Scott O’Neil is the former CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils and author of Be Where Your Feet Are. Scott talks about why he stepped back as CEO of a massive sports franchise, how to build a winning culture, why ego is a killer, high standards, recruiting top talent and the future of sports.
Welcome to Episode 454 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
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Insights From Scott
1. Scott’s formula for wellbeing
It’s been an incredibly stressful couple of years. With the COVID-19 pandemic and anxiety on the rise, Scott offers his formula for helping you focus on your wellbeing—do something for your mind, for your body and for your soul every day.
Practical steps for these include:
- Listen to a podcast, read an article or watch a TED talk
- Stretch, exercise and get the right amount of sleep
- Practice gratitude, pray or send a note to a loved one
2. Keys for building a healthy culture
Scott uses two simple acronyms for building a healthy culture and team.
- API – Assume Positive Intent
Assuming your teammates have positive intent allows you to be open to feedback. One practical way Scott and his team practice this is through what they call “palms up” which literally means your palms are up. They’re not crossed in front of you. When your palms are up, you’re open. You’re open for listening, you’re open for learning.
- WMI – What’s Most Important
When you have a strong team of driven people who want to do extraordinary things, you can find yourselves saying yes to everything. And oftentimes, this can create overwhelm. So, Scott encourages his team to challenge each other’s decisions and ideas by asking, “What’s most important?” This filter allows you to focus on your goals and make better decisions for your team.
3. Help your employee succeed by firing him
You can help someone succeed by firing them. Sounds backwards, right? Sometimes in an organization, you have incredibly strong employees who receive incredible opportunities elsewhere. Scott says that he loves his employees so much, that he encourages them to leave his organization for grander opportunities.
On the other hand, sometimes you have employees who aren’t thriving, and maybe they’d be better off somewhere else. One of the kindest things you can do for those employees is to cut them loose to pursue jobs where they can thrive. In these instances, Scott says his employees are never surprised by these conversations, and he offers them ample time to remain in their positions while they seek new opportunities elsewhere.
Quotes from Episode 454
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Jessica Jackley
Jessica Jackley is a serial entrepreneur who shares her top lessons accquired as a founder of multiple ventures, including KIVA and Alltruists. She talks about what the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders have in common, what Oprah taught her about preparation, how to ensure that success and failure don’t determine your identity, and why ‘touchy feely’ honest feedback is essential for growth.
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