Dan Tudor

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How College Coaches Can Profit From Watching “The Profit”Monday, October 27th, 2014

Most college coaches who have spent time in the private sector would agree that being successful in recruiting is a lot like being successful in business.

If you run your business the right way, profits will follow.  If you run an organized recruiting effort, you’ll get good recruits consistently, year after year.

Many businesses, like many coaching staffs, don’t organize themselves to operate profitably.  The results are dire: They struggle financially, jeopardize their personal relationships because of the stress, and often have to close their doors.  While the end results for a college coach may look a little different, the symptoms are identical: Struggling bottom-line results, increased stress, and losing out on the recruits you really want.

This is where a reality T.V. show might just be the answer you’re looking for – whether you’re a business owner, or a college recruiter.

The show I’m referring to is the CNBC hit, “The Profit”.  It features Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World, as a business success “prophet” who goes into a struggling business, invests his own money (much of the time in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) to take a controlling interest in the operation, and turn it around through a set of principles that he has developed, and uses in his own operation at Camping World.

It’s that set of principles that college coaches can learn from, as well as measure against the way they currently operate their coaching office and recruiting efforts.  On the surface, Lemonis’ principles seem to be very simple: People, Process and Product.  In every business he invests in, those three things have to be present in order to realize success.

And that’s where college coaches can take a page from his winning strategy to turn around their recruiting results.

As I take you through each of the principles laid out by this successful entrepreneur, ask yourself, “Is our coaching staff, and our recruiting approach, generating the kind of recruiting “profits” that are building our program’s brand and separating us from the competition?”

Your People

Do you have the right coaches on staff to be as successful as possible, and are you communicating with them to make sure that they have what they need to get the job done?

Notice this set of principles doesn’t start-off with “stuff”. I didn’t ask how new your stadium is, or what your budget was, or the year you won your last conference title.  Frankly, those types of things become more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to what a coach talks about, or how they tell their story to a recruit.

What’s important is having the right people in place, not only from purely a coaching perspective, but also when it comes to communication ability, sales ability, and other traits that typically make-up successful coaches at the highest levels.  Do you have those people on your staff?  Are you one of them?  And if you aren’t, are you taking steps towards educating yourself and making yourself the best recruiter you can be?

If you don’t have the best people around you, and if you aren’t the most competent recruiter you can be, it’s going to be impossible to succeed over the long haul.  That’s true in business, and it’s true in college athletics.

Your Process

If you looked at the way you’ve laid out your recruiting process, could you say that it reflected these traits?

  • You have an agreed upon plan of attack when it comes to the geography you and your staff will be recruiting, as well as who is best to recruit those areas.
  • When you scout prospects, everyone is using the same measurement metrics that reflect the criteria for a top prospect as outlined by the head coach.
  • Are you giving your recruits a consistent, compelling message that tells the story of your program and answers the question, “why they should want to compete for you?”
  • Are you setting-up fair but firm deadlines that put you in control of the process?
  • Is your staff evaluating how a previous recruiting year went, and what can be done to change and improve the results for the next year?

The process you put in place is critical to your success as a recruiter.  Without a good process, all the talented people in the world won’t matter.

Your Product

In one sense, you might say that this is an area where you, as a college coach, have no control when it comes to the quality of “the product” you can give a recruit.  You can’t control the type of facilities you have, what they look like, the location of your college, whether it’s blazing hot in the Summer or icy cold in the winter…all of that is out of your hands.

But let’s choose to focus on the parts of your product that you do have control over:

  • The coordinated effort with your team to wow a recruit you bring to campus, making them feel like your team wanted them the most, and are the easiest to get to know.
  • How you interact with the parents of your recruit, and what you do with the separate from their son or daughter during that recruiting visit.
  • The tone of your voice on phone calls, and how you personalize a recruiting letter.
  • Using the largest and most influential public relations resource that you have at your fingertips to engage with your recruits, showing them what your program’s personality is all about.

Coach, don’t get sucked into the false assumption that it’s only the size and quality of your facility that sways recruits into choosing one college program over another.  That’s false.  You can counteract any shortcoming when it comes to something like facilities, location or your team’s recent performance by nailing those four important parts of your overall product.

I’m not suggesting that any coaching staff or athletic department can be turned around magically overnight with just a few simple tweaks.  However, these three areas are a good foundational starting point when it comes to figuring out what to focus on when you’re looking to include you program’s recruiting performance.

And the best part? There won’t be any reality T.V. cameras following you around while you do it!

If Nothing Else, This Has To Get Done!Thursday, May 15th, 2014

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of South Dakota

What is it for you coach?  What is it that no matter what else gets done, as long as these one or two things are finished by the time you leave the office, you are feeling pretty good about your day?

I thought I knew what it was for me.

Being that I read, write, and talk to people about time management regularly, I certainly have a general idea which few activities for me were the ones I knew needed to get done.

Then, about a week ago, I went home feeling uneasy and stressed.  I started to reflect on what happened during the day and what maybe didn’t get done that was causing me to feel this way.

That day I had to readjust my schedule of To-Dos because a few student-athlete meetings lasted longer than planned.  When I got home, I took out my Green Time Management Planner and looked back over my day.  I had finished the majority of things on my To-Do list, but there were still one or two things pushed aside.  Reflecting back on my day helped give me some insight as to what was causing me to be stressed, but I needed to look more into it.

The next day was just as crazy as the day before, but I went home feeling okay with what I accomplished during the day.  Did I get everything done on my To-Do list, no, but I did get a few of the things done that I hadn’t gotten done the day before.  I again sat down and looked at what was finished and what was pushed aside during the day.

I ended up experimenting for a few days, monitoring what I had completed and what I left for the next day to do, while really paying attention to how I felt when I got home that night.

What I found is, for me, I feel good leaving the office as long as I have sent my recruiting emails out and had a chance to plan and prepare practice for the following day.

The development and future success of my program is obviously dependent on my ability to consistently communicate with recruits.  The success of my current team depends on preparing and executing challenging practices so we can keep getting better.  When I make sure to get these two things finished before I leave for the day, I feel assured knowing I still have time to review my practice plan the night before and make adjustments if necessary.  As a result, I walk into practice feeling more prepared.   I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I know I have taken another step forward with the recruits we are trying to get.

When these two things don’t get done at work however, I have to do them at home.  These things have to get done.  What causes me the most stress is not only does this take away time with my kids, but I feel they don’t get done as well as I would like them to be.  I feel like my recruiting emails are not as clear and concise and my practice plans aren’t as well thought out as they could and should be since I have a 4 and 1 year old also competing for my attention.

To avoid feeling stressed out, it took three or four days of analyzing what I did and didn’t do, as well as assessing the feelings that followed for it to really hit home with me which tasks absolutely had to be done before I left the office.

I now try to do my most important activities first thing in the morning, when I get done with practice (we practice from 6-8 am).  I found if I put them off until later, I get busy and run out of time to do them.

So coach, what are your most important activities?  What are the one or two tasks that you know if you get done, even if you don’t get everything done, you can leave the office and feel good about what you’ve accomplished for day?

If you are not sure, do what I did.  At the end of the day, review your To-Do list and see what got done and what didn’t get done.  How are you feeling when you get home?  Once you have your data, analyze what could be causing you to feel this way.  Then try to restructure your day to make sure you are getting your most important tasks done.

I would love to hear what they are?  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com and put “My MIT’s” (Most Important Tasks) in the subject line.

Mandy Green has a Coaching Productivity Newsletter that goes out every other Sunday.  This newsletter is for coaches who have an email overload issue.  She shares methods or techniques that she is trying in an effort to process, manage, and keep track of recruiting emails better.  If you are interested in joining in on the conversation or if you have something to share please go to www.mandygreencps.com.  Opt in and she will send you her newsletter every week it goes out and you can get a FREE copy of the chapter in her Green Time Management For Coaches Workbook called Organize Your Recruiting.  

Determining Staff Roles for More Effective RecruitingMonday, June 24th, 2013

There are a few precious times during each year as a coaching staff that you actually have a chance to sit down, take a deep breath, and figure out what you want to do differently the next season from a recruiting standpoint.

I’m not talking about plays you should have called, or strategies you failed to execute during competition.  And, I’m not talking about the way you coach together as a staff.

I’m talking about the way you organize what you do as a staff – especially when it comes to recruiting.

Summer is one of those times of the year that is usually ideal for organizational planning for your staff.

That kind of planning is especially important when it comes to recruiting.

Because “organizing” and “planning” were big topics among the attendees, I wanted to share one key concept we’ve discussed with some clients who have struggled with the organizational approach to the way they plan an execute their recruiting approach .  It’s a concept originally outlined by business author Michael Gerber in his best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It.

The concept is that a small business – similarly to your operation as a college coaching staff – won’t grow and prosper unless it is organized in a very specific way.  Gerber contends that every small business needs a Visionary, Managers and Technicians.  I contend that the same would hold true for college coaches when it comes to their recruiting approach.

Here’s the basic concept and the role of each individual coach in this proven plan for how (and why) you assign roles and responsibilities to members of your coaching staff:

VISIONARY

The Visionary’s role is fairly obvious: He or she needs to set the direction of the program, develop the core recruiting philosophy, determine the goals that need to be met, and help pin-point who in their organization is right for the other two roles of Managers and Visionaries.

When we work with our clients, this is one of the areas that we try to determine early on in our work with them.  Here are some quick observations after seeing different staffs change their organizational philosophy and adapt this format:

  • Sometimes, the head coach is not the best person to be the Visionary.  Most of the time, yes.  Not all the time, though.
  • Visionaries need to be able to make the tough calls, put their name on a plan, and be confident in their vision for the program.
  • Can there be more than one Visionary?  No.  However, the Visionary can get input from other people on their staff.  But there needs to be one person that is in the role of the Visionary.
  • If at all possible, the Visionary should not also be a Manager.  And, they should almost never be a Technician.

Visionaries on a college coaching staff should constantly be assessing where they are with regards to their recruiting class, and figuring out if the vision that has been outlined is being realized.  It’s ongoing, active work.  Visionaries are accountable to the whole organization for the overall success of the year’s recruiting.

MANAGER

The next role(s) that need to be assigned would be that of Manager.

The Manager’s role is singular in focus: To make sure that the vision your staff has established is realized through daily management and measurement.  The Manager needs to make sure that the individual assignments tied to the vision are being completed exactly as planned.

Good Managers need to:

  • fully buy-in to the vision that’s been established when it comes to the staff’s recruiting goals.
  • be loyal to the Visionary.
  • be looking for more efficient and better ways to achieve the vision sooner and more effectively.
  • be able to keep the Technicians on task and accountable.
  • be able to measure what is being done on a regular basis to achieve the vision.

Can there be more than one Manager?  Sure.  But each Manager needs to have their own separate areas of responsiblities whenever possible.  Don’t bog down this emerging organizational system with double coverage.

And last, but absolutely NOT least…

TECHNICIAN

Just because I’m listing this last, don’t think that it is the least important.  Especially when it comes to recruiting.

The Technician(s) is responsible for making sure the Vision happens.  Without great Technicians, its all just a bunch of good ideas that never actually happen.

It’s natural to assume that assistant coaches and grad assistants, who perform the role of technicians when it comes to game planning and scouting, would be the likely choice of the Visionary to carry-out Technician duties when it comes to recruiting.  Here are the hallmarks of really good Technicians:

  • They’re able to focus in on the assignments established by the Manager.
  • They’re able to provide great communication on the progress or hurdles that transpire along the way.
  • They understand that they have an equally important role in the organization.  In other words, not Manager or Visionary envy (in many ways, Technicians have the best role of the three).

Why is recruiting organization like this so important?  Because without it you feel burned-out.  A coach that is the Visionary, but also takes on the role of Manager and Technician is going to be the coach that starts feeling trapped.  Bitter.  Frustrated.  They won’t quite reach their goals, and they’ll always feel three steps behind every one of their competitors.

Even if you have a small staff, try to farm out roles to those in the athletic department when possible.

What if you’re the only coach on a staff?  You already know you have it tough, so you don’t need me to tell you that.  In that case, you’ll want to try to organize your week into Visionary, Manager and Technician time blocks.  Separate your duties, and try not to mix roles in the same day.  You’ll feel a lot less exhausted and frustrated if you can do it.

That’s an overview of the concept, and it’s going to look different from college to college, and staff to staff.  However, it’s important: Think about how much time you put in to determining how to split up scouting and recruiting area coverage, but don’t put much time into detailing organizational assignments once those scouting details are back in the office.

Once you separate and organize roles in your recruiting plan, you’ll probably want to do the same thing with the rest of your duties as a coaching staff.  And why not…it works!

Need help in determining how best to use your staff for more effective recruiting?  You can bring Dan to campus to work with your staff or your athletic department this coming recruiting year.  If you have questions, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com.  

Finally! A College Coach Specific Time Management SystemMonday, August 20th, 2012

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The “SW-9 Formula” for Recruiting Success – Part TwoMonday, August 20th, 2012

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The “SW-9 Formula” for Recruiting SuccessMonday, August 6th, 2012

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Speed Up the Recruiting Process with This One QuestionMonday, July 30th, 2012

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Looking to be a High Performance Coach? Take a Time Out!Monday, July 2nd, 2012

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Two Huge Action Steps Towards Becoming More Productive as a CoachTuesday, June 19th, 2012

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Why Defining a Vision Helps Coaches Save Time in the OfficeMonday, March 5th, 2012

by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota

So you are probably thinking, how the heck can the vision that I have for my career and for my program help me save time in the office?

As you already know, your vision identifies where you want to go (as a program, as a team, with your career, and with your recruiting) in the next 1, 3, or even 5 years from now.

A problem I have found with the coaches that I work with is that a lot of them cannot clearly articulate what their vision is. Because they are not clear on where there program, recruiting and career ultimately will go in the next 1-5 years, they waste A LOT of time being indecisive and inconsistent because they have no foundation to go off of  to guide their decisions.

Ultimately, your vision is the filter through which you sift every decision, from how to train your team to whom you recruit to how you spend your time in the office.  Once your vision is solid enough, it will dictate every action you make, ensuring that everything you do takes you closer to your goals.

For example, let’s say your vision is to be considered a top coach in your conference, sign all of your top recruits, and be so organized that you get your work done during office hours so you have more time to spend with your family. If that is your vision, then how do you think that will dictate your actions?   Will you get into the office late, spend the first two hours in pointless conversations, and then stay late to finish all of the work you have to do?  Of course not!

So how do you create your vision?

  • First, decide on your time frame. Do you want to focus on 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years from now?
  • Second, write out where you want your program, team, career, and recruiting to be in the next 1, 3, or 5 years from now.  Be specific and know where do you want to go?
  • What does my program look like 1, 3, or 5 years from now?
  • Where am I with my career 1, 3, or 5 years from now?
  • What kind of recruits am I going after 1, 3, or 5 years from now?
  • What is your ideal day in the office 1, 3, or 5 years from now?

Being clear on what your future looks like will help you make more productive choices and sound decisions in your present.  Next week, we’ll talk about how all of this applies to your life as a recruiter.

If you are looking for more help in this area, keep an eye out for my new Coaching Productivity Planner Workbook coming out soon.  I’ve taken all of the best time-management systems and tips out there on the market and synthesized them all into one Time Management System for College Coaches.  Look for it shortly here on dantudor.com!

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