more basketball games than anybody in history he has since been surpassed you under some pressure as Mike, you came back to head UNC and things went pretty well, you were coached national coach of the year, 2001. You’re going to, how well things were going for you. I was sitting in my mother’s house in North Carolina and I’m watching the game. You’re on the coach. You’re on the sidelines coaching. My sister comes in, she has no interest in basketball.
She sits down, she starts chatting to me. She looks over at you on the TV. She says. He can coach me anytime. It’s a true story. So not only were you coach of the year, you were a big, big stud too, you know, so I mean, so things be going so well, you’re on top of the Hill. And then you weren’t and then it fell down.
Matt Doherty: [00:04:28] Right no, it, it, it was a drastic fall. When I give corporate talks, I show a graph and I show the graph climbing, climbing, climbing, climbing, climbing up to a, a level of a 10. And then I show it dropping and I asked people, what does that look like? And they say, most people say, it looks like the stock market crash.
And I say, then the next slide I say, that’s my coaching career. That’s my trajectory of my coaching career. It went up, we went up in Iowa and then it dropped. And I was a national coach of the year in 2001 and 2003, I was forced to resign, and it was very traumatic experience. Duff. I felt like I was falling off the empire state building and there was no safety net to catch me.
Duff Watkins: [00:05:20] I’m going to quote a famous Gridiron coach, Bum Phillips. There are only two kinds of coaches. Thems that’s been fired, thems that’s going to be fired. And I will say you went on to be fired at a couple of other jobs. So, I mean, you’re right on schedule the way I got that,
Matt Doherty: [00:05:34] I got that down. I want it to perfect.
It. I think it’s important. You know, I’m a perfectionist.
Duff Watkins: [00:05:40] Yeah. Well, you were coaching at Southern Methodist university, SMU in Texas. And somehow you don’t, you may not remember this. Many years ago, and we started exchanging a few emails and you asked did I know anybody in Australia because that’s a good coach you’re always recruiting people. And I did happen to know some people who were associated with good players, young players in Australia. So, I put you in contact and then I sent you an email saying, Matt, when you look back in retrospect at your time at UNC, what did you learn? What would you do differently?
And then you sent back a very cogent, lucid, thoughtful reply, which I can’t find anymore. Cause it was years ago. And that my friend is why I’d like you to be on this show today because it showed me that you had reflected upon it. In fact, I’ve since learned that you actually taught a course at SMU about failure based on your personal experience.
Matt Doherty: [00:06:37] No, I mean, the thing that, the thing that I found. I’m pretty authentic. I’m an open book and you know, people talk about success and pound their chest and write books, but I want to talk about failure and the lessons that I learned so I can share them with other people. So hopefully people will avoid the landmines that I stepped on.
Duff Watkins: [00:06:59] Well, that’s what we’re going to do right now. All right, let’s take the lessons. Lesson, number one, emotional intelligence beats, emotional ignorance every time.
Matt Doherty: [00:07:10] Well, and in 2003, when I lost my job, you know, Duff as a basketball coach and a basketball player, we’re wired to. After a loss or even after a win to watch the film and get better.
So, it only made sense to me that when I lost my job, I wanted to watch the proverbial film and try to get better. So, yeah. I went on a leadership journey and took classes, executive classes, nothing, nothing the full semester. And if they had an opening and you had the money and you could fog a mirror, you got in.
But I took classes at UVA and Wharton in Philadelphia, and I was sitting in a class and Wharton taught by Fran Johnston, who I mentioned in the book. And she’s talking about emotional intelligence and this was in 2003, and I’m sitting there listening to this and I’m just soaking it all in. And I never heard of emotional intelligence before 2003. And as I’m sitting in this class, I’m saying to myself, you know, if I took this class before I was a head coach, maybe I’d still be the head coach. So, the emotional intelligence part, I did not get that. That was not the, in my DNA. We’re all wired differently. And so, you know, as you do I talk about in the book STEVIT I talk about in the book is, is the sixth nose of leadership.
K N O W S. And I use the acronym STEVIT. And the first letter S is you got to know yourself. And then the second letter T you’ve got to know your team. And I didn’t really know myself as stupid as that sounds, especially in comparison to other people. So, when I lost my job and I went on this leadership journey, I took the Myers-Briggs assessment and realize that I was an ENTJ.
And I jokingly say I’ve been called a lot of four-letter words before Duff, but never an ENTJ. But to realize that only 2% of the population are ENTJ and I’m thinking I’m elite, right. That I’m a badass That’s one way of looking at it. Right. Other way was that 98% of the population don’t look at things the way I look at them.
That’s emotional intelligence, that’s emotional awareness. That’s, self-awareness, that’s understanding now that your team will look at things differently than you look at them. And so that is the emotional intelligence that I was lacking. When I took over at North Carolina.
Duff Watkins: [00:09:50] And, and as you point out, leadership is a learned thing and a lot of it’s learning about yourself and that’s what struck me is after your failure, you looked at the film, so to speak and you went back and tried to learn more about.
What caused it and how to correct, which is what it takes. It takes exertion on a leader’s part to assume that the role of leadership, the military has this down very well, by the way, and in my reading of history.
Matt Doherty: [00:10:15] They’re the best. I mean, I, when I can talk to a military person, a friend of mine, who I mentioned in the book is Matt Carris, who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the army.
I learned so much from Matt from core values to symbolism. The military, if you can tap into the military and read books about the military and get to know somebody who served and just pick their brains, that’s somebody you should put on your personal board of directors and have a, you can tap into as a mentor.
Duff Watkins: [00:10:45] That reminds me of Dave Odom and when he was coaching at wake forest, university of basketball, he did one of those Goodwill tours in the Middle East for the military and he came away and said, I thought I knew something about teamwork. I know nothing compared to those guys.
All right. Lesson number two befriend change. Now I think every situation you walked into as a coach, probably every situation a coach walks into it. There is some turbulence in turmoil because that’s the situation of change. I always got the feeling change was not your friend. When you walked into a UNC.
Matt Doherty: [00:11:20] No, I think, you know, you’ve got to, to grow, you grow at the end of your comfort zone.
So, most people are not comfortable with change. Matter of fact, if you look at the DISC assessment, most people are S’s, which is, they like steady, they like consistency. That’s 69% of the population. Now I’m a D I and the DISC assessment, a high D director driver. I, as the influencer, I like change. I get stimulated by change.
I like walking into a room, not knowing what to expect, because that is like mental gymnastics for me. And I like to kind of look, you know, that’s why I like coaching because there’s constant change on the court and I could see the patterns and I want to try to move the chess pieces. Most people don’t like change.
Now when I got to. Notre Dame. They were looking for change. They needed change. They embraced change. Most of the change, some of the change they did not like at first. But they didn’t undo it. When I left. If you will, North Carolina, they had 40 years of success. I represented change even though I went to school there, that that was some of my lack of social awareness, emotional intelligence.
I brought my staff with me. That’s signified tremendous change. That was not well received. So, I that’s, when I talk about in the six KNOW’s of leadership, STEVIT. S T E the E is the environment. You’ve got to understand your environment. What environment are you walking into?
At Notre Dame they embraced change at North Carolina. The environment was set in stone. They did not want change, so I should have gone slower with change.
Duff Watkins: [00:13:19] That’s what I remember. From your email. You said when you were at SMU, you emailed me, you said I would have gone slower when I went to UNC, because I, I remember Matt, you fired Phil Ford. And I thought, my God, you know, who would dare fire Phil Ford a legend in basketball.
Matt Doherty: [00:13:39] See, that’s the, that’s the perception, but I never fired Phil Ford. I didn’t hire Phil Ford. You know what I mean? Like most coaches you bring in your own staff and, and, and, Oh, by the way I asked the AD, if I could do that, and he said, yes.
So, so it wasn’t that I hired Phil and fired him. It’s just, when you come in as a new coach, you, you, you get to bring your staff and hire the people you want and fill in the previous staff, I wanted to bring my own staff with me, and that was a mistake. I should have found a way and gone slower and found a way to keep Phil.
Dave Henners and Pat Sullivan, all former players at UNC on staff. That’s part of going slow Duff too, to say, okay, here are the landmines. There’s a landmine. That’s Phil Ford that’s Dave Henners that’s Pat Sullivan. Let’s avoid stepping on that landmine. How can we manage that better? But the other thing, there was a time as the time factor.
Then I got the job July 11th in most coaches get jobs in March or April. July is the busy recruiting time as a, as a coach. So, I had that going to that should have just forced me even more to slow down and figure out a plan. I think one thing I’ve learned even more recently that I should’ve asked coach Smith, you know, even though he was not the athletic director.
He was the one who was the leader. He was the one who cast the biggest shadow over the organization. And I should have asked him about me bringing my staff. I didn’t, because Dick Pedulla was the AD. And I also think I was afraid of what Dean Smith would have said.
Duff Watkins: [00:15:32] And can I just point out to those who don’t know, bringing your, bringing your staff with you standard practice in coaching.
I mean, every sport that I know of everywhere that I know of is standard practice. And in fact, I’ve been wanting to say this to you for years. Every single thing you did, Matt could have worked for you in a different environment at a different time. It, and I’ve seen it done. I’ve seen it succeed. You know, people have succeeded with doing the very things you did and succeed quickly.
Matt Doherty: [00:15:59] That’s why Duff, I mention in STEVIT the E. Knowing your environment. And that’s why you step into an environment, like you said, nine out of 10 jobs that would have worked fine. But North Carolina was that unique unicorn that it was not fine. And so those people listening or reading the book when you’re taking a new job at a bank, you know, wherever it might be in a leadership role, really understand the environment and politics, office politics, corporate politics are real, very real. Is there somebody there that didn’t get the job that may feel slighted? Is there somebody on the board that still wants to micromanage? You know, you have to understand those and either play to it when you take the job or don’t take the job because anything in between will lead to lead to probably dismissal or extreme heartache.
Duff Watkins: [00:17:00] I work with executives around the world, in this accelerated performance program. One of the first questions I asked is who opposes your appointment? And if they say, Oh, well, nobody, I don’t know. And then I realized we got a problem because there’s always resistance somewhere because people being people and, and one of the first things we seek to do is to.
Neutralize it balance it to understand it or extirpated, but everybody’s required. I, you know, I, I don’t know. It depends on each situation, but
Matt Doherty: [00:17:30] that’s exactly, that’s exactly what I just talked about. The environment you got it.
Duff Watkins: [00:17:35] Can you talk about the (Lesson 3) Six KNOW’s of Leadership. I have three of them. There’s Self, Team, Environment.
What are the others?
Matt Doherty: [00:17:42] Vision? You got to know your vision and it sounds common sense, but a lot of people don’t clarify their vision to their team. And, and I think make it to the point where they can really visualize it. They may talk about it, but I think in athletics, we do a great job of visualization.
So, you know, we want pictures of cutting down the nets. We want. Fans storming the courts. You know, those are pictures that I paint in the minds of my players and even actually have actual pictures because I want them seeing that, feeling, that knowing what that’s going to look like, what is the parade going to look like when we win the national championship?
What is, what is that going to look like? And that excites people, it pulls them towards the goal, the vision, but it also, then you get them to buy in. You know, you want, you look around the locker room, you say Duff don’t you want to do that? Yeah. Yeah. Coach. I want to do that. Okay. All right. You go around the room, everyone signs up for that.
Right. Then when it gets hard in practice, when you suffer a defeat in a game. And their heads are down they’re dejected. You can point back to that vision, to that picture, to you committing in that locker room that you wanted to win a championship. So now I can say to you Duff and hold you accountable, you want to win a championship? It takes hard work. It takes overcoming adversity and then get us back in line towards that goal.
Duff Watkins: [00:19:15] Okay. Self, Team, Environment, Vision. What else we got?
Matt Doherty: [00:19:19] Right. The I is industry it’s, it’s kind of funny sometimes when somebody gets a job, but they don’t really, aren’t an expert in their industry. Now. It doesn’t mean, you know, when Jack Welch was the CEO of GE, you know, I’m sure he didn’t know how to put a turbine engine together.
Right? But he hired the experts. He had the knowledge of leadership. So, you need to be your industry expert as the head basketball coach at North Carolina. I better know how to guard, pick and rolls. I better know what the other team is doing. I better put my team in position to succeed. Otherwise. Your team is not going to want to follow you.
It comes down to competence. Are you competent? And are you staying current? We challenge our players to do continuing education, you know, to work on their games in the office season. Well, what are we doing as leaders to work on our trade in the off season? Are we continuing to get better?
Are we working with. So, I do executive coaching. Are we working with executive coaches to get better? Are we working with I’m a Vistage chair with a Vistage’s the oldest and largest executive coaching company in the world? And we bring CEOs together to challenge each other. And, and handle issues to grow, learn, and grow and get better.
And so, are you doing that as a leader? Because if you not, you’re not, then you’re not putting your organization and your people in position to be successful.
Duff Watkins: [00:20:59] One of my first lessons in the corporate world was a guy. He shared the older guy to me at the time he shared the same coupon resided. And I asked him what he read.
And he said, no, not much really. I mean, everything. I read his books on business and the light went on for me, cause I never thought about reading a book on business and I read voluminously but, and it suddenly hit me. Your education doesn’t stop in the corporate world in the business world. You’re always continuing to hone your skills or work on your game, so to speak and watch that film and, and develop yourself.
Matt Doherty: [00:21:35] Couple of one thing that comes to mind with that is two things that come to mind. There’s no finish line in leadership. When you, when you get in, in American football, when you get to the 10-yard line in the red zone in leadership, all of a sudden someone pushes a button, and the field gets extended another a hundred yards. Okay. There’s no finish line and leadership.
And then the second thing that meant, you know, you touched on regarding reading books, your life is impacted by two things. The people you meet and the books you read, boom, boom. But you asked about the last two letters I as the industry and then T and I think this one is maybe the most important is mine for the truth.
Because I think leaders do a bad job of mining for the truth. And if you don’t manage the truth, the truth will manage you.
Duff Watkins: [00:22:30] When you say mine for truth, you mean as in dig excavate.
Matt Doherty: [00:22:33] Yes. Meaning you need to create an environment where people are willing to bring you the truth, because the higher you go up, the org chart, the less truth you get because people are afraid.
Because they, they, they, the power, they don’t want to lose their job. They don’t want to lose their status. They don’t want to feel like they’re disrespecting you. And conversely, you know, human nature is, as you go up the org chart, you feel you get a sense of ego. I really, in my mind, and I talk about this in corporate talks, I think we should envision flipping the org chart.
And have it as an inverted pyramid because that is true servant leadership. And then the truth will trickle down to you. It’s a lot easier for things to trickle down then for things to be pushed up.
Duff Watkins: [00:23:25] Any takers on that yet Matt to inverting the corporate structure.
Matt Doherty: [00:23:30] Yeah, I don’t know, but it sounds good. Doesn’t it?
Duff Watkins: [00:23:33] It does. It does. I’m a supporter. All right. Lesson number four how to hire. I’m greatly interested in this because you know, I work in executive search.
Matt Doherty: [00:23:41] Well, you know, you, you, I, I should be asking you these questions, but I think that the only thing you can go off of about future behavior is past behavior.
And I think sometimes we are quick to hire because people are good there that can fool us with a resume with a good conversation. They’re good talkers. They have the right people calling you, but we don’t drill down and really get to know them and our patient in the hiring process. And I think that we need to have each person on the team who will work with that individual interview them.
One, it gives them a feeling of respect that they’re included in the process.
Two you know, they may find something in the interview process that is a red flag and that needs to be discussed. So, I think that to go slow in the hiring process and be as thorough as possible and almost be a private investigator.
Where you look into their past and find out are there any issues? And the biggest issues with me would be character issues. You know, you can train somebody to do something, and we’re talking about different levels. Whether you’re talking about CEO or somebody who’s just joining your team, either one is, is critical.
You know, some more critical than others because you know, you can easily displace somebody on the lower level of the org chart. But I think that the mistakes I have made where when you hire somebody too quickly or you have a bias that you think this person is something that you want them to be, and they’re not.
So, you overlook some things. Confirmation bias. And, and so I think that you’ve got to go slow because it’s easy to hire. It’s hard to fire, you know, and the collateral damage of having an employee who doesn’t fit. Can really damage the culture of your organization.
Duff Watkins: [00:25:49] You mentioned a couple of psychometric tools.
I have worked with psychometric tools for 30 years, and always trying to learn as much as I can about a person before you advance them for a role, or you’re always trying to get the fit. Right. And there’s no, there’s no, you know, there’s no magic to it. You just do as much homework and research as you can.
And, and it’s really a range of probabilities. And most of the time it works out well, sometimes it doesn’t.
All right. So that’s how to hire how to fire. Let me point out. I’ve been fired too, by the way. I mean, maybe as many times as you, I don’t know, we’ll have to get together and compare numbers, but all right.
(Lesson 5) So how do fire people.
Matt Doherty: [00:26:25] Yeah, I think that it says a lot about you. I think that if, if your core values and this, my, my core values are respect, trust, commitment, positivity. So, if that is truly your core values, and my mission statement is to make a positive impact on the people I meet and the groups I work with.
So, there is a grace in leadership. You know, leaders should have some grace and the way you let someone go says a lot about you.
One, have you done reviews with them? Have you tried everything to put them in position to be successful? Have you worked with them? Have you coached them? Have you held them accountable? Have you had reviews with them? Not only formal reviews, but intermittent reviews, because let’s say you have a review every six months. Maybe you have it every quarter. What happens in those three months? You know, if you do something wrong or something, not so much wrong, but maybe it doesn’t fit the behavior I want in our organization.
And it comes to my attention and I don’t address it with you immediately. I wait to the review, shame on me as a leader because. You need to, my college coach would say, praise the actions you want repeated, but I think you also need to, you know, address any behavior that you don’t think is becoming to your organization as soon as possible.
It’s just like training. I hate to say it training a dog or raising a child. If I wait a week later to punish a child for spilling milk, that’s very confusing. And disrespectful quite frankly. So, I think that you need to hold people accountable. You need to put them in position to be successful. You need to onboard them properly.
You know, and I think sometimes, and I’m probably guilty of this. You hire somebody and you throw them into a job and there’s no onboarding process and you hope you’re throwing them into the deep end, and they’ll be able to swim. So, what’s the onboarding process and, and giving them some confidence and really coaching them on your culture.
And what’s important to you. And that should be done in the interview process. So, there are no surprises, but then it comes to the ultimate decision. You need to let somebody go. A couple of things come to mind, you know, it’s not easy or let’s hope it’s not easy, right? Because if you have a heart it’s not easy.
So, a friend of mine said put a picture of your family on your desk. And every decision you make is in their best interest. Because it’s easy to put off a fire and you put it off, you put it off. Well, that’s not helping to feed my family and Oh, by the way, that’s going to cause dissension in the workforce because everyone knows what you’re feeling.
So, if your teammate is a slacker or doing things that aren’t becoming to the organization, that’s going to cause you distraction. May even caused you to want to leave the company and go somewhere else because maybe you’re having to carry his load, or you’re afraid he’s going to put the company in jeopardy.
So, the quicker you can make that decision, the better for everyone involved and then do it in a respectful manner. I think you have to have HR in the meeting. Because you don’t want just one-on-one then it’s he said, she said, and you know, you worry about lawsuits and then pay the person fairly, what do they deserve?
And dignify them, give them dignity, you know, don’t walk them out with a security guard and a bow, a box of their personal belongings. Don’t embarrass them. And, and then they have their dignity, and you agree, Hey, I’ll say good things. You can say good things. You know, and move on down the road, because that will sell, say more about your leadership then when you hire them.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:38] Yeah. There is a, there is a way to let people go. That’s a fact and it does reflect back on you as a leader, something you said reminded me of Spartans when. You know, they were a warrior society. That’s, they’re just all professional warriors. When you turn, when you’re a boy, you turn seven, they assign you to a mentor and then the training of a Spartan boy is pretty hard.
And if you cry out in some of the drills, let’s call them full contact drills as one, one boy did he whimpered evidently. And so, the Spartans punished his mentor because the mentor is responsible for coaching the kid, you know? So, what’s wrong with the kid is the fact that he wasn’t coach well enough. I had, I laughed when I read that because it’s a, there’s some wisdom.
Matt Doherty: [00:31:21] There’s a lot of wisdom here, right?
Duff Watkins: [00:31:24] Yes. All right. Lesson number six strengthen your core values. I don’t know core values. What does it really mean?
Matt Doherty: [00:31:31] I think I get it. I’m not a fan of a lot of fluff in leadership. Like I don’t want wasted brain space. I don’t want wasted energy. I want things to be efficient.
You know, when I was coaching, I didn’t have a lot of stuff and sayings and stuff all over the wall. I wanted stuff that really meant something. And core values became more important to me. When I met with Matt Charisse, who was the Lieutenant Colonel in the army, we talked beforehand about, you know, the best leaders in the world are military.
And, and, and as I started to understand core values, you know, and that’s where everything flows in your organization. Now you got to believe in it. Coach Smith would say, start how you finish, meaning that if you’re going to start something, you better finish it. Like don’t, don’t come to a meeting and say, Oh, we’re going to have core values.
And we’re going to put these core values together and get all excited about it. And then a month later, you’re not talking about core values. You’re not modeling those core values. These things need to be well thought out and established with the long-term in mind, you cannot just come up with core values and say, put them on a wall.
And those are our core values today. No, no, no, no, no. They need to be well thought out. Well thought out with your senior staff and have them drill holes into what, what pushback could we get? Because when it’s presented, there needs to be some buy-in. So quite frankly, that’s why you have captains. That’s why you have leaders in your organization, pull them in, let them be the ones that maybe establish or, or put their stamp of approval on it, because then they’ll be able to sell it.
To the organization now. Oh, by the way, if your core values are respect, trust, and commitment, which mine were that shows them respect. And that also builds a trust and a commitment. So, I came up with RTC and then I added a P to it. So, R is respect. T is trust C commitment P is positivity. And I only believe you can have three or four core values tough because you can’t remember more than four things.
Okay. Why are phone numbers three and four digits long and not seven? I can remember a phone number. That’s three and four digits long. I can’t remember seven digits long. It’s kind of crazy. Right. But that’s how the brain works. So, so I want stuff that’s repeatable. When I go to corporate corporations and talk and I’ll, I’ll ask people, okay, what are your core values?
And they kind of look up in the sky and they can’t recall them. That’s not very effective leadership. They should be able to recall them at a snap of a finger, same thing with mean, we’ll talk about mission statements next. But they should be able to know what your core values are. And every decision you make are rooted in your core values is that decision will make them be respectful to our customer.
Respectful to our employees. Will it, will it continue to develop trust commitment? Positivity. I want people that bring positive energy to the workplace because there are two kinds of players, energy givers, and energy suckers. And I don’t want to be around energy suckers.
Duff Watkins: [00:35:07] Okay. Yeah. But yet, when you, when you were a deposed at North Carolina, I mean, the things that were said about you, you were attacked, you were assailed there.
Everything from being an incompetent coach to being a flawed person, to be in a bad person. I mean, Hey, they really put it on you pretty, pretty much. And, and
Matt Doherty: [00:35:26] that’s, that’s how not to fire. That’s how not to fire.
Duff Watkins: [00:35:29] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, my, my point is, what do you do when your core values are attacked, and you are diminished, and people act like you don’t have those core values?
Matt Doherty: [00:35:40] But at that time, I didn’t really embrace those core values.
And I didn’t demonstrate those core values, you know, to a lot of people, I didn’t show respect. You know, by, by bringing my own staff that did not show respect to the Carolina family you know, trust. There were a couple of times, and I talked about it in the book about coaching scars, where I broke a trust of a player.
And I regret that very much by the way, maybe I reacted. So, my core values, I did not have them formalize that at that point. And then as a coach, and that was part of my evolution on my leadership journey, realizing I need core values. I need to preach these core values, and I need to model these core values because I did not do a good job of that at North Carolina.
Duff Watkins: [00:36:30] Well, and you’re a pretty young guy too. You were 37. I mean, pretty, pretty young.
Matt Doherty: [00:36:35] when I was coaching North Carolina took the job in 99. So, I was born in …. I was 37. Yes.
Duff Watkins: [00:36:42] At the big leagues at a, at a relatively young age for a head coach.
Matt Doherty: [00:36:46] And I was only the head coach one year.
Duff Watkins: [00:36:48] Yeah, yeah, yeah. An inexperienced head coach. Right.
Matt Doherty: [00:36:51] You know, it’s like, it’s like going from the assistant manager at a small retail store, like an ACE hardware in the United States to being the CEO of GE, that’s pretty drastic jump.
Duff Watkins: [00:37:07] Yeah, it is, it is a lesson number seven. It’s not a mission without a statement.
Matt Doherty: [00:37:14] I like that Duff. I think it’s all it’s kind of in line with your core values and it’s kind of in line with your vision, what we talk about with STEVIT what is the mission statement?
And this needs to be. Basically, one sentence. That’s repeatable by everyone in your organization. I laugh when I go into a company in behind the receptionist is a mission statement. And it’s a paragraph with about five sentences and I get glossed over my eyes, start getting glazed over as I’m reading it.
Of course, I go to corporate talks again and I’ll say, you know, ask them, okay, raise your hand. If you know your mission statement. Ah, not many hands get raised. Or I’ll ask somebody, I’ll call on somebody and say, what’s your mission statement of your company? And they kind of look up in the sky, they start to mumble, and then they giggle very few people know the mission statement of their organization.
You know, coach, coach Smith always talked about play hard, play smart, play together. Is that core values? Is that a mission statement? It could be either one, but that’s, that’s what we knew. Play hard, play smart, play together. And if we did that, we’d win and that’s still, you know, what’s, what’s preached at North Carolina with Roy Williams, so it has to be simple and it has to be impactful.
And that’s why I said earlier, my mission statement for me in my coaching practice is I want to make a positive impact on those. On the people I meet in the organizations I work with. Boom done. That’s it. That’s my mission statement.
Duff Watkins: [00:38:54] You know, who gets this right? Is Hollywood. Every movie you seen, every movie you’re ever going to see is going to have what they call a log line or a tag line.
And it sums up the movie in one sentence, for example, you’ve seen the movie twins with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their tagline is only, only their mother can tell them apart. And the best tagline of all as rated by the experts is the movie. Well, I’ll, I’ll tell you the tagline and see if you can guess the movie in space no one can hear you scream. You know what movie that is? No bet you saw it though, Alien.
Matt Doherty: [00:39:30] Oh, Alien. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah.
Duff Watkins: [00:39:32] So, I mean, it works like this. I mean, I’ve saw alien when I was in grad school and I am I in my buddy Stu, we went to see the movie, a movie, and we couldn’t get into the one we want. So, we go, we look at the posters and they had this, you know, this murky thing and it said in space, no one can hear you scream.
So, I said, Hey, Stu, this looks interesting. Cause we know it’s outer space. We know it’s a horror movie. What they didn’t tell me is that it was, I would have to sleep with a light on, I was so scared that night at the scene, that goddamn movie, they omitted that, but it communicates very quickly just, just, and viscerally what it’s all about.
And if I understand you a corporate statement the mission statement does the same thing.
Matt Doherty: [00:40:10] Yeah. No, thank you. That’s a great analogy. And I’m going to steal that from you Duff and make it my own. W we, we invested the Vistage group. I’m working with, they call it R and D rip off and duplicate.
Duff Watkins: [00:40:23] I don’t know who I stole it from, but yes. Anyway, we’ll just pass it along. Alright Lesson number eight. Forgiveness is how you free yourself. Ain’t that the truth?
Matt Doherty: [00:40:34] I think that forgiveness is a very hard thing for leaders, because most leaders are very competitive. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in that situation. Right. So, you’re used to competing.
You’re used to fighting use to comparing yourself to others. You’re used to battling. And that creates some animosity. We have egos, but then to forgive others and forgive yourself is very freeing. I had to forgive some people at university of North Carolina, and you know, it doesn’t mean you forget.
But to forgive because we are all flawed. You know, we are all flawed. And I think that, you know, I’m, I’m a Christian and I think that, you know, when you look at Jesus and you try to model his behavior and he’s on the cross and he’s forgiving them then who would have done that to him? I’m like, you know, I can at least forgive somebody who may fired me or try to put myself in their shoes.
And realize, yeah, they were in a tough spot and, and forgive them because then it helps you it’s like drink drinking. Someone says like drinking, rat poison and expecting the other person to die. You know, it frees, it takes it off you, and now you can live in peace. And I do think that you need to forgive yourself because I think so sometimes, I know I’m so hard on myself and look back in the regret.
Like, why did I do that? Why, how stupid was I? Why shouldn’t I have stayed at Notre Dame? Why didn’t I manage coach Smith? Got to forgive myself. There’s otherwise I’ll be living in regret and I call it driving over the bitter river. You know that you want to drive over this river and there’s so many triggers.
And if you, if you don’t forgive, you’re going to drive off into that river and drown and bitterness.
Duff Watkins: [00:42:30] I used to work in psychiatry, running psychotherapy groups indeed my doctors in that. And I can tell you, it all starts with self-acceptance and self-acceptance is kind of generates that forgiveness for others because just as you articulated very well, there are, there are things you need to forgive yourself for, if you’re going to advance.
Another way I look at it I’m just quoting the Buddhist here. Don’t cling. I’m always telling people don’t cling to hurts and sufferings real or imaginary, you know, just don’t cling to them. I mean, you experienced them fully. That’s good, but you don’t, you don’t need to, you don’t, you can put them down now. It’s probably okay to do so.
Lesson number nine, this is an equation. You will have to work me through this E + R = O, is that right?
Matt Doherty: [00:43:16] Yes, that’s right. And, and as I, we touched on earlier, I stole that from Tim Kight. K I G H T. And he might be a good person to try to get, I, I know him. Not on a deep level. I follow him on Twitter.
We’ve communicated on LinkedIn, but he he’s a good follow. And when I read E +R = O it really stuck with me. And what does that mean? E is the event. R is our reaction and O is the outcome. So, an event happens, let’s say you’re in your boardroom. And Joanne shows up late. And she’s on her phone and you’re frustrated that, you know, the meeting hasn’t been, you know, adjourn yet.
And, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re waiting you’re you got a meeting and follow up big presentation and she comes in and she says, I’m sorry for being late. And you rip into her and make us sarcastic comment. Now that sets the outcome is, is a tone in the meeting of tense stress ideas won’t flow. You just your reaction to her being late, created an outcome that may not be favorable, or maybe that’s what you wanted.
You wanted people to know don’t be late. However, you want to handle it. That R is the only thing you control and the better we control our, R, the better the outcome will be. And I think by putting it in that way, I joke about in my book, rebound from pain to passion, that I was wired Duff growing up to react quickly, swiftly and aggressively.
That’s what a basketball player growing up on in the parks of long Island did to survive. If you didn’t react that way, you’re considered a punk. Okay. And you lost respect. So that’s my wiring. That’s my condition. So, so too much, of a good thing as a bad thing. I talk about that all the time. You know, there’s this emotional circle around us and if you’re intense and aggressive, that’s a good thing.
But if you cross that line, that circle, you get outside that circle. That’s a bad thing. You could be a nice guy. Well, if you’re too nice, you’re a pushover and people run over you. So, you have to understand where is that emotional circle around your strength and make sure you stay inside that boundary.
So, we’re on this vacation looking at Niagara Falls in, in New York and my wife and two kids. And they’re, they’re grown at the time. I mean, this only a couple of years ago, So my daughter’s probably 18, 19 years old. And we’re looking over the falls and somebody steps in front of me and blocks my view.
And my initial reaction was to lean in and hit him with a forearm and, you know, Duff, maybe he tumbled over the fence into the falls, maybe.
Duff Watkins: [00:46:33] Okay, well, let’s find out.
Matt Doherty: [00:46:37] I go to start to lean and then I back off and my daughter whispers in my ear. Good R Dad. Good R.
Th that was the affirmation that was coach Smith would say, praise, the actions you want repeated. I felt like I passed the test. And was proud of myself that I didn’t put this guy over the fence into the falls.
Duff Watkins: [00:47:02] Although he didn’t box you out. So, I mean, we’ll have to discuss that at a later time, but yes, I’m, I’m glad you avoided homicide. That’s good.
Matt Doherty: [00:47:13] Oh, it it’s, it’s part of the self-awareness that I talk about in STEVIT, knowing yourself and being able to self-manage and, and closing the blind spots that we all have, we all have blind spots. And that’s where you get to know yourself and mine for the truth, because the more you do that, the more you close your blind spots are at least aware of them.
Duff Watkins: [00:47:40] Mm hmm. Yeah. You talking about mining for the truth that reminds me of something Marcus Aurelius said it’s really stayed with me. He says the truth needs no defense. No, you don’t, you don’t need to be afraid of it or hide from it. And you know, you don’t need to cover it.
Matt Doherty: [00:47:55] You better uncover it because you don’t want to be the last one to know.
And quite often leaders of the last one to know, because they’ve created an environment where the truth does not flow up to them as we talk about. And that’s why it’s better to flip that org chart. And have it trickled down to them, create an environment where I, I tell people that if I get another coaching job, one of my assistants is going to have on his business card, his name and the title will be truth teller.
That I want that person to have the obligation, not the right. And I talked about this with a military man, go back to the military leadership. It’s not your OB, it’s not your right to tell me, challenge me. It’s your obligation to challenge me. And, and that’s what good leaders do is they surround themselves with smart people who will challenge them to help the organization grow.
And you don’t care where a good idea comes from our good idea and good, good leaders give credit to their people and not take it for themselves because they are secure with who they are. And there’s so many leaders that are insecure. And boy, Oh boy. Does that do damage to an organization?
Duff Watkins: [00:49:13] All right. Our last lesson is, this is my, I think this may be my personal favorite.
Your Matt, list Number 10. Recruit your own personal board of directors.
Matt Doherty: [00:49:24] Yeah. Yes. I, I learned this from a gentleman in Dallas named Bob Modine and it crystallized for me that we need to have. A board of directors, really what they are, truth tellers, a board of truth-teller advisors, mentors that you can go to for unbiased advice.
They are not emotionally attached to your job, your career. They are good friends. That will tell you the truth. And that’s why I have the Doherty Coaching Practice and that’s why I’m a Vistage chair. That’s what this is all about is having a personal advisory board that will tell you the truth that will mine for the truth and challenge you.
And not be intimidated by your title or not be so emotionally wrapped up that they’re going to be afraid to tell you something because it might impact their relationship with you or their status.
Duff Watkins: [00:50:30] It takes a lot of humility and courage to do that. And I’m like, when you taught that course on failure at SMU using your own personal experience, it takes a lot of humility and courage to do that. And I think that there was an unappreciated.
Let me finish with one last question to you. If I may, we’ve talked about stuff that you’ve learned, what about something that you have unlearned recently? That is to say something you absolutely positively knew to be true at one time, but now being a little older and wiser know, it’s not the case.
Matt Doherty: [00:51:01] You know, I, I was thinking about the reaction to try to unlearn your reaction, the way you E + R = O and to have to, you know, innately you react. It’s like an animal, you know, you react. And so, to have to undo that. Is there’s an inner conflict. Like that’s not how I’m wired, I’m wired to attack and be aggressive and be intense.
Now I got to unlearn that and, in a way, show grace and back off and not have to win, you know, like not win every argument or not winning, you know, like it’s okay to react softly. I think that’s probably one thing that I’ve had to work on over time and show some grace and, you know, I think that’s it.
Duff Watkins: [00:51:56] Well, you know, you don’t actually lose that capacity that you have that tapping that fierceness is how I would describe it. And that’s a good thing for men, but you do enhance the ability to use it. When you have another gear, it’s like you want a behavioral smorgasbord. You don’t just want, you know, two or three dishes.
You know, you got to have a wide range and it takes a while to develop those tastes.
Matt Doherty: [00:52:18] You know, you just connected with my heart because when you talk about buffets, I can relate to a buffet with anybody. I was, I did not have a quick first step on the court, but I have a quick first step to the buffet lineup.
Duff Watkins: [00:52:35] Motivation. It’s all about motivation.
Matt Doherty: [00:52:38] Yes, no. A friend of mine Malcolm farmer. Put it this way. And I think this makes sense and is along the lines of what you just touched on. We have a motivational toolbox and I think I use the hammer too much where I should have used the pliers. I should have used a screwdriver, you know, to get the same effect that might even be more long lasting with less damage.
Duff Watkins: [00:53:05] I think that’s well put; we’ll visualize a way of describing it.
Okay. We will finish here on that note. You had been listening to the podcast, 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn. Our guest today has been Matt Doherty author, former basketball coach, a basketball junkie really still are. I don’t think you kick the habits executive coach and so much more.
You can find the Matt’s book. The book is called a Rebound. It is available on Amazon in any minute now.
This podcast has been produced by Robert Hossary and is sponsored by the Professional Development Forum. The Professional Development Forum exists to help young people accelerate their career in a modern workplace.
You can find out more about them. https://professionaldevelopmentforum.org PDF they have podcast parties. Anything you need, everything you want is right there. And it’s all for free. That’s the best thing about it. Say we’d like to hear from you, and you can email us. Podcast@10lessonslearned.com. We’d like to hear, if you have some wisdom for us, you’d like to offer, do you have somebody you’d like us to interview?
You want to know more about Matt’s coaching practice or how to get his book, new contact us. And we’ll get back to you. That email again is Podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Thank you for listening to 10 Lessons It Took Me 50 Years to Learn. This is the only podcast on the internet that makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.
Thanks for listening.