The Guardian at the Gate

Building a culture has nothing to do with facilities. It has everything to do with whom you let into the building.

Sitting in the stands at Piedmont High School in Northern California, Jim Harbaugh declared he wanted to take the University of San Diego head football coaching job.

USD was a lower-level program with no facilities — seemingly beneath the level of a former NFL Pro Bowl quarterback. Yet, when Harbaugh was given the many reasons not to take the offer, he reminded everyone what he once learned from former San Francisco 49ers Coach Bill Walsh.

If you want to be a head coach, take a head coaching job. Don't worry about the facilities or the lack of funds. Great leaders can win. 

Harbaugh did win, in fact, and is now the head coach of the University of Michigan. 

Rand Pecknold, the head hockey coach of National Champion Quinnipiac University, probably had no idea what Walsh believed — but wanted to run a program and took a horrible job in 1994 to become a head coach.

Pecknold had no facilities at Quinnipiac, had to schedule ice times at midnight at the local rink, had no money for recruiting, and was paid under $7,000 annually to be the coach. He kept his day job of teaching high school to support his family.

But he didn't worry about what he didn't have; he only concerned himself with building a program inside out, not outside in. He concentrated on identifying the right talent who fit his larger vision. 

"We win because of our culture,” he said. “We have this phenomenal culture. We recruit high-character, high-hockey IQ kids that come in, and they’re very selfless. We play a really good team game. We’re very detailed. And that allows us to compete with the Michigans and Minnesotas of the world.”

In team building, there's an old saying: "You become what you want to become." 

Building a culture has nothing to do with facilities. It has everything to do with whom you let into the building.

Pecknold was the guardian at the gate. He only took players who fit his culture. When he started out 29 years ago, he never had to worry about attracting top talent; no one wanted to come to his small school in Connecticut anyway. 

Today, using the same recruiting structure, he turns players down who don't fit his program because he understands what he's built is more important than talent alone. Through his early struggles, Pecknold learned getting the right players is better than getting the most talented.    

Like Walsh or Harbaugh, a great leader like Pecknold isn't scared to take a bad coaching job because he/she knows finding the right players is easier when the perks and the money aren't available.

Prospects come to Quinnipiac to be better players, to improve their quality of life after hockey, and to be part of something bigger than themselves.  

Pecknold believed in his plan and his ability to execute it. He wasn't worried about the perception — he focused on the reality — and now he is holding the championship trophy. 

If you want to be a head coach or a leader in any capacity, take the challenge.

And remember, build the team you want, not the team others think you need.      

Hottest stock ideas delivered every morning

Before the market opens, their experts have already found the 3 stocks they think have the best potential to make the biggest moves – stocks that you’ll see everyone else talking about – tomorrow!

This email is like a little gift 🎁in your morning inbox, you can get the full details on the top 3 juiciest stocks on our radar - in less than 3 minutes.

Cut through the meaningless news and get right to what is most important!

Over 100,000 people rely on 360 Wall Street to make better-informed decisions.

Best of all... there is absolutely no cost to join!