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NFL coach Mike Smith and Bestselling Author Jon Gordon Explore How to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life in New Book

Monday, September 21, 2015 12:00 am EDT
"I love that Mike and Jon talk about the importance of caring. A leader who cares builds a team that cares. Caring makes all the difference."

NFL head coach Mike Smith lead one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. In the season prior to his arrival in 2008, the Atlanta Falcons had a 4–12 record and the franchise had never before achieved back-to-back winning seasons. Under Smith's leadership, the Falcons earned an 11–5 record in his first season and would go on to become perennial playoff and Super Bowl contenders earning Smith AP Coach of year in 2008 and voted Coach of Year by his peers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life  (Wiley; September 2015; $23.00; ISBN: 978-1-119-15785-4; Available where all books and e-books are sold) draws on the extraordinary experiences of Coach Mike Smith and Jon Gordon—consultant to numerous college and professional teams—to explore the seven powerful principles that any business, school, organization, or sports team can adopt to revitalize their organization.

The book focuses on the 7 core values to help build and develop a winning team.  The 7 C’s of coaching any team are:

  • Culture
  • Contagious
  • Consistent
  • Communication
  • Connection
  • Caring
  • Commitment

Each section features short chapters with short lessons, stories, and applications. Step by step, the authors outline a strategy for building a thriving organization and provide a practical framework that give leaders the tools they need to create a great culture, lead with the right mindset, create strong relationships, improve teamwork, execute at a higher level, and avoid the pitfalls that sabotage far too many leaders and organizations with insight such as:

  • How can leaders play a positive role after a team is divided?
  • What is the importance of creating a positive team culture and standing by it – and where to start.
  • How to keep a team positive after their first loss.
  • The number one thing a leader should do after a loss.

In addition to sharing what went right with the Falcons, Smith also transparently shares what went wrong his last two seasons and provides invaluable lessons leaders can take away from his victories, success, failures and mistakes.

Whether it's an executive leadership team, sports team, emergency room, military or school team, successful leaders coach, develop, mentor, and encourage the people on their team. This not only improves the team; it improves the leaders and their relationships, connections, and organization.

You Win in the Locker Room First offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at one of the most pressure packed leadership jobs on the planet and what leaders can learn from these experiences in order to build their own winning team.

Additional Information

Advance Praise for You Win in the Locker Room First

"This book is a must read for anyone who wants to build a great culture and winning team!"

 —Brian Billick, Super Bowl XXXV winning coach of the Baltimore Ravens

"As a practicing 'student of the game' regardless of the sport or industry, I'm always looking to give me and my team an edge. This book nails the fundamentals and advanced coaching concepts of leadership for any team. Great cultures begin with trust, and trust begins by establishing relationships that are forged upon a great foundation of character, compassion, competence, and courage. You Win in the Locker Room First should be required reading for parents, coaches, and leaders at all levels."

 —Carl Liebert, Chief Operating Officer, USAA

"Jon and Mike have written a must-have handbook on team unity. The most successful teams I have been a part of were the most connected. Before we even dive into our playbook or any X's-&-O's, we make every effort to make sure we are 100% connected and committed as a team first. Read this book and learn valuable strategies on how to build a rock solid locker room and team."

 —Erik Spoelstra, Head Coach, The Miami Heat

"I love that Mike and Jon talk about the importance of caring. A leader who cares builds a team that cares. Caring makes all the difference."

 —Clint Hurdle, Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates

"Long before you take the court, you start your path of winning through your locker room. Jon and Mike have captured the essence of winning by utilizing the 7 C's to build your team. This is a must read if you are serious about building a championship team."

 —Doc Rivers, Head Coach, LA Clippers


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    Mike Smith is the former head coach for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, a position he held from 2008 to 2014. He is the all-time winningest coach in franchise history. In his first season as Falcons head coach, Smith was recipient of the NFL Coach of the Year Award by the Associated Press. He was also named NFL Coach of the Year 3 times by Pro Football Weekly (2008, 2010 and 2012).

    Jon Gordon's best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous NFL, NBA, MLB coaches and teams, Fortune 500 companies, school districts, hospitals and non-profits. He is the author of numerous books including The Wall Street Journal bestseller The Energy Bus, Soup, The No Complaining Rule, Training Camp, The Carpenter and The Hard Hat. Jon and his tips have been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Fox and Friends and in numerous magazines and newspapers. His clients include The Atlanta Falcons, LA Clippers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Campbell Soup, Wells Fargo, Northwestern Mutual, Publix, Southwest Airlines, Bayer, West Point Academy and more.

    Jon is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Masters in Teaching from Emory University. He and his training/consulting company are passionate about developing positive leaders, organizations and teams.

    When he's not running through airports or speaking, you can find him playing tennis or lacrosse with his wife and two teenage children. Connect with him at JonGordon.com or on Twitter @JonGordon11.

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