President Joel Essay #1 Leadership
Great leadership can be so transformational that miracles can be the result. In the year 1981, a perfect example of leadership emerged in the midst of the Cold War. Herb Brooks, the coach of the USA Olympic hockey squad, was charged with the responsibility of forming a cohesive team out of young collegiate hockey players. Their task was to play on the greatest stage against the most dominant of opponents, the Soviet Union. Their opponents were recognized as the most talented and most disciplined team on ice. Herb Brooks’ leadership now had a mission. A mission to not only convince his own squad that they could achieve such a remarkable upset, but to prove the same to those around them who had not given them a fighting chance. Brooks is often called a “game changer” because of his motivational skills and perseverance. He believed that what separated winners and losers, were the mental and physical intangibles. Brooks implemented a leadership approach that was not always popular amongst his team, but was vital to their success. He was a charismatic leader due to his powerful motivational process and high expectations. He infused a sense of community, responsibility and higher purpose in the hearts and souls of his players.
In the class titled, “Leadership in the Non-Profit World”, a discussion arose regarding successful strategies for this sector. A consensus was reached regarding the need for an overarching implementation strategy to help reach specific goals and aspirations. The strategy for Yeshiva University, highlighted in the State of the University address, outlines the necessary steps to help grow the institution. In both the State of the Union address and the Brook’s doctrine, two important goals intertwine. The first focuses on community. There must be a communal culture that bonds teachers, administrators, and students, or as in the hockey realm, players and coaches. The second goal embodies the mandate to matter. Coach Brooks understood that a one hundred percent effort from his squad would not be sufficient. The one hundred percent commitment must be tagged along with a belief that their cause mattered and as a result anything was possible. What mattered to Brooks inevitably mattered to his squad because of his persuasive and unique coaching abilities. Brooks had a winning strategy because he chose the right talent who formed a strong community. He then made them understand how much their actions mattered in the eyes of the world. He never allowed mediocrity, saying, “you can’t be common, the common man goes nowhere; you have to be uncommon.” In class, and in the Yeshiva University environment, one can sense that a lackadaisical approach and falling into the trap of mediocrity can seriously affect one’s professional career. It stipulates precisely in President Joel’s investiture speech “excellence must be nourished, or else it becomes pedestrian.” Sport often focuses on one individual, a highly gifted or super natural athlete. However, a community of players requires teamwork and chemistry. Coach Brooks scouted people first and athletes second. He wanted individuals with a sound value system, because he believed communally, you are only as great as your values. The same ideology holds true within the YU community.
Embedded in President Joel’s Investiture Speech is the idea that the values of Yeshiva University must be firmly held. It must be a community of value driven, motivated individuals who understand that there is a higher purpose for their efforts and the institutions’ success. These values are an intrinsic part of each individual associated with YU, and are the values that the institution has held since its’ inception. Before each scrimmage Coach Brooks motivated his players with motivational words that stressed higher purpose thought. His team acquired a mindset of communal cohesiveness, and