‘Greatness is a Grind,’ And Other Lessons Learned From NY Knicks’ Jeff Van Gundy 

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The pandemic may have put a serious crimp in Kevin LeGrett’s preferred method of communicating with his team at iHeartMedia—live, often and in person—but it didn’t stop the company’s president from keeping his team’s chemistry tight. All he had to do to adjust was remember the examples he drew from the two basketball coaches who influenced his life the most: Jeff Van Gundy at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, NY, and John Ward at St. John Fisher University, also in Rochester.

Long before he became a famous NBA coach with the New York Knicks and an analyst at ESPN, Jeff Van Gundy coached high school basketball and LeGrett was all the wiser and better-equipped to lead because of their relationship.

“Coach Van Gundy taught me a lot of things,” LeGrett explains in this week’s Corporate Competitor Podcast. “He told us if we were willing to put in the effort and do it the right way, we’re going to get one percent better over time. I learned that greatness is a grind. It was that simple.”

LeGrett recalls Ward as a great leader of people with great individual touch, “somebody who was able to adapt the players he had to work with to whatever situation he was in.” In LeGrett’s case, the pupil went on to become, himself, a master—both as a championship-caliber AAU basketball coach of his own son and the president of iHeartMedia Sports, which owns more than 850 full-power AM and FM radio stations, making it the largest radio station owner in the U.S. and a  top podcast network.

“We had the best plan I’ve ever had going into 2020,” recalled LeGrett. “And then Covid hit and the entire world changed. But you know, I may have put up some of the worst numbers I’ve ever had last year, but I sleep like a baby because of how much I grew as a leader.”

Listen to the Corporate Competitor Podcast. We promise you’ll grow as a leader. We hope you won’t sleep like a baby!

YOU WILL LEARN:

8:00 How to seek out advice properly

10:00 How to find your team’s “extra dimension.”

15:00 What happens when you focus on progress rather than perfection.

18:00 Why leaders should “talk to themselves … but not listen to themselves.”

21:30 The impact coaching basketball had on LeGrett.

25:15 How to relate to others like Coach K.

25:45 The three “sets” necessary to achieve Greatness.

29:00 How to develop your “cabinet” of people when you need advice.

35:00 What LeGrett learns from founder of MTV.

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.

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