By Terri Hughes-Lazzell
For Michigan State University’s Women’s Golf Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, building a winning team on the golf course is similar to building a winning team in the business world. “I’m after the trophy,” she said. “In business, it’s increasing sales or production. The goal is to win.”
When Slobodnik-Stoll began her coaching career at MSU 20 seasons ago, she came to build a winning program. Since then, her team has earned five Big 10 championships, been in the NCAA tournament 16 years, and has had numerous individual victories and awards.
Those results came because of a plan; something she knows business follows, as well. The similarities in coaching and leading a business are many, and her contribution to the MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Building Winning Teams annual program is to give executives insight into her process for creating an atmosphere for winning, that can be used in their own business.
“You can’t win without each other,” Solbodnik-Stoll said. “Leadership many times comes naturally from the best players—or in the case of business, maybe the sales person who is most productive.”
But Solbodnik-Stoll stressed that there are other ways to pull leaders out from the pack. Challenging each person with individual goals, and making it personal, so each person understands his or her value, can be motivating.
“We make it personal,” she said of her coaching staff with the golfers. “It’s so easy to text—good job. But we do a handwritten note because there’s nothing like receiving something that someone put thought into.”
In addition, the coach stresses initial interviews and having a good list of questions to make sure a person is a good fit for an organization.
“Make sure you truly look at what the organization is and what it needs,” she said.
Solbodnik-Stoll will speak to attendees at this year’s Building Winning Teams, June 2-4.
The program features the Broad College’s world-renowned, award-winning faculty, along with MSU coaches like Solbodnik-Stoll and Tom Izzo. Together, the faculty and coaches provide a dynamic and unique learning experience.
The three-day program focuses on helping attendees:
- Promote accountability and efficiency
- Encourage creativity and innovation
- Build a culture of shared values that promotes team performance and cohesiveness
- Diagnose the causes of conflict to better manage it
- Overcome resistance to change
- Leverage current skills and develop new ones