JAY BILAS

December 4, 2018

 
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Ep. 3: Jay Bilas Talks Toughness & Teamwork

December 4, 2018

Jay Bilas, Duke basketball alum ESPN broadcaster, shares his perspective on teamwork and toughness. This conversation covers two seemingly different pieces of the leadership puzzle: toughness and empathy.

About this Episode:

Carly sat down with Jay Bilas in Charlotte, NC, for a discussion on leadership and the meaning of toughness. This included:

  • How toughness is both teamwork and empathy

  • The leadership spacecraft, cleaning up in your hotel, and General Martin Dempsey

  • The importance of “we first” – not “me first”

  • Implementing lessons from Coach K

  • How leading with balance requires understanding context

  • How to take feedback and criticism without going crazy

  • The importance of tone

  • Criticism vs. feedback

  • Carly & Jay talk about how to get ahead

    Love the episode? Make sure to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. You can learn more about "By Example" by joining our email list at CarlyFiorina.com/ByExample. 

About the Guest:

Jay Bilas

Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) is a four-year starter on Duke University’s basketball team, an ESPN broadcaster and attorney. He is a New York Times Bestselling author of Toughness: Developing True Strength on and Off the Court, Bilas also writes for ESPN.com, and was awarded the Best Column of the Year in 2007 by The United States Basketball Writers Association.

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SHOW NOTES

 

Today’s example, demonstrating that toughness is teamwork [0:38]

Carly introduces us to today’s example: Jay Bilas [0:38]

  • Jay Bilas was a four-year starter for Mike Krzyzewski’s 1982-1936 Duke basketball team and is now a famous ESPN basketball broadcaster, who has demonstrated real leadership, sharing his perspective on teamwork and toughness with a broad audience

  • He’s redefining toughness in the context of leadership

Casey & Jeffrey talk coffee, pieces of the leadership puzzle, and what Carly and Jay Bilas have in common [2:28]

  • This conversation will cover two seemingly different pieces of the leadership puzzle: toughness and collaboration

  • Carly and Jay Bilas have both taken terms – leadership and toughness, respectively – and redefined them to make them clearer and more productive

  • Jay Bilas used to think of toughness as “… something I had to learn the hard way and something I had no real idea of until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how much I could take.”

  • That’s how a lot of people see it today – but that’s not how Jay Bilas defines it now

The leadership space craft, cleaning up in your hotel, and General Martin Dempsey [5:24]

Jay Bilas talks the importance of “we first” – not “me first” [5:24]

  • Leaders need to have a “we first” attitude – but it doesn’t have to be exclusive of “me” – you still want great “me’s” in the room when you are building a championship team

  • When you are building a space craft, you know that each element won’t fly by itself – but the space craft as a whole won’t fly without your element

Implementing lessons from Coach K [6:51]

  • A trick that Jay Bilas learned from Coach K at Duke is to introduce players to the custodial crew when a basketball camp starts so that everyone understands the impact when they don’t pick up after themselves or a teammate

  • Similarly, at hotels, he asks his players to think about who is cleaning up after them at night – and to recognize that person is someone’s mom or dad

  • He has discovered that those conversations create an environment where kids embrace empathy

  • Jay Bilas and Carly agree that empathy is an essential ingredient of leadership

“Radical Inclusion” and the importance of humility [10:06]

  • General Martin Dempsey wrote a book called “Radical Inclusion,” in which he says that the most important elements of leadership are character, competence, and humility

  • Even as a basketball commentator, you have to be thoughtful about what your colleagues are going through and intentional about how you can help them

  • You have to recognize that you can always be a positive influence on someone else who is going through a tough time – but only if you understand what they’re going through

Asking as opportunity and consider the context [12:25]

Jeffrey compares toughness to… thoughtfulness? [12:25]

I learned this years ago as a player, that just because you’re on the same bus doesn’t mean you’re taking the same trip
  • Though it may seem counterintuitive, toughness and strength can also mean thoughtfulness

  • Real strength is getting things done – and, to get things done, you have to engage other people in the right way

  • You have to start from a place of humility: “I understand, I cannot do it alone” and then to use empathy to understand where others can lift you up and help you achieve your goals

  • Asking someone to engage is extending them opportunity

  • Humility is not false modesty or hiding your light under a bushel; you can still be humble and have opinions (something Jay Bilas is required to have in his job as a commentator

How to share your opinion the right way, from an expert in opinion-sharing [16:48]

  • Jay Bilas’s job is to give his opinion – whether as a commentator or as a member of different NCAA committees, but the approach looks different based on context

  • As a commentator, he will state his opinion strongly and wait for the challenges; that’s what is expected

  • As a member of a committee, he will take a more collaborative approach; after all, that is why he’s there

Don’t mistake kindness for weakness, balance is the art of leadership, can I get your number? [19:32]

Jeffrey & Casey talk kindness and weakness; confidence and arrogance [19:32]

Balance is the art of leadership
  • Jeffrey shares a favorite, relevant quote from growing up: “Do not mistake my kindness for weakness”

  • We all have opinions because we all have different experiences; being firm and confident in your lived experience does not mean that you are closed off; confidence is not necessarily arrogance

  • True arrogance is the opposite of humility – being unwilling to listen to or try to understand the people around you

  • You have to find balance; you can recognize that you know a lot and also admit you don’t know everything

To lead with balance requires understanding context [21:42]

  • Sometimes we think toughness is about bulldozing and burning the house down – but you have to take a step back and appreciate the landscape

  • That step back sets the stage for open communication and collaboration

Jay Bilas explains how to take feedback and criticism without going crazy [22:58]

  • Jay Bilas gives his phone number to every official and coach that he works with and invites them to give him feedback

  • He knows he sometimes gets things wrong and he wants to understand where that is so he can improve

  • He doesn’t always like criticism but he recognizes that, if he’s willing to accept praise, he has to be willing to accept criticism

  • He does apply a lens to criticism: is it reasonable or unreasonable?

Tone, more on criticism, and trolls [24:20]

Casey & Jeffrey talk tone and standing firm in your beliefs [24:20]

  • Tone matters when you give feedback – and it also defines how you receive it

  • Tone isn’t just verbal; actions (like giving out your phone number) speak louder than words

  • It’s a lot easier to stand firm in your beliefs – in the face of criticism – when you’ve done your research

Criticism vs. feedback [25:55]

  • Criticism is intended to tear you down; feedback is intended to build you up; you have to evaluate criticism and feedback through that lens

  • You also need to use that lens when you are giving feedback: what is the intention behind your feedback?

  • This is a big problem with social media “trolls” who have a lot of criticism online – but are nowhere to be found in real life

Getting ahead, showing up, and a few extra nuggest [28:09]

Carly & Jay Bilas talk about how you get ahead [28:09]

  • A lot of people think getting ahead is about networking and meeting more people – but how do you meet more people? You show up and work

  • Stop worrying about the capacity in which you’re working – stop always trying to impress the people above you; one day, your peers will be running the show

  • Carly started out as a secretary in a small real estate firm – she didn’t plan to be a CEO

Casey & Jeffrey talk about what it means to actually show up [31:36]

  • When you talk about showing up, it can’t just literally be showing up – you have to engage; it’s not about you

  • You rise up by lifting up – lifting others up

Casey shares a few more nuggets of leadership wisdom from Jay Bilas [33:25]

  • “It’s not your shot, it’s our shot”

  • “Get to your teammate first”

  • “Take responsibility for your teammates”

  • “Throw yourself into your team’s defense”

 
 

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