Leading by Going Last: Part II – Another blog from Donnie and Kris

7 Jul 2020 11:21 AM | Anonymous

Leading by Going LastDo you have a different mindset about your leadership now? Are you ready to step back to allow your team members to flourish, to call out their genius, and to elicit the excellence that is inside of them?

Are you ready to change what you do to bring forth the best in your people? One way to multiply your team’s talent is to lead by going last.

In this second part of the blog, we describe how to be a Multiplier.

Becoming a Multiplier.

Sports is one place where we can find examples of leadership. There’s a job to be done. A finite time-frame. Ground rules. Talented players. And a measurable outcome at the end of play. Each team has its own playbook; the winning team adjusts its plays on the fly.

Perhaps we could learn something about leadership by watching how coaches lead. But leadership in sports takes place more than from the sidelines. There’s training. And then there’s the locker room.

Here’s an example of Multiplier leadership in the locker room.

Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, is a leader. His half times were part of the secret of his leadership genius. He’d deliberately be the last person to get back to the locker room at halftime. The players had already rushed back. Kerr and the coaching staff would take their time reviewing clips from the first half of the game and generating ideas about the adjustments they might need to make.

When the coaching staff finally got to the locker room, Kerr would ask his players, “What do you think?” The players would debrief, with their ideas of what they needed to do to adjust. Usually, the players suggested most of what the coaches would advise, and even had some ideas that the coaches hadn’t considered.

The players were coaching themselves. They were encouraged to see what the other team was doing and how to adjust. The faster and better they made the small fixes, the bigger the lead they would amass.

What are some of the leadership lessons?

  • Kerr hired great talent that had high “basketball IQ.”
  • Kerr never was the best player; he hired players who were better than he was.
  • He counted on his players to make smart adjustments while they were on the court.
  • He reached out to the players on his bench who didn’t get many minutes on the floor, engaging them by asking for their ideas.

Steve Kerr is a Multiplier. The answers to the team’s winning ways come from his process. He let his players observe, adjust, and perform. Instead of being the smartest guy, he made everyone else around him smarter.

You can be a Multiplier.

Multiplier leadership is a mindset and a way of operating. In order to navigate these massive challenges and societal shifts, think differently about yourself and the people around you.

Re-consider your leadership role. Could you lead with less ego and authority; with more humility and service?

Redefine success. Do you attract smart talent who wants to work for you because you make them better and shine the light on them? Do you believe that your people have an inner genius ready to emerge? Do you have confidence in their ability to figure things out; that you don’t need to do the thinking for them? Do you believe that human beings are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole?

Reflect on how your team can be more creative. Do you believe that your team’s performance is better with more ideas, coming from your team so that they have more understanding and acceptance of the plan? Innovation comes from an environment of psychological safety, excitement, multiple inputs, trial and error, acceptance of mistakes, and moving on with the valuable lessons learned. Are you willing to foster the safety so that your team is willing to make mistakes and tell you about them?

Release yourself from solo decision-making. Are you willing to have your team work with you on the Purpose and Guidelines? And then, once the Why is understood, let them work out the Hows? For example, your company has a raft of COVID-19 Ground Rules. Could you involve your team in creating new social rituals while still being socially distanced?

Re-sequence your leadership input. Why not wait for others to provide their ideas first? Why not allow others to provide their own critique and up their game? Ask yourself whether you have created the safe container for your team to come to work not only with their heads and hands, but also their hearts and souls. Have you? Listening is a tool for simply witnessing, acknowledging and honoring another human being’s lived experiences. Do you realize that we need not add more to what is being said?

As a Multiplier, your leadership will be recognized as a generous mentor, a courageous, thoughtful, and caring human being.  


Donnie Hill loves rigor and excellence. In college, he was a championship pole vaulter. Professionally, he is a business and marketing strategist, facilitator, and thought leadership advisor. Purpose-driven entrepreneurs, community and business leaders work with him to amplify their reach, build their thought leadership platform and stand out in their field so they can maximize their revenue, impact and legacy.

Kris Schaeffer says that everything she’s learned about learning, she learned trying to play tennis. When she is not playing her mediocre tennis, she works with clients to create stronger connections between customers and employees with her CARE framework. She enables organizations to become more resilient and innovative by giving them the tools for their own discovery and continued learning.


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