PRESEDENT'S MESSAGE: Spring 2003
Winning Insights for High School and College
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Spring 2003
Accountability for your actions is one of the very most important ingredients for success and should be of primary focus for those in leadership positions. Head coaches set the tone for accountability in sports. Mayors set the tone in city government, and a CEO sets accountability standards for a business. Failure to set and maintain standards will lead to severe problems: losses in sports, ineffectiveness in government and bankruptcies in business. Let me give you an amazing example.
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and recent Man of the Year for his leadership in the terrorist attack on September 11, is the center of this example. In the early 1990s, Mayor Giuliani took over the fourth-largest government in the United States. There were many issues to address that many thought were not solvable. Then he instituted a computer accountability system called Compstat. Performance indicators were installed. The system immediately worked and worked beyond expectations. People were once again accountable. If people fell short, they either left or did better. People who did well were rewarded and praised. It worked so well that the mayor decided to implement Compstat at the infamous Rikers Islands prison facility. Only months before, Mike Wallace (of 60 Minutes) called Rikers Island out of control.
NYC had had a long history of extending all kinds of privileges to its prisoners. They were allowed to wear their own clothes and their own jewelry. They were entitled to one phone call per day. Correction officers could carry a weapon only during an emergency. On his first visit, the mayor’s new head of corrections saw an inmate held down while others carved initials into the guy’s back with a razor. Nothing happened to the perpetrators. “That’s what happens in jail,” the guards said.
Mayor Giuliani responded, “An inmate who believes that nothing can happen to him feels free to behave like a lunatic.” The mayor instituted 592 performance indicators into the prison Compstat system. Inmates were held accountable. If they committed an act of violence, they were arrested. Virtually overnight, behavior changed. Said Mayor Giuliani, “Easy to understand. Someone who is serving 20 years does not want another five years added on.”
There were 1,093 inmate-to-inmate acts of violence in 1995 at Rikers Island. In the year 2000 there were only 70 of these acts of violence.
You can apply these accountability principles easily to strength and conditioning and measure activity like Mayor Giuliani’s Compstat. Use the BFS Set-Rep System! Athletes must break at least eight records per week. Those who do not are simply not with the program and are not true Elevens.
It’s not enough to just show up. You must break records. For those who break eight or more records, say, “You are an Eleven!” For those who don’t, say, “I thought you said you wanted to be an Eleven?” You either contribute to the dream and the goal of winning a championship or you don’t. Simple. Elevens are accountable.