Running Into the Wind: Bronco Mendenhall - 5 Strategies for Building a Successful Team
The Deseret Bookshelf version is enhanced with video.
Bronco Mendenhall is recognized as one of the best and most intriguing coaches in college football. When he took the helm of Brigham Young University football in 2005, he pulled a troubled team coming off three losing seasons into an era marked by 11 consecutive winning seasons. His teams averaged 9 wins a season and posted 5 top 25 finishes. He led the Cougars to a bowl game each year, winning more bowl games in that period of time than any other school but one. When the University of Virginia came knocking in 2015 offering Bronco the chance to revive its struggling program, he seized upon the challenge, and his move was one of the big surprise coaching appointments of the year.
How have Bronco’s teams consistently recorded winning seasons? What methods has Bronco relied on to create such sustained success? Bronco’s approach to coaching is described in Running into the Wind—the title a reference to his philosophies and practices that at times seem counter-cultural in the world of college football. The book details his unorthodox style of mentoring, strengthening, teaching, and even recruiting his players. It tells how he designed the football program at BYU around a clear football strategy and a set of values that emphasized hard work, accountability, faith, and family in order to create a sustained competitive advantage. It is the same approach he has now tailored for the Cavaliers.
The first section of the book, "On the Field," discusses the challenges Bronco faced as a new head coach at BYU, 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—labeled "five smooth stones"--that help create and sustain high performing teams and organizations, which Bronco learned from co-author Paul Gustavson and adapted to a football environment. Whether you're a coach or a leader, the organization strategies and models that Bronco uses can be applied to any business or team. Simply, this section is where the coach of the coach will coach you, too.
By Matt, 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.
By Justin, 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!
By A, 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!
By Ray, 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 Richard, 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.
By kreig, 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.
By Julie, 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.
By eric, 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
By Tom, 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!
By Kathy, 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!
By Emilee, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book was amazing! I gained an appreciation for Bronco Mendenhall and his leadership skills. Not only is he a leader, he is an inspirational teacher and coach who motivates his athletes to become better. Yes, this book is for the "sports guy," however, it is for ANYONE who wants success in life.
In this book, you will learn 5 strategies for building a successful team. One could apply his principles to work, school or church. There is always a need to build upon oneself. The amazing part about this book is that you get to learn more about Bronco and the difficulties he faced as head coach. You also learn more about Bronco's "system" and the principles and tools he learned from Paul Gustavson. I absolutely recommend this inspirational book to anyone that has a dream. Reach for your dreams and succeed.
By Nate, Submitted on 2015-02-25
When people ask me, "What does Paul Gustavson do?" I respond that he is an organizational design consultant. This answer inevitably leads to another question, "What does that mean?". Every time I get this question, I struggle with the answer. It is not easy to encapsulate what Paul does in just a few sentences--not because his work can't be described, but rather because his genius can be too easily understated.
Listing Paul's clients adds credibility to my assessment of Paul's genius (American Express, AT&T, BP, Exxon, GE, Pennzoil, Bristol Myers Squibb, Wells Fargo, eBay, NuSkin, Xerox, and Colgate Palmolive among others) but it doesn't get any closer to explaining what he does.
For those who want to understand what Paul Gustavson does and why some of the best companies in the world seek out his guidance, I no longer have to struggle with the answer. I will now just direct them to Running into the Wind, written by Paul Gustavson and Alyson Von Feldt.
The book is structured around Paul Gustavson's Five Smooth Stones, in reference to the stones that David, from the Old Testament, used to slay Goliath. Just learning what the stones are is worth the time spent reading the book. But thanks to Paul's unprecedented access to Coach Mendenhall and dozens of former BYU players, Paul walks us through the actual implementation of his five principles. The book seamlessly transitions from theory to application--we can see firsthand how Paul's principles, when implemented by a "Level 5 Leader" like Coach Mendenhall, lead to unprecedented consistency and success.
I cannot recommend the book highly enough for those fans who want an "inside look" at the BYU football program. But for me, the most intriguing aspect of the book is its widespread appeal and application. Learning Paul's principles has helped me become a better person and father. I believe that this book has something for everyone. The BYU football storyline is intriguing in its own right, but when combined with Paul's time-tested theories on leadership, I can confidently recommend this book to anyone, knowing that the principles that Paul teaches are applicable to all people.
By Cameron, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book gives you an inside perspective how Coach Mendenhall turned a team around from 3 consecutive loosing season. As a player on the team during this time I saw firsthand how the principles in this book led to us coming closer as a team and achieving more on and off the field. The principles shared in the book i've applied in my own life and business pursuits and would encourage everyone to read the book and apply them as well. The digital book also includes links to videos where Coach Mendenhall and Paul discuss the transformation process of the program which are extremely beneficial. A must read!
By Michael, Submitted on 2015-02-25
As someone who is enjoys BYU football, I thought this would be a fun read. Bronco's story of how he has transformed a stumbling football program into a highly successful operation is both insightful and inspiring. As a business leader, I found this book to be more entertaining and applicable than, The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.
If you are a business leader, parent, community leader, and/or coach who wants to improve your organization, family, or team - this is a must read!
Why? This book will help you:
1. Recognize what is unique about you and your organization
2. Understand how to align your resources to your strengths and uniqueness
3. Realize that your organization is perfectly designed to get the results you get
4. Identify what knowledge is most important for you and your organization
5. Capture hearts and minds!
Bottom line: This book teaches powerful principles using interesting stories and unexpected examples of leadership!
By mark, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Readers of Running Into the Wind will benefit on three levels. First, you will learn the remarkable story of Bronco Mendenhall, who has led and inspired the perennial Top Twenty BYU football program as head coach. You will learn the degree of commitment and drive necessary to accomplish great things at such a young age.
Second, readers will learn Paul Gustavson's 5 strategies for building successful teams. From his first weeks on the job as a fledgling head coach, and on an on-going basis, Bronco has engaged Paul as an organizational design consultant and diligently applied principles of strategy and organizational design to the task of building sustainable competitive advantage.
Finally, readers will benefit from the fruits of co-author Alyson Von Feldt's interviews with dozens of players, assistant coaches and peers who tell personal and often heart-felt stories about life under Bronco's leadership. Alyson is a truly gifted writer, and her presentation of anecdotes and accounts of the BYU football program are engaging and enlightening.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in more than just a good read -- there are principles and methods covered this book that we can all apply to our lives and work.
By Dave, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book does a superb job sharing the story of Bronco Mendenhall's success but also puts his success into a context. Bronco has brought his "band of brothers" philosophy into the BYU football program. He has based his insights on sound managerial principles. Paul has been a wonderful coach to the coach. He has helped Bronco adapt management principles to the football program to ensure sustained success. This book should appeal to BYU fans who want unique insights into the success of the BYU football program. It should also appeal to those interested in management practice as a blueprint for sustained organizational success
By stewart, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book tells a remarkable story - about how football and business principles were fused together to produce a great football program. A program based on sound design principles, excellent leadership, the diffusion of knowledge,a willingness to take a hard look at yourself and a strategy based on differentiation.
If you read this book, you will learn a remarkable set of principles, strategies, tactics and techniques which will help you replicate Bronco's success.
I highly recommend this book.