Focus on undervalued and overlooked talent.
Dr. Starks and the Coach Starks character found talent undervalued and overlooked by other programs.
Golfers were difficult to find because they were in obscure international locations, from a lower social or ethnic class, or challenged with certain personality characteristics that made them unattractive to other programs. Craig, the one African American golfer, was talented, but had what golfers call “the yips,” a fixable movement disorder that interferes with putting. She was rewarded by managing each issue, and producing a championship team from a ragtag group of athletes. The film shows how to look for what author George Anders calls “the rare find” in the book of the same name.
Make each person believe in himself/herself.
When we demonstrate to those we lead that we believe they have significant unrealized potential and get them to believe in themselves, we get incredible results. The tag line of From the Rough says it all: “It’s all about believing.” Coach Starks got every athlete to believe he could accomplish what others thought impossible, and she was a personal role model.
Address each person as a unique talent.
The art of human capital development is the ability to craft customized strategies for each athlete, student, or employee. Dr. and Coach Starks did this in the film and in real life.
Accept no excuses.
Leaders need to turn life’s apparent disadvantages into advantages.
In the film, Coach Starks convinced her athletes that their deprived backgrounds made them tougher and more resilient. She also quickly got them to stop complaining about having inferior equipment or financial resources.
Treat failures as learning opportunities.
Coach and Dr. Starks both treated setbacks as learning experiences. They were practicing what entrepreneur Eric Ries recommended for entrepreneurs in The Lean Startup, treating failures as opportunities for “validated learning.”
Get each person to build a support system.
Dr. Starks had to create support systems for her athletes. In the film and in real life, she got the athletes to support one another. In real life, she drew upon their families, the coaches and instructors from the communities of origin, and volunteer instructors and golf pros in Nashville.
She taught them the valuable life lesson that none of us succeed alone, including our most successful leaders.