Standards. Lessons from Coach K.

by Dana Cavalea February 10, 2017

1 Comment

Standards. One of the words you do not hear very much any more.

I truly appreciate this word even more after listening to a speech Mike Krzyzewski (the legendary Duke Basketball Coach) made, referring to his experience of coaching Team USA.

We all know how hard it must have been for a College Basketball Coach to tame some large personalities of the NBA, like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade... but this man showed the ability to tame wild elephants like no other.

His lesson: STANDARDS.

You must have STANDARDS for whatever you do. Standards are agreed upon ways of "operating" in which everybody has bought into.

This got me thinking... what if we had STANDARDS we lived by?

Some of us do, and when they are not met, trust is broken, and frustration arises.

What if we just sat with all those around us, and let them know our standards, they let us know their standards, and then we respect those standards as our constitution?

That would make things much simpler. Have you ever heard somebody say that somebody else is a bad communicator? Why do they feel this way? They feel "unheard"... which simply means their standard is not being met or understood.

To build great teams, great relationships, great Companies... STANDARDS provide the framework for it. It is a "formal agreement" of expectations. This agreement must be discussed, agreed upon, and then respected. This is the baseline for a great "engagement/ relationship" in whatever we do.

In business, many people despise the time lawyers take, but when an agreement is in writing, signed off on, the expectations from both parties are now clear- a STANDARD has been set.

Here are a few of my standards in the workplace:

  1. Be on Time. (in a service business, on-time is really 30 minutes early- there is ZERO Excuse for lateness... this also means start an finish on-time.. most times more is not better)
  2. First Class Environment aka The Cleanest Place customers will be all day (dusted, mopped, vacuumed, sprayed, and looked over on the hour through the day)
  3. Clarity of Role (we must present each person with a clear, itemized role sheet that has all daily, weekly, monthly, and annual expectations).. if this is followed, there will be very little room for conflict..
  4. RESPECT. ( we must respect one another without gossip or drama, we must work to understand the "needs" that each person may have, and we must respect each others time, work, and purpose)
  5. World-Class Service (from uniform, to greeting a client, to preparation, to follow up.. we are committed to the results, and making sure we provide the best experience the client has ever had)

So these are a few simple STANDARDS.. when followed, greatness can be achieved. If we follow these STANDARDS, success will be the result.

To often we are either focused on the WIN, or the Dollars that define a win for many of us.. but if we focus on our STANDARDS, and daily execution, we will achieve our vision.

When you set a VISION and then define the STANDARDS you will set in order to get there... you will WIN.

Staying true to your STANDARDS will keep everybody focused, "on-board", and in check.

The above example is for business, but this can be done for a Department you run, a marriage, and even yourself...

Standards must not be confused with goals.... as they are not objectives.. they are values, or core values that outline how we should operate.

If you are constantly frustrated at work, with employees, or even with yourself, start defining your STANDARDS and set a meeting with your "team".. set the tone together... and remember their input is critical to success.

Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

1 Response


September 08, 2019

Nice work!

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