They had fights, they tried to manipulate, they hated, they loved, they tried new things, they cared and were passionate about their perspectives! This is what I remember about working for 2 years with young men at a group home as what I called “a surrogate father”. I take many of the insights I learned with them and parallel them with leadership that I see within the halls of athletics.

One insight that I want to share today is one on Family.

In the house I managed there were many extreme personalities. And in order to make our home a unit they had to see each other as family. Without that it was always difficult for us to go somewhere and enjoy ourselves with everyone.

In order to get us to do things together we had to feel like a family. Before you get a team (common purpose) you MUST be a family.

In my experience there is only one way to transition different individuals into a family unit – common structure.

I ran the house a certain way. In fact I even had some of the young people share in building the structure so they felt involved in creating our family. It worked for me. And I had experiences with those guys that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t created that structure (see what I mean in this throwback blog post).

I also remember working with some young people at a summer camp and one session I didn’t create a structure and I couldn’t get anywhere around camp without having a major disruption.

What I got from that is:


Your best bet is to get the marbles into a jar then take them up the hill.

If you don’t want to consistently be putting out fires or running back and forth expending massive amounts of unnecessary energy, create a structure. That will build family, then you can operate as a team. #mentalUPgrade #ImOnMyJOC #PushForward



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