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  Coach Tony Dungy: The SOUL of a Team

April 9, 2019

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 Coach Tony Dungy: The SOUL of a Team

April 2, 2019

Carly sits down with hall of fame Coach Tony Dungy, to talk about lessons he’s learned from his mother, and the SOUL of a team.

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Carly Fiorina: Hi, it's Carly. Before we get started with this fantastic episode with Coach Tony Dungy, I just wanted to let you know that today, April nine, is the day my new book, Find Your Way, hits bookstores everywhere. Go on to, to find out how you can order your copy. Thanks and enjoy the podcast. Carly Fiorina: I'm Carly Fiorina, and this is, By Example. On this podcast, we sit down with leaders of all types, to explore examples of real leadership and the qualities of all great problem solvers. I think we get really confused about what leadership is. On, By Example, we lift up the real leaders. People who are focused on changing the order of things for the better, and solving real problems that are right in front of them, leading by example. Carly Fiorina: You know, Coach Tony Dungy as a sportscaster on NBC, you know him as a Hall of Fame coach. You may not know him as an author, and a speaker, and a leader. I talked with Tony Dungy about his most recent book, it's fiction, sort of. But what it really is about, is leadership, and changing the order of things for the better. He talks about the soul of the team, the soul of a leader. And I think what you'll find as you listen to him, is, his principles transcend sports, they certainly transcend fiction, and they are all about the character and the soul of a leader. Coach Dungy, thank you so much for joining me on By Example. I can't think of a guest that I have been more excited to talk with. Obviously, you're a winning coach, you're a Hall of Famer, you're a best selling author, you're a incredible commentator. Carly Fiorina: But, for me, the most important reason that you're on By Example, is that you're a leader. Not because of your titles, not because of your wins, but because of your character and your example. And so, thank you so much for joining me today. Tony Dungy: Well, thank you, Carly. It's a pleasure and an honor to be on the show. Thank you. Carly Fiorina: You have a relatively new book out, and I want you to talk a little bit about that book. As I mentioned at the top, you're a best selling author and this is your third book. But, this book uses a word that is sometimes unusual in books about teamwork or leadership, although, it is a word that I use a lot. This book is based on the word, soul. And, maybe I could start by asking you, why you chose that word, and we can get into the acronym in a moment. But, what does that word mean to you? And why did you think it was important to build a book around? Tony Dungy: Well, two reasons. Number one, the soul of anything is probably the heart of it. It's what's really inside, what makes that organism tick. And so, we thought that, that was a good way to describe, what makes for a successful team, school, business, whatever. And then, the acronym too also, pointed out the four things that, Nathan Whitaker, my co-author, and I really felt were important. In any group, if you want to get things done, number one, to ask for selflessness and getting people ... our human nature is selfish. God puts self preservation in us to keep our species alive. So, the first thing we normally think about is, what's best for us? In a situation. To have a good team, you've got to get that mindset out of the equation. Not totally, you still want people that are driven, that are focused, that have goals. But, they've got to be able to put that below the team concept. And so that I'm going to be unselfish, I'm going to do what it takes for the team to succeed, before I think about what my individual success is going to be. And then ... Okay, go ahead. Carly Fiorina: Well, let's just pause on that one for a moment, and we'll talk about each of the qualities that make up soul and in a moment, I promise. But, let's just pause on selflessness. I talk about the importance of humility in leadership, the importance of empathy in leadership. It seems to me that, our culture in so many ways, lifts up selfishness, not selflessness. We tend to lift up the star, we tend to focus on fame. We love controversy and conflict. We so often fixate on the winner and denigrate the loser. Selflessness is obviously so important, but it's also a bit countercultural, don't you think? Tony Dungy: It is very countercultural, and to have a great team, you have to somehow chip away at that. I guess, I learned it best on my first team that I played for in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was an incredible team. We won four Super Bowls in a six year period of time, we had nine players on the team who are in the NFL Hall of Fame, had some tremendous individual players. But, what made that team special, was the fact that everyone put winning above their personal goals. And that's why it was able to be so successful. And I learned that early on, that it wasn't talent, it wasn't this collection of great players that you had that made for success, it was the attitude. And it came from the leadership, it came from the top. Chuck Noll was our coach, I ended up working on his staff for eight years after I played for him. And his mantra when we were coaching was that we were there to help our players be the best they could be. Tony Dungy: So, it started at the top. He didn't think that he was the boss, he didn't think he was in charge, that it was his way of the highway. He felt like he was there to help everybody in the group be the best they could be. And if he did that, we're going to have a great team. So, that filtered down. And then, you got the veteran players, who came alongside the young guys to help them, instead of looking at us as, "Oh, here is someone who's potentially trying to take my job." They looked at us as, "Here is somebody we're going to need down the road, I've got to help him be the best that he can be." And so, everybody was helping each other be better, and that elevated the play of the whole group. Carly Fiorina: I should have said at the outset, Tony, that my husband and his entire family are from Pittsburgh. So, I feel as though I know you. Tony Dungy: Yeah, Steeler fans. They have a bond with the team. Carly Fiorina: Steeler fans forever, you know that. They never leave the team. And it's so important what you said at ... Let's just unpack it for a second. The first thing you said that I want to just pause on is that, tone is set at the top. That, one of the really important things that a leader does is, set the tone, set the stage, set the example. And, so often, I think, and by the way, everything that you said about the Pittsburgh Steelers, of course, applies to any high performing team. I don't care whether it's a huge company like HP, or it's a small entrepreneurial team, or it's a nonprofit. If you want a team to perform at its best, this willingness to subordinate an individual's ego for the good of the whole, selflessness, to use your term, is critical. And if that tone isn't set by the leader, then, it doesn't happen. And that's true for every kind of team, not just the Pittsburgh Steelers or the teams that you've talked about and coached. Tony Dungy: No question about it. And to me, the Steelers were a great example. Art Rooney Sr. was our owner, he was in his 80s when I got there. He was the patriarch and he set the tone for how that team was going to function. It wasn't his team, everything didn't revolve around him, he wanted to set everyone else up for success. He wanted to see the community of Pittsburgh thrive. And he set the tone, and that filtered down to coach Noll, and then, it filtered down to us. And, I think, the people of the city felt it, they felt like we were their team. Carly Fiorina: And of course, when you went on to the Colts, I'm sure you brought that same focus on selflessness and commitment to higher purpose to the Colts and I'm sure it's one of the reasons that you won a Super Bowl ring with the Colts. Tony Dungy: I think so. And that was one of the things that the owner, Jim Irsay, when he called me, he said that's what he wanted. Indianapolis had just actually shifted their franchise, they moved from Baltimore in the mid 80s. So, they had been there a number of years, but they didn't have that 60 or 70 year tradition. Grandparents didn't grow up taking their kids to Colts' games, and Mr. Irsay said, "We've got to connect with the community. We want to win, but, we've got to develop this bond. And, you had that in Pittsburgh, that's what I want." And so, he cultivated that, and it was important to him. And, again, it started at the top and it showed up in the way we did things, and I think, that carried over to how we did things on the field. Carly Fiorina: It's such a important foundation, not just for winning in the long run, although, it may not win in the short term. I think, it always wins in the long term. But it's a foundation to your point for the way people feel about themselves, about each other, about the larger community of which they're a part. And yet, back to this issue of culture, it, wow, we just seem to really fixate on the individual star. And, in sports, we seem to celebrate the size of somebody's contract, as much as anything else. It must be difficult to get this message across in sports today, would you say? Tony Dungy: It is, and the successful organizations, they're able to do it. And you see certain teams and whatever sport, that they are always near the top, they're always fighting for the championships. They have that, they get the message across. That, "Yes, we'll celebrate individual accomplishment and we'll have great players who flourish." But, it's within the team concept, and the team is the most important thing. And somehow, we don't reward that enough in sports. Players win a championship, and then, five players on the team go to other teams because they're paid a little bit more money by that other team who wants some of that chemistry to rub off. So, they're willing to pay a little bit more for it. And, instead of staying where I am and just building on this feeling that we have, I'll go to another team, because, I can make a little bit more. Or maybe, I wasn't the star on this team, and I can get a little more notoriety on the next team. Tony Dungy: And so, you think about the wrong reasons to do things. And we see it play out over and over, but those teams that have those values, that have that core, they seem to stay in position to win for a long time. Carly Fiorina: It's interesting, one of the upcoming guests on this podcast, and one of the people I write about in my book, Find Your Way, is Shane Battier. And, Shane Battier, of course, on the basketball court, exemplified the selflessness attitude and talked about how, "I'm not here to be the star, I'm here to be the best teammate I can." And so interesting that, when he was on the court, everybody did better, although, he was never the star. It's just, he made everybody better. Tony Dungy: Yes. And that way as a coach, that is what you're looking for. And I go back to my days growing up in Michigan and playing pick-up basketball. Where, you choose a team, and as long as you win, you stay out there. And if you lose, you have to sit out, and then, come back when your turn is up again. So, you really wanted to stay, you wanted to win. And so, the guys who got picked in those games, were many times different than the high school stars or the middle school stars. It wasn't always the best player who got picked, but I'm going to pick that guy who doesn't want to lose, who's going to do whatever it takes for us to stay out there. And that's how you determine [boy 00:14:07] who those really valuable players were. And it's the same thing in any organization, you have people, it doesn't matter how talented they are, if they're really driven for the organization, for the team to succeed, they're going to be your best employees. Carly Fiorina: It's so true, it's always so true. One of the reasons I think that's true, I think that true leaders are focused among other things on solving problems and changing the order of things for the better, in whatever the setting is. And to do that, you have to collaborate. And to collaborate effectively, you have to be humble enough, to know you need somebody else, you can't do it all yourself. And you have to be empathetic enough to see the value that other people bring to the table. And that willingness to collaborate, to team, it's so incredibly important. And over time, and it takes time, I think, sometimes to prove this out. But, over time, organizations that are made up of people that are selfless, that work together, that put a purpose higher than themselves, above themselves. Over time, those are the most successful organizations, anywhere in life, I think. But, it is countercultural right now. Tony Dungy: It is, and we celebrate individuality, we celebrate the fantastic highlight reel plays. We don't celebrate teams winning and being unified and humility and all the things that go with making a winning team. And that's one of the points we make in the book, that, if you want to build an organization that consistently wins, you gotta somehow foster an atmosphere that rewards that. That looks for that and says, "That's important to us." Carly Fiorina: Well, it's also a good segue to the O in Soul. Because, talk to us a little bit about ownership. We're not talking about the participation trophy, we're not talking about, "Well, let me just get on a team here and coast my way through." We're not talking about somebody not giving a hundred percent. Talk to us a little bit about ownership, what you talked about in the pick-up basketball games, the guys who really want to win every time, being so [crosstalk 00:16:41]. Tony Dungy: Owning your role is how we describe it in the book, and on any team, in any organization, there are roles that have to be played. The key to building a good team is having everyone do their role exceptionally well. And, again, this goes back to being unselfish. Most of the time, we function in a role really well, if we like our role. But, if you put us in a role that we don't particularly like, or we don't think is becoming of us, then, our number one tendency is, "I need a different role." Instead of saying, "Okay, this is the role that the team needs, I've got to do this the best I can for us to succeed." When finished my senior year in college, I had been a quarterback my whole life. Quarterback in middle school, high school and college. I went to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they already had a quarterback. Tony Dungy: They had Terry Bradshaw, and so, coach Noll said, "We don't need you as a quarterback, here's how you can help this team. And maybe, it's not something you've ever done, but, you can be part of this group as a backup defensive player. You can know different roles, you can fill in for people, you can play on special teams." And I had to make a decision. Is that a role that I'm going to accept? And not just do it, but do it to the best of my ability? Or, I'm always going to be there saying, "Okay, I'm doing this, but I really should be the quarterback. This is not fair, this is not right. If they really knew how good I was, I would be in this role." And, we had to have 47 players that, not only bought into their role, but did it to the best of their ability. And that's a hard thing to get people to do. Carly Fiorina: It really is. One of the stories I tell in my book, Find Your Way, is, at some point in my management career, I was getting towards the top of an organization, starting to come out of middle management. And in corporate America at that time, manufacturing was a real job and line operations were a real job and I got what I thought was sidelined into a strategy job. Which, honestly at the time, was more woman's work. And I was really upset initially and thought, "Wow, I've been sidelined, this is terrible." It turned out, I made a decision, "Okay, I'm going to do this job the best I can. This is the role I've been given, I'm going to do this job well." But it turned out to be an incredible blessing, because, I learned so much about the organization that I was now a part of, a relatively new member of. Sometimes, I think those roles that we think we don't really want, and that maybe aren't quite what we were striving for, sometimes, those roles turn out to be incredibly valuable, a real blessing. Carly Fiorina: And I'm assuming that's what happened to you when you came to the Steelers and didn't get exactly the role you thought you wanted or maybe deserved. Tony Dungy: No, it really was. And I didn't know it at the time, but the Lord was preparing me to be a coach. I couldn't figure it out how I was an offensive player and a quarterback my whole life. And then, suddenly, I go to a championship team, and I'm playing on defense, and I'm learning a different skill set. And then, I get traded after two years to a struggling team that has an up and coming Hall of Fame coach and Bill Walls, but, we only won two games. And I'm seeing him put this team together from the bottom up. And, why is this happening to me? And why is my role changing? And then, I become a young assistant coach, where I'm running the copy machine and cutting up films, and not really even getting to utilize my expertise on the field. But I ended up learning all the different segments, everything that it takes to be a coach. And then, 10 years later, I could see [gasp 00:20:57] why the skill is going to benefit me. Tony Dungy: But, at the time, those roles weren't necessarily what I wanted, but I always remembered coach Noll's axiom to us, if we're going to be good, everyone has to accept their role and everyone has to do it to the best of their ability. So, I did it, but, I end up, as you say, learning so much myself. It was really a benefit. Carly Fiorina: So, the Lord was preparing for you, but you had to own it. Tony Dungy: Yes. Carly Fiorina: That also is a collaboration. Tony Dungy: Exactly. Because, that we can just laugh our way through and just say, "Hey, I'm not going to be involved in this, I'm not going to do the best I can. I'll do my role, but, I'm not really going to engage my entire being." And we miss out. Carly Fiorina: That's true, it's so true. So, sou, S-O-U, unity, unity of purpose, unity of mission. Talk to us about unity, even in the face of, perhaps, disagreement, conflict, and the need to have the kind of collaboration communication that allows you to resolve that conflict and get back to unity. That, sometimes, it's not something we celebrate either. Tony Dungy: No, you're right. And we misunderstand it. And I think you hit the nail on the head, unity of mission and unity of purpose. Not unity in everything we do, not unity in everything we believe. We had all kinds of guys on a team, and you have that when you have 53 players. You have Republicans and Democrats, you have younger guys and older guys, you have country western music lovers and rap music lovers, you have black and white, you have offense and defense, you have outgoing people and introverts. You can't change everybody into one way, one way of thinking. And you can't even say, "You've got to think the same way on all these issues." No, we are going to be diverse, that's going to make us stronger. But, what is our mission? What is our purpose? And can we agree on that and be unified in that? So, even though I would prefer to listen to country and western music, I'm not going to let that sidetrack our mission of being the best team that we can be. And that's how you create the unity. Carly Fiorina: It's so interesting because, in addition to remembering unity around what mission and purpose, I actually have observed over and over again and believe and talk about in my book, that, diversity actually makes a team stronger, as long as, there is unity of purpose. So, I will advise businesses or organizations or nonprofits all the time and say, "Look, if everyone agrees all the time, you're not performing at your peak, because, you're missing something important. If everyone walks into a room and agrees on what the issue is, and what the solution is within five minutes, it might be easier, it might be more comfortable, but you have missed something really important. Without some differing ideas, conflict even around what's the right approach, challenging of one another, an open communication to get all of those different ideas and different principles perhaps, worked through, until you resolve them towards a unity of purpose or problem solved, you're not achieving as much." Would you agree with that? Do you think it's the same on the team? Carly Fiorina: I get nervous when people say, "We all got to agree, or, we can't achieve anything." Actually, I would say, "No, it's healthy to disagree, as long as we are unified in our purpose and our mission." Tony Dungy: That is absolutely the key, and I think you're right. Without the diversity, you don't get the sense of what is possible, and looking at things in a different way. Coach Noll, he loved that. And when I worked for him, if you took a position, he'd ask you, "Hey, what are we going to teach in this particular situation?" And you'd say, "Well, we're going to teach, A, here's how we're going to do it, here's what I believe." He might believe A, but he would always say, "Well, I think we should do B." And he did it, because, he wanted to see, number one, how committed you were to it. And he also wanted you to think about the other possibilities. "Well, here's something, we tried B before, and it has some advantages, and here they are. Okay, at the end of the day, we're going to do A, I believe in you." But, at least, you talked it through, you looked at all sides of it. And it wasn't just blindly, "Hey, we're going to do this because we've always done it that way." And that is healthy, and it is helpful. Carly Fiorina: And that too is countercultural. We've been talking about how so many of these necessary ingredients for long term success in leadership are countercultural. And I think, in our culture today, we become so tribal. We tend to really castigate each other, "Gee, if you don't agree with me on all these things, then,- Tony Dungy: You don't like him. Carly Fiorina: I don't like you. Or, I think your character is flawed, or, I don't want to spend any time with you. Or, I don't want to seek to understand why you might believe these things." This is why, to me, empathy is so important. The ability to actually try and see someone else's point of view and understand the value that they can bring. And so, as you said, sometimes we misunderstand unity. We think what it means is, "Oh, we all have to agree, we all have to have the same approach, we all have to have the same beliefs." No, not at all. Let's celebrate our differences but come together around a common purpose. But it's not what gets celebrated right now. Tony Dungy: No, because, you're right, we have this kind of thought in our society, "If you disagree with me, you don't respect me. You don't love me." And I go through that with my kids all the time. "Yeah, I love you and I respect you, but you're not going to do this." Or, "You're not going to do that. It doesn't mean I don't like you, it doesn't mean I'm not listening to you. We just have a disagreement on how we're going to do things and that's okay." And we don't see that in our society now. If you disagree with me, then you're seen as territorial, you're seen as someone who's a phobic. And that's just not true. Carly Fiorina: Yeah. I've built diverse teams all my career, I have an incredibly diverse team now. And it's interesting to me to watch people diverse politically, diverse ethnically, diverse from a gender perspective, diverse in every way. And it's interesting to me to watch people who respect each other, who like each other, who are bound together by a common purpose, have respectful discussions and disagreements. And my observation is, always if you can have respectful disagreements and conversations and differ, everyone learn something, and everyone comes out bigger and better at the end of it, every time. Tony Dungy: No question, no question. Carly Fiorina: Okay, the L in soul, larger purpose. So obvious in some ways and yet once again, countercultural. I'll tell you a little story. I just spent the weekend in New York with my granddaughters and they are of their generation. But honestly, so many people are so fixated on selfies and I gotta be in the middle of the picture all the time. And, wow, look around, look around and see the wider community, and maybe, you don't have to be in the picture. Maybe you need to see someone else who's maybe outside the picture. Tony Dungy: Yeah. Now, you're right. And larger purpose is the hardest thing to come up with as an organization, as a team, but it's the most critical. Because, the other three elements that we talked about, selflessness, owning your role and doing the best you can in a role that may not be what you want. Being unified in mission and part ... That is, they're countercultural. They are not what our society says we value now. So, the only way to get it, is to have everyone come together on board under the banner of some larger purpose. And what is that going to be? For a sports team, it might be winning. I can put aside all my differences, because, I really want to win, and win a championship. But, for the most part, it's even bigger than that. It's not just winning, isn't going to satisfy you. Tony Dungy: But, why are we going to win? What are we going to get out of this? What are we trying to accomplish if we win? Is it leaving a legacy? Is it making our city a better place to live? What is it that is really, really important that we can all buy into, that we can put these differences aside? Carly Fiorina: I think, many people listening might be surprised to know that, making a better community, making a stronger community was part of that larger purpose for the teams that you were a part of. I'm not sure that's how everyone would think about a football team. Tony Dungy: No, they don't, and it was absolutely a unique approach. I think, to many of my players when they first started, as a matter of fact, I can remember my first team meeting in Tampa when I took over the Buccaneers. We had this conversation that we're having now, "Why am I here? I'm here as your new coach, because, we haven't won a lot. The owners want to win, they want to win a Super Bowl, but, we've got to win in the right way. I'm interested in more than winning. We want to win, but, we want to be role models in the community. I want you guys to be those lights for the young boys and girls who are looking up to people. We want to make Tampa a better place to live. We want to make a difference 20 years from now, in how people live in Tampa. Not just for three hours a week that they had a fun time coming out and watch us play. How can we make a difference in this community?" Tony Dungy: And I talked about that for 45 minutes, and Derrick Brooks, one of my young players on that team, came into my office afterwards. And he said, "I need to know about winning, how are we going to win? I'm here to win." And then, when you say, "Well, Derrick, all of these things that I talked about, that's how we're going to win. That is the important steps, that's going to be part of our building process." And then, years later, for me to sit here and now, and see what he's doing in this community, and the things that he's done, and the things that he has brought to Tampa to make it a better place to live, it's really gratifying. Carly Fiorina: You said something really important. Again, it's countercultural, I think, but you said, "Win in the right way." And my way of saying that is to say that a true leader understands that how they do things is as important as what they do. Tony Dungy: Oh, you sound like my mother now. Yeah. Carly Fiorina: Careful now. Tony Dungy: Yes. She always said that. It's [crosstalk 00:33:11] what you do, it's how you do it. Carly Fiorina: It's how you do it. But that is countercultural as well. It's the end result, it's the ends justifying the means. I mean, this happens in business all the time. Where, people say, "Oh, meeting the quarter justifies any means," or, "Getting the stock price up justifies any means," Or, "Winning the political campaign justifies any means," Or, "Winning the game justifies any means." And in truth, it never does. The ends never justify the means, and how you do things always matters. But, winning in the right way, again, it's countercultural, but, so important. Tony Dungy: Now, we are programmed in this country to win. We celebrate who's number one, we celebrate the champions, that's what we look at. And if you don't achieve at all, then, in some sense, you're a failure. That's the way we look, and it's so not true. But, we are programmed that way, and that was part of my conscious effort to get our players not to think that way. Yes, we have goals. Yes, we want to win Super Bowls. But, we can measure our success differently than just win totals. Carly Fiorina: And you obviously built a leader. Many leaders, I'm sure. But, you illustrate, I think, that, the highest calling of a true leader is to unlock potential in others for leadership. And obviously, you've done that. Tony Dungy: Well, that's what you hope to do, and you hope to set the tone and get people to follow you. But then, you understand as a leader that the best way you're going to ensure success, is to build other leaders within the group. So that, you have the group following 20 people, and not just one person. And that is something that I really tried to do. I tried to develop that in our assistant coaches, in our veteran players, and in everybody. That, "Hey, you're going to lead, somebody is watching you. You're going to make a difference in someone's life, someone on this team, and you've got to be ready. When they are ready to follow you, how are you directing them? How are you leading them?" Carly Fiorina: I frequently say that leaders are made, not born. And I know from experience that literally everyone has the potential for leadership. Not everyone has that potential for leadership awakened inside them or unlocked inside them, not everyone has that opportunity. But, you and I clearly share that belief, that philosophy, that experience, that anyone can lead. It's not about their title, it's not about their position. It's about their character, their characteristics, how they apply their skills and their talents. All the things that we've been talking about. And I bring that up, because, I think so often we get confused about the word leader. And we think, "Well, a leader is someone who has a big title, they have a big office, they have a position, maybe they're famous, maybe they're wealthy." And so, we frequently are disappointed, because, someone who has a big title and a big office, turns out, isn't a leader at all. And so, I think, it's so vital that we redefine what leadership actually is, which is what I think you do in the soul of a team and what I try and do and find your way as well. Tony Dungy: Yes. We do have to try to unlock that and many people are comfortable following, because, that's easier. It's much easier to blend into the crowd, it's much easier for someone to tell me what to do. And so, you just have to get people out of their comfort zone. And then, you have to encourage those that have leadership skills, you have to bring it out of them. And you're right, there are so many people that have it that just needs to be nurtured a little bit. Carly Fiorina: Well, I want to shift gears just slightly. We've talked for the last several minutes about how all of these traits of leadership and high performing teams, the elements of soul are countercultural. One of the first and most important requirements of leadership, I think, is courage. Because, so often, who a leader is and what a leader really has to do, is going against the grain, so to speak. Or, countercultural, or not what's expected, and so, people get criticized. I think there's a reason that the Bible talks about courage more than almost anything else. But, talk a little bit about courage, the importance of courage. Even, for example, the courage to say, "Well, maybe we didn't win this year, but, how we're doing things, is as important as the win, and we're going to win over time." Tony Dungy: Yes, having convictions and being willing to stand for those convictions, you're going to get criticized, and you do need a certain amount of courage and perseverance to stand the test. One of coach Noll's favorite sayings was, "Stubbornness is not a character flaw, it's a virtue if you're right." Carly Fiorina: [crosstalk 00:38:59] sometimes. Tony Dungy: So, being stubborn and being able to stand up against people who say, "You shouldn't do this." Or, "Why are you doing it this way? You need to be different." Being able to say, "No, this is what we believe in, this is who we are. And, we're going to do it this way, whether you think it's right or not," that is not easy to do. And you do have to be following something, and you're right, the Bible talks about it a lot. Joshua just repeated it over and over, "Be strong and courageous." And it's necessary sometimes in the face of the criticism that you're going to get as a leader. Carly Fiorina: And criticism is just the price. Sometimes I say to people, "Look, if you expect to be praised always, while you're trying to solve problems, and you're trying to change the order of things for the better, and you're trying to unlock potential in others, and you're trying to call people to a higher purpose. If you think you're going to be praised during all of that, you're never going to make it, you're not. You're going to get criticized a lot. Particularly, when the culture says, fit in, blend in. And particularly when other people's opinions of us seem to have so much weight." Tony Dungy: Yes, and that is something, I think, I learned from my dad, but I really try to talk to young people a lot. And it's something they're burdened with. You can't be overly concerned about what other people think. We all want to be popular, we all want to be looked at as somebody who's great and fun to be around and easy to get along with, and we should strive for those things. But if we're very concerned about what other people think, we'll end up making mistakes, we'll never be true to ourselves. So, you've got to have convictions, "And this is what I believe, and this is what I'm gonna do. This is how I'm going to live my life, and I might have two people siding with me, that's okay. If that's what I really believe, I've got to be true to that." And that is hard to do in this day and age. Carly Fiorina: Well, yes. I mean, we are counting likes and hearts and all this other stuff. I mean, honestly, I think it's very, very difficult. Particularly, for young people. I also think that courage is so critical, because, a leader's purpose is to change things for the better. And change is hard. I have been reminded of this so many times, people will spend a lot of time complaining about the way things are, talking about a problem. But, even as bad as things are, or as difficult as the problem is, when it comes time to actually change things to make it better, then the going gets tough. And that's another reason why courage is required, because, to get ... Sometimes, I say, change is a little bit like heaven. Everyone wants to go there, nobody wants to die. So, everyone's says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," until, really, the rubber hits the road, and now, you got to change some things to get better. And then, the criticism starts. Tony Dungy: And when we need to change, we're facing some unknown. Even if it's a bad situation that we're in, at least, we know, we can function and we know how things are going to work. But when you're asking me to change, I don't know how that's going to turn out. So, I have a little reluctance, you've got to really sell me. And that's one of the things, I think, a great leader has to do. When you're dealing with change, you've got to sell it, and you've got to get people to buy and say, "You know what? Even though I haven't had any experience doing it this way, even though it's out of my comfort zone, I'm going to try it, because, you think it's a better way to go." Carly Fiorina: And I totally agree. And sometimes, people hear that word sell, and they think, "Oh, that's a bad word." No, a leader has to paint the picture of where we're going, and why going there is better than staying where we are. A leader also has to sometimes acknowledge, "Okay, we've had some setbacks here." I always say, look, you need character to keep going when the going gets tough, and the going always gets tough. You're not going to achieve, the end state, the win, the future state. You're not going to get there in one smooth trajectory, you're going to have setbacks. And yet, the leader, the coach, the team builder has to say, "No, where we're trying to go is worth going to, and here's why." Tony Dungy: Yes. And then, you do have to sell that, and you have to encourage people. And you have to get them to believe, number one, that they can get there. And, number two, that you have the way to get them there. And know those are important. It's not just the leader who has the best ideas, and the leader who has the best plans, but, who can encourage and just elevate people and get them to think, "Yes, this is the way to go, and this is what I want to do." Carly Fiorina: You've talked about your mother and dad and your faith as well. Talk a little bit about how important your mom and dad and your faith have been in building you as a leader. I know, in my case, those things have been incredibly important. If you don't mind, talk a little bit about that. Tony Dungy: No, very important and very much intertwined. Because, they said the same things. Number one, you don't have to follow the crowd, you don't have to follow what everyone else is doing. It's okay to be different, it's okay to be uncommon. And then, number two, thinking about things in terms of how you lead, and how you do things. And my mother's favorite verse was, "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" So, she did always look at how you did things. Not, "Hey, you're the president of General Motors, or you're the president of the United States. If you weren't doing it the right way, That's not good." And so, for us, whatever we chose, however we were going to do things, we had to honor the Lord. And my dad, growing up, encouraged us to think, think about the future and think about what you would want to do. His favorite saying was, "What are you going to do to make it better?" Whenever I would complain about a situation, whatever it was, that was always his comeback. "Hey, the teacher gave me a C." Tony Dungy: "Well, I'm not going to criticize the teacher, what are you going to do to get a B or an A? How are you going to make this better?" And it just made us always think and look towards the future. So, the two of them had a great impact on me. And the fact that they directed me to my Christian faith and directed me to really believe that God had a plan for my life, that was huge. Carly Fiorina: I'm smiling here. Of course, our listeners can't see me smiling. But I'm smiling because, that verse from Matthew 16:26, "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" It is such an essential element of leadership, the notion of character and soul. And the fact that your dad would say to you, "What are you going to do to make it better?" Changing the order of things for the better is the purpose of leadership. And so, I think, your mother, your dad, like my own, and your faith, gave you the essentials of leadership. But again, so different in some ways than the messages that we deliver to people today. And so, it's so good to have the opportunity for people, not only to hear your philosophy when you comment on television, to see your philosophy and action as you coach, to read your philosophy in this marvelous book, but to see you as an example. Which is why I'm really so honored that you would take the time to be on By Example. Carly Fiorina: I started this podcast because I believe people get the wrong messages about leadership. And so, what I wanted to do with this podcast was lift up examples of true leadership. And you certainly are that, and I want people to understand why you are that. And so, thank you in so many ways for just a wonderful conversation. Tony Dungy: Well, thank you, Carly. You talked about example, and I always go back to Matthew 20:26. And Jesus is talking to his disciples about leadership, and he says, "In the world, this is the way the world leads. But in the kingdom of God, it's not that way." The latter has to be the person who serves. And you talk about countercultural. That is countercultural, but that's what my parents taught me, and that's what I tried to exemplify as a leader who was ready to serve. Carly Fiorina: Well, you have said it very well. A leader serves always and unlocks potential in others. And one of the things I say to people all the time, when you think about Jesus and his disciples, the disciples were strays and losers as far as the society was concerned. These were not the leaders in Jesus time, and yet, he saw a potential for leadership in them. Well, Tony, thank you again for a wonderful conversation. This is a fantastic book, The Soul of a Team. I feel as though, you and I have known each other a very long time, because, if you laid out my book, Find Your Way, against your book, The Soul of a Team, we have so much in common. And, of course, since my husband, Frank, is from Pittsburgh, as I said at the outset, I feel like I've known you for a very, very long time. Thank you for being with me today. Tony Dungy: Thanks. It's been great being on the podcast and just a pleasure to talk to you about leadership. Carly Fiorina: That's all for now. But you can always check out more episodes online, at, or, on iTunes. And please subscribe, so you can get all of the episodes. You can be the first to get updates and exclusive offers, by texting, By Example, to, 345345. You can also send us feedback on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, @CarlyFiorina. Or by email, at Until next time, I'm Carly Fiorina, and this is, By Example.