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Building Winning Teams Program – Coach Tom Anastos

By Terri Hughes-Lazzell

Tom Anastos knows ice hockey, and he knows business. In fact, the Michigan State University alumnus and head ice hockey coach has used his background as a player, coach, and businessman to motivate his Spartans on the ice.

He will share his team-building skills and methods of motivation with business executives as part of MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Building Winning Teams annual program, June 2–4.

“The key to building a successful program translates into people performing at a high level,” Anastos said. “We are a service business product here. We are looking for good people with the right skill set—the same as business looks for the right workers.”

Anastos has served as MSU’s head hockey coach since 2011. Previously, he was commissioner of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for 13 seasons.

Anastos said creating a winning hockey team is similar to building an effective business and much of it is based on a handful of basic tools:

  • Giving 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time
  • Individuals working within their skill set
  • Making sure the structure ensures processes that allow for success
  • Preparing with a positive mental approach

Anastos said an unprepared team—whether in sports or business—ultimately sees poor outcomes as a result.

“We focus on the process as opposed to the result,” he said. “If we’re doing the right things, then we will get that positive outcome.”

It’s the little things like working together that finally result in a winning team on the ice or in the office. All the preparation and building first starts with identifying the right people who understand that what’s best for the team or organization outweighs personal goals.

And that, in the long run, is a reflection of the leader. People can’t do their job if they don’t know what the leadership’s goals are or have a plan to follow.

“I’m the leader,” Anastos said. “The team members need to know my expectations.”

Anastos will present to attendees at this year’s Building Winning Teams, which features the Broad College’s prominent, award-winning faculty, along with other MSU coaches, including Suzy Merchant. Together, the faculty and coaches provide a distinctive learning experience.

The three-day program focuses on helping attendees to:

  • 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

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