Running Into the Wind: Bronco Mendenhall - 5 Strategies for Building a Successful Team

by Alyson Von Feldt, Paul Gustavson


Product Rating

HardcoverSKU 5081916


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Product Description

The Deseret Bookshelf version is enhanced with video.

There is no other collegiate football program in the world like the one found at Brigham Young University. None. Certainly that has much to do with the fact that the school is the largest religious university in the United States, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But perhaps there is an even more unique differentiator—a head football coach who is unwavering in his unorthodox style of mentoring, strengthening, teaching, and even recruiting his players. Bronco Mendenhall's coaching style is considered jaw-dropping by many and ludicrous to some. However, no one can overlook the success the Cougars have had. How does his team consistently win ten or more games year after year? What philosophy and practices did Bronco implement to create this sustained success?

One thing we know is that Bronco's system goes against the grain. He believes that "running into the wind" is an opportunity and is key to ultimately creating a sustained competitive advantage.

The first section, "On the Field," discusses the challenges Bronco has faced as the head coach, the principles and practices he learned to face those challenges, and the on-field applications and results. The second section, "In the Football Offices," looks deeper into Bronco's "system" and the business principles and tools of the "five smooth stones" that Bronco was taught by Paul Gustavson. Whether you're a coach or a leader, the organization strategies and models that Paul taught Bronco can be applied to any business or team. Simply, this section is where the coach of the coach will coach you, too.


Average rating

based upon 17 reviews
Powerful Principles Consistently Applied
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I've known of Paul's "Five Smooth Stones" for nearly 15 years, and in that span I have called upon them countless times to revitalize and align organizations of which I've been a part. While I am not at all suprised to see that BYU's recent football success is due in part to the application of these principles, it is nonetheless inspiring and heartening. It speaks to Broncho's humility as a leader, as well as Paul's immense capacity in his field, that these principles were so completely and thoroughly embraced and implemented. The story of how this was done is well worth anyone's time and effort.

Fantastic read!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about great leadership and organizational design through the example of Coach Mendenhall and the BYU football program. The concepts and principles I learned have spurred many new thoughts as to how I can more effectively lead and design my organization and team to achieve sustained success. These principles can be applied in any environment. I couldn't put the book down. I loved the experiences that were shared, both on and off the field...the challenges and the great success. And, great admiration and respect for Coach Mendenhall and his commitment to an even higher purpose. A truly fantastic read!

A must read for anyone interested in increasing performance-- even if you are not a football fan
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

If you are a football fan, it goes without saying - you will find this book a tremendous leadership and team resource using a metaphor you know well. I must admit that I am not a football fan--yet there is so much value in learning about Bronco's practical tools and profound "lessons learned" that I am here writing a recommendation you read it, even if you are one of the last to jump at "sports metaphors."

Why? In short, this book explains in clear terms what any business person seeks to do-increase performance. Section one takes you through Bronco's compelling story, giving you the context for understanding how the team has applied core principles about knowledge and learning to drive performance in an extremely competitive environment. Fascinating--especially since many would not guess that a football team would be such a great model for how any organization works. As a leader, Bronco is an inspiration to anyone like me, a CEO trying hard everyday to make the best decisions for the organization. Section two, explains the nuts and bolts of Gustavson's consulting work, in essence the roadmap that Bronco followed to achieve his results-an invaluable resource for any business person looking to expand their organizations ability to learn, grow and win!
Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

This is a great book
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I just finished reading this book and found it to be both interesting and informative. It provided me with great insights into the BYU football program that I would not have known or understood without the benefit of this book. I also enjoyed learning about the five strategies for building a successful team and can't wait to apply them to the groups I work with. Thank you Paul for a great book at a great price.

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

It has been my experience over the years that many business publications have a tendency to be rather dry and somewhat boring while they articulate important business principals. In contrast, I found Paul and Alyson’s book to be just the opposite.

They do a wonderful job of using sports metaphors to illustrate the business strategies and principals that have successfully been employed in some of the world’s largest and most prestigious business organizations – including the BYU football program. This, to me, makes Running into the Wind a FUN read - while simultaneously presenting important organizational learning’s to the reader.

The five stones, as Paul affectionally calls the five business principals he uses to design successful organizations around, are crucially important to any leader regardless of the size of their organization, or whether it is a family or business unit.

An added plus for me was to get to know Bronco on a more personalized manner and to learn about the quality of person Bronco actually is; especially in today’s world where many coaches and mentors appear not to be of this same caliber.

In essence, as a CEO, and as a member of a successfully functioning family unit, I strongly recommend “Running into the Wind” book to anyone in a leadership role – business or family – as an important and must read!

Richard Feller, MBA, Ph.D.

Big Return on Time Spent
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I guard my time because it is the most limited resource I have. This book was worth the time. I gained professional and personal insights that will benefit me for the rest of my life.

Interesting, Insightful, and Inspiring
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Paul and Alyson do a great job of capturing a wide array of audiences. This book is not just about football and business but about real life. It offers something for everyone. As an educator and a coach many of the concepts hit home for me. I enjoyed how the authors shared the stories and first hand experiences from the BYU football program and applied the principles from there, giving me an image or example of how it works. I like how they summed everything up towards the end of the book and helped me see how I can apply these principles personally in my own life and with my own team. I was eager to make sure to record in my journal the parts that interested me and inspired me and I found that by the end I had pages and pages of notes. As I read I also felt inspired to share certain parts of the book with friends and family. This book offered me great factual insight that I now feel confident I can apply into my own endeavors as a teacher and a coach. I feel empowered with new knowledge and am excited to incorporate the things I've learned.

Fabulous, enlightning, inspiring.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I purchased the book on Saturday and finished it on Wednesday. I couldn't put it down. It occupied all of my non-work and non-church service time. I wrote copius notes and received promptings about how I can apply its principles in my personal, family and professional life. I am anxious to implement the concepts taught into my daily routine.--Eric, Arizona

Great Insights from a Great Book!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

For almost twenty years, I've had the pleasure of working with and learning from Paul Gustavson. As I read Running Into the Wind: Bronco Mendenhall--5 Strategies for Building a Successful Team, Paul's words and wisdom continued to leap off the pages to me, one after another! Many of the lessons and insights in the book have been shared with me by Paul over the years, but the book does an outstanding job of providing clear, entertaining examples of the insights in use. For business leaders that need to understand how Paul's organization principles come together to create a desired culture and improved results, just read this book! For others, it's a great, inspiring read!

On an added note, I usually prefer to read a traditional book, but I was so excited to read Paul's book that I downloaded an e-copy before the hardbound copy arrived. What a terrific surprise to be able to link directly to the video's of Paul and Bronco discussing on stage the principles used to transform the BYU team! The experience added a new dimension to "reading" and demonstrated one of the book's principles at the same time. I encourage others to check out the multimedia experience of the e-version of Running Into the Wind: Bronco Mendenhall--5 Strategies for Building a Successful Team!

Loved it!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This book has not only been interesting, but very uplifting. Bronco is an amazing coach that really has raised the BYU team to higher expectations and spirituality. It’s been fun to read and learn how he’s done that. It’s caused me to look at my own life and pick out strategies that I can use in my own family. Thank you to Alyson and Paul for getting the story told!

About the Authors

Alyson Von Feldt

Alyson Von Feldt is a consultant and writer who has guided major organization design initiatives at enterprises ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. As a writer, she has developed robust tools and training programs that showcase and simplify powerful design techniques, and she has put to paper the stories of intriguing high-performing organizations. She founded Crimson Corporation with her husband, Doug, to help leaders transform their enterprises. She is a passionate BYU football fan and serves on the board of the Kansas City chapter of the BYU Alumni Association.

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Paul Gustavson

Paul Gustavson, a former BYU football player, has for more than three decades made an in-depth study of the strategies and design of high-performance teams and organizations. He received the prestigious BYU Marriott School of Management's William G. Dyer Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. Since founding his own company, Organization Planning and Design, Inc., Paul's consulting work has included national and international projects for Fortune 500 companies as well as over fifty startups, greenfield sites, and joint ventures. Paul's work has been featured in more than fifty books, company magazines, and periodicals.

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