Win Every Day: Proven Practices for Extraordinary Results, Mark Miller’s latest contribution to his High Performance Series, is another win (pun intended) for business leaders who want to make an impact. If your organization’s execution is ho-hum or faltering, Win Every Day lays out the game plan for change. For readers unfamiliar with the series, Miller teaches through allegory—or as the author terms it, “business fable.”
Instead of taking an expert point of view and sharing a “how-to,” Miller narrates a story from which we learn the concepts, mindsets, and processes to enable exceptional execution as these unfold in the characters’ experiences. Fans of Chess Not Checkers will recognize Blake Brown, a CEO with a company in need of an execution reboot.
Blake, a “composite” of leaders Miller has worked with, learns critical components of execution from both a new football coach brought into his son’s school and the real-time experiences of his son who was inspired to join the program. Blake, in turn, shares the concepts with key company personnel to translate these for an organizational application. This cascades through communication, explanations, understanding, and buy-in for the roles and activities required to manage moving the business toward goals.
As with any program, senior leadership must be on board and champion change. A key assigned lead had to ensure messages are on point, and the concepts are learned, embraced, and acted upon. Readers will resonate with different recognizable characters who might be in siloed obliviousness to the impacts of their own function, raise issues, challenge ideas, or seek to avoid blame.
I appreciate Miller’s approach to teaching through storytelling. Research tells us our brains are better at encoding story into memory than a checklist. We also relate story to our own lives and experiences in nuanced ways.
Here’s an example of the difference. Win Every Day could have given business reasons why everyone must buy-in and participate in a key program to achieve success. In the book, the new coach, with a stellar history of generating consistent wins, is brought in to a school with a ho-hum football program. He calls for a school assembly and plays a video that begins with compelling imagery and music, but then ends abruptly.
When asked, few students clap to acknowledge liking the film. The coach then tells them what’s wrong. He states there are few students involved or engaged. He shares that the images didn’t portray reality. He introduces the first lesson of the book: “The best way to win on game day is to learn how to Win Every Day.” Finally, he tells students the video isn’t finished. They will write the story’s end with their actions.
He asks for students to try out who may not have played before. He asks for students to become involved, working with coaches, trainers, and other roles. He asks for students to become participants in the stands. He tells them they can ALL write a “next chapter” for themselves. He encourages them to “Join us and help us create something legendary!”
The messages are something different, something exciting. As the coach leaves, there is thunderous applause. We could simply have read, “get everyone on board.” Or, we can feel the excitement of the crowd when everyone is inspired to do so. Throughout the book, the lessons are explained and implemented as part of the storyline.
Miller composes a fast read, which encourages the reader to think and reflect as each concept is presented. An abundance of data informs us about the value of reflection. In particular, we grow and develop when we contemplate our experiences and reflect on what we’ve learned and been exposed to. Readers might put themselves in any character’s shoes and ponder, “How would this play out in my own company?”
Win Every Day is the fifth book of the series. While each can be read as a stand-alone, I’d recommend acquiring Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game, which incorporates all four of the leadership lessons as an overarching strategy. Each of the books that follow takes a deeper dive into one of the strategic components. The other books in the series are:
- Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture,
- Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People, and
- Win the Heart: How to Create a Culture of Full Engagement.
And, for readers who prefer to have concepts pulled out separately, Miller offers field guides and other material to augment the learning and help craft an implementation plan in companies. A section in the back of each book describes how to access these.
If you’re a leader with an execution problem, grab a copy of Win Every Day.* And if you want to talk about how partnering with a coach might accelerate your journey, reach out. We’d love to hear from you (see the info below the line).
Go forth and do great things.
*Win Every Day: Proven Practices for Extraordinary Results will be released on March 10, 2020. You can pre-order your copy in advance on Amazon. Dr. Kathryn Bingham shares reviews on books with a leadership focus and is a member of the Win Every Day launch team.
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