Marva Sadler: Growing Up Too Fast And Making Sense

BYW 30 | Making Sense


Are you someone who is driven to solve problems and resolve challenging or complex situations and you often find yourself helping people get unstuck and move progress, your WHY is of making sense. And one with such a purpose is Marva Sadler, COO of She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 20 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching. In this episode, she talks about how childhood experience can shape one’s WHYs and shares the perspective of a middle child who developed a unique ability to find solutions quickly and the gift for articulating and summarizing them clearly in understandable language. She also gives us an overview on how their platform allow enterprises to find great coaches and help coaches manage their coaching projects. If you are passionate about making sense out of a situation and developing simple solutions, this is an episode you don’t want to miss!

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Marva Sadler: Growing Up Too Fast And Making Sense

In this episode, we are going to be talking about the Why of Make Sense, to make sense out of things, especially if they are complex and complicated. If this is your why, then you were driven to solve problems and resolve challenging and complex situations. You have an uncanny ability to take in lots of data and information. You tend to observe situations and circumstances around you and sort through them to quickly create solutions that are sensible and easy to implement.

You are often viewed as an expert because of your unique ability to find solutions quickly. You also have a gift for articulating solutions and summarizing them clearly in an understandable language. You believe that many people are stuck and that if they could just make sense out of their situation, they could develop simple solutions and move forward. In essence, you help people get unstuck and move forward. I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Marva Sadler. She is the COO of She joined the organization in September of 2021 when the company acquired WBECS, where she was CEO.

She is an experienced business executive and consultant with many years of leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to midsize organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development, and executive coaching. Prior to joining WBECS, Marva held executive management positions like CVP, CFO, and CEO in large organizations, including Franklin Covey and AchieveGlobal.

Marva also has substantial experience across a variety of industries, leading small private organizations through startup and turnaround efforts, including positions as CEO of Veracity Solutions, a software development consulting firm, President of Hoggan Health Industries, a commercial fitness equipment manufacturer, and Chief Operating Officer of eLeaderTech, a startup software firm.

She began her career in strategy consulting with international strategy firm Marakon Associates and Bain & Company. She has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, primarily single moms, and as a board member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. Marva, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Gary. You make me sound much better than I deserve.

That was a mouthful. That tells us that you have done an awful lot in your career so far.

It’s, in part, tied to my why, interestingly.

It’s funny when I was going through your bio there. The positions that you’ve held are all perfect for somebody who has the why of makes sense. That’s why people bring you in. Make sense of this thing and then move forward.

If anybody else picked up on it, I tend to have a little bit of a career ADD. You will notice that there are a lot of different positions in a lot of different industries doing different things because I’m driven by problem-solving. My passion is about, “Let me go find a new problem that I haven’t solved yet.” I’m always drawn to complex problems. If I haven’t solved it yet, it probably means it’s because in an industry I haven’t been in, if I haven’t seen it yet, it’s because it’s a whole new thing.

For those of you that are familiar with the Why OS, the why, how, and what, Marva’s why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. How she does that is by making things simple and easy to understand. Ultimately, what she brings is a way to contribute, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. How does that feel to you, Marva?

You're killing yourself by working long hours because you're stressing your body so much that it's in complete rejection of everything. Click To Tweet

It feels dead on. I had a friend once when I was at AchieveGlobal. There was an executive meeting I couldn’t attend. She said, “It’s okay, Marva. We will just get a little Marva bubble head doll and set her up on the table. Every five minutes or so, we will pop the head of the bubble doll and say, ‘We need to simplify.'”

Let’s go back to your life now. Take us back to when you were in high school. Where did you grow up? Tell us what you were like in high school. Were people always coming to you as someone to help them with their issues?

No. It’s more of I was going to people to help them with their issues. I will give you a little bit of background that is relevant. I grew up in Utah. That’s already going to create images for people. It’s a pretty conservative state. It has a very hierarchical, prevailing religion, which says, or at least said when I was in high school, “Women should be homemakers and mothers,” and that’s our ultimate responsibility in life.

I had a woman in my neighborhood, the mother of one of my friends, who told me when I was about eighteen that I could go on an LDS mission if I wanted to when I turned 21 but I needed to understand that it would be because I’d already failed at my real mission in life, which was to get married and have children. That was the environment I grew up in. I was, by nature, a bit of a rebel. I thought, “I didn’t get this brain so I could just raise kids and be a baby factory.” I realized that’s a pretty strong statement.

I also came from a family of eight kids. I was number six. I had this very strong need to be seen by my parents because when you are a number 6 out of 8, you are in the middle of the crowd. You are not old enough to have been interesting in the beginning and not young enough to get the attention of being the youngest. My response to that was if there were something that I thought I could excel in, I would go after it because I was looking for something that I could do and excel at, that my parents would go, “Wow.”

Unfortunately, my mother was of Danish origin. Scandinavians basically never say, “Wow.” They always say, “Someone else could have done that.” I would come to her and say I just did and fill in the blank, “I became a National Merit finalist.” Her answer would be, “Your sister already did that.” “I got this big scholarship.” “Your brother already did that.” I kept racking up new things that I would try like debate championships and all kinds of things, trying to find something that one of my siblings hadn’t already done. I admit freely that this obsessive need to excel was based on the fact that I was number 6 out of 8. A lot of my energy went into that.

When you were even younger, say 5, 6 or 7, were you in a position where you had to grow up fast and be more of an adult at a young age?

Absolutely. There was a six-year gap between my next older sister and me, and a six-year gap between my next younger sister and me. My dad got very sick when I was about three. My mom had to go to work to support the family. She would drop me off at the babysitter every day. My siblings did not pick me up after school. They were busy with all their own things. I was at the babysitter until my mother could finally come and get me. It caused a real strong drive for independence on my part. I won’t go into all the details. There were a number of situations where, even at a very young age, I had to rescue myself.

One of the simpler examples was I didn’t like the babysitter because her little boy beat up on me up every day. I was about three. One day, I begged my mother to let me walk to the babysitter because I wanted some time and attention. She was in a hurry, so she tossed me in the car and got in, and I opened the door, and she drove off. I fell off, and she ran over me. She broke my arm. The tire ran over the upper part of my arm and broke my arm. I was lucky it didn’t hit my head. That would have been the end. I ended up with this cast on my arm.

When I went back to the babysitter a few days later, this little boy started beating up on me again. I had complained to the babysitter, and that hadn’t worked. I complained to my mother, and she told me to deal with it. When that task got hard enough, he beat up on me, and I whacked him across the head with that cast. I did that until he left me alone. That was the beginning of me recognizing, “I’m going to have to get myself out of whatever the situations are.” That would be my version of I grew up fast and came to rely on myself very early.

That is interesting because that’s very common. It’s the same story with everybody that has the why of makes sense. I was wondering about it because when you told me where and how you grew up, typically, I will see that scenario play out as one of the parents was a mess and the child had to grow up fast to be the protector of the rest of the family. I was curious how that was going to play out with you. You surprised me because I thought maybe it wasn’t going to play out that way but you did have to do the same thing. You were the one that you had to protect.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: Our job is to be the marketplace that brings the two together. We give you access to a lot of great assessments, products, and education so that you can continue to develop your skills.


Let me tell you the rest of the story. I got these 5 older siblings and 2 younger siblings. My mother was 45 when my youngest sister was born. She was done before I was born. She was just done. My dad was 51 when my youngest sister was born. They got to a point where he was off doing consulting work for Armco Steel. He would take my mother with him. As soon as I got to the point where I could drive, I became the surrogate parent for my two little sisters. They would leave us for weeks at a time.

They would leave me with grocery money, tell me to behave myself, and make sure the girls got up, got to school, came home, and were fed. I would take care of them for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. My parents would come back, wave, say hello, and disappear again. That went on through college. My one younger sister, she and my mom didn’t get along. I would go home every weekend when I was in college just to take the pressure off my little sister. When I moved away after graduate school, I invited her to come to live with me for a while so that we could break that cycle and she could gain some independence and learn to do some things on her own.

I remember my older siblings. When my little sister went on an LDS mission, we all congregated to hear her say her farewell. One of my sisters came up to me and said, “I thought you were a selfish witch to ask her to be your nanny because I thought you were doing it entirely for yourself so that you would have cheap childcare. I now realize that wasn’t your motivation at all. You were trying to get her out of a bad situation so that she could change the way she felt about herself. Look at what you’ve done. She’s now ready to fly.” I find it sad that my family would have that attitude about me, that I would be that selfish. My little sister doesn’t feel that way about me. I guess it’s okay.

I can imagine that even way back when you were good at what you did, were very capable, and had a high capacity because that’s right in line with the why of make sense. Other people can look at that and think, “She thinks she knows it all. She thinks she’s all this.” You were forced into that situation.

I leaned into it. There must have been something in my nature, to begin with, that caused me to find that as my solution and problem solving instead of withdrawing or being a victim. I chose that way to deal with it.

Where did you go to college? You went to BYU, right?

I went to BYU for both my undergraduate and graduate degree.

You got your undergrad at BYU. What was your graduate degree?

I got my undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to be the next Woodward or Bernstein. I loved journalism and broadcasting. I thought I was going to be a famous TV news anchor. I then fell in love with radio and realized that radio had the benefit of anonymity but also a lot more creativity. I wrote documentaries for a radio station for about a year and a half in New York City. I went back to graduate school thinking I would become a business journalist because business journalism was a big deal.

I figured that’s how I could make money. I fell in love with the business. I thought, “Where have you been in my life?” The world makes sense to me. It seemed like a whole series of problem-solving that I could use. Instead of just reporting about businesses and the problems they were having, I could get involved and solve the problems that they were having. I found it that much more interesting.

Did you start a business or did you become a business consultant?

Training is the poor cousin to coaching. Those of us who were in the training business knew that coaching could eat us for lunch any day because the results were better. Click To Tweet

I became a Strategy Consultant with Bain & Company. I got recruited by the famous Mitt Romney himself right out of grad school.

What was that like for you?

It was a mixture of heaven and hell. From an intellectual perspective, it was fabulous. I interacted every day with the smartest people on the planet who were driven the way I was to solve problems, find simplicity, understand patterns, and find solutions. From that perspective, it was amazing. From the human perspective, it was tough.

I was the first female consultant who had children because, by the time I got out of graduate school, I had one child. I had him right after I finished graduate school. I then stayed and taught for a year while my husband finished his undergraduate. By the time I was done with that, I had two kids. I started as a strategy consultant with two children, which was unheard of for a female. From a personal perspective, it was hard.

To give you an idea, this was back in the early ’80s. I had a manager who finally came to me one day and said, “Marva, you are better than getting experience.” He said, “I tried to put you on a project that I thought you would be good at. The managing director wouldn’t let me do it because he said you are not allowed to travel.” I said, “What?” He said, “He’s made this decision because you have kids, you shouldn’t ever travel. You’re never going to get on a project that takes you away from home.” Being me, I walked down to the managing director’s office, knocked on his door, and said, “Can I have a minute of your time?” He was a little surprised to see me. He then invited me in.

I stood there in his office and said, “I understand you’ve made a decision about the direction of my career and that you’ve decided that because I’m a mother, I can’t travel.” He said, “I was doing you a favor.” I said, “No, you weren’t. You are killing my career. It’s none of your business. I have the right to make that decision for myself. It is not your decision to make.” I literally used those words.

He stood there and said, “I was trying to do you a favor.” I said, “That is not a favor. You have put me on the mommy track. It’s not your decision to make. I would appreciate it if you would withdraw that restriction.” In retaliation, he put me on a project that he thought was going to take me to France. I went but it was a turning point in my career because I was no longer on that mommy track. I was headed towards failure. I wasn’t willing to accept that.

You weren’t getting valued for who you were but held back because you had kids.

It was my decision to make. It was my problem to solve. It was not something that I needed somebody else to solve for me.

You were there for how long?

I was there for almost five years.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: A better way to scale coaching is to take the administrivia out of the coaching so that coaches could spend more of their time coaching and less of their time in all the administration and management functions of coaching.


Where did you go? Keep us going on your path.

I then took a leave of absence because I was pregnant with my third child and had some complications. I couldn’t work for a while. At that time, my husband was working for NYNEX, which was one of the big Baby Bells that then became Verizon. He was working there with an international development group. He got transferred to White Plains, New York. We moved to New York.

I took a long bit of a sabbatical and went back to work for a strategy firm called Marakon Associates, which were the inventors of value-based management, which was the marriage of strategy with financial parameters. The idea was that you could create long-term strategies based on projected cashflows. You could understand what the drivers were of a business by understanding what created cashflows because the value is all created in cashflow, not in revenue or profits.

It was a very new concept at that time.

It was a pretty new concept. The reason they were interested in me is that they wanted to understand how Bain did strategy work. They only did financial strategy work at the time. I had been a Manager at Bain on my way towards partner when I left. I joined Marakon as a Manager and helped them understand how you could apply these financial rules to developing strategies. It was a lot of fun. I got a reputation of being the person who would take brand new projects nobody had ever heard of and figure out how to turn them into a solution that we could then replicate and that we could use the new concept that had been developed to sell to another client.

That didn’t surprise me at all. You were there for how long?

I was there for three and a half years.

After that, where did you go?

I then had a personal epiphany. I was living in New York in the Hudson River Valley. I developed some symptoms that looked very much like multiple sclerosis. I was losing feeling in my hands and feet. I was losing sight in one eye. I had some pretty serious health problems. I went to a neurologist who told me I had MS. He said, “It’s chronic, progressive, and debilitating. You will be in a wheelchair and die. I suggest you try to figure out how you are going to take care of your kids.”

I wouldn’t accept that. I thought, “At least maybe I can slow it down if I take care of some of the other issues I have.” I went to see a good allergist who said, “The good news is you don’t have multiple sclerosis. The bad news is you are killing yourself because you’ve stressed your body so much, working twenty-hour days for so long that your body is in complete rejection of everything. You are going to have to change your eating, lifestyle, where you live, and everything else but I can make you healthy again.”

I got to where I was doing a lot better. I thought I was going to tough it out. It turned out that one of my kids got very sick from a spider bite. Once he was out of the hospital, I took him to see this allergist. The allergist looked at me after he tested him. He said, “If you won’t get out of here for yourself, get out of here for your kids because they’ve got the same issues. You need to go someplace that freezes hard in the winter and doesn’t have mold in the air.” He had a couple of other stipulations. We then moved back to Utah.

If your WHY is making sense, you’ll have a tendency to give advice more than you should. Click To Tweet

We moved back to Utah partly to take care of my parents because I took care of my sisters. I’m the caregiver. We went back to take care of my parents. I started a PhD program in Finance at the University of Utah and realized I was not cut out to be an academic. I had professors who would talk about these theories and then go, “We are PhDs. We don’t need to use them. Those stupid MBAs would ask how would I use this theory but as PhDs, we just need to know it’s a theory.” I raised my hand one day and said, “I’ve used that theory.” The professor said, “Really? Somebody uses this crap?” I thought, “I don’t belong here.” I went back to consulting for IBM.

You took a step back to consulting for IBM. How was that for you?

It was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of the world. I ran a program to teach IBM executives in the Asia Pacific how to do services consulting instead of how to sell boxes. I got to see a lot of Asia. I then took it around to the ISSC, the services corporation that was a division inside the US. From there, I did a couple of other things. My husband and I bought a historic Woolen Mill in Northern Utah and brought it back into operation.

Why would you do that?

It was something he wanted to do. I realized that he wasn’t going to be able to do it without my operational knowledge. We did that for about five years.

Did you eventually get into coaching?

I eventually went back to work as a Finance Director for what became AchieveGlobal, then became the CFO at AchieveGlobal. From AchieveGlobal, I went to Franklin Covey as an Executive Vice President. Training is the poor cousin to coaching. Those of us who were in the training business knew that coaching could eat us for lunch any day because the results were better. That’s how I got from training into professional services and by way of a couple of detours. That’s where my background came from that I ended up in coaching.

Were you ever a coach? Were you out coaching other people or mainly working with groups of coaches?

I have never been a coach. I tell people I’m much more of a consultant than a coach. I don’t have formal coach training. I have done a lot of small business consulting in my time where I take the entrepreneur or the small team and help them think through how to think about their business differently. A lot of that ends up being leadership coaching but I’m not going to call myself a coach because I don’t have that classic training. Given my why, I have a tendency to give advice more than I should.

From WBECS, you got to as they got bought out. I don’t know if you remember what I said to you way back years ago now when we were talking. It was before all the dot-com happened.

It was in the midst of trying to sell the company but I couldn’t tell you that at the time.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: Does it need to be said, does it need to be said by you, because as the leader, they’re all going to have to agree with you. And even if it needs to be said, does it need to be said in that public forum, or is there some other way that you could have that conversation with an individual?


You were the CEO but whoever gets you is going to be awfully lucky because you are that person that’s going to help them solve all. You can take in much stuff and simplify it down to where it’s useful so that it can have an impact on their lives. It shows up everywhere in your life from the time you were twelve years old or younger, even.

Maybe younger. It’s a theme.

You have been coaching since you were the mother to your two sisters because of what you did for them. You coached them through a lot of stuff.

My little sister was saying something to me. She was asking me something about childhood. I had said, “I went to the babysitter for years. Nobody would come and pick me up.” She said, “My family would never have done that to me.” She looked at me and said, “That’s because you are my family.” I said, “It’s because I knew what it felt like. I would never desert you like that or leave you to your own devices.”

Are your parents still alive?

No. Do you think I would have said those things if they were still alive? I was responsible for taking care of my parents for almost twenty years. I didn’t live with them but I lived around the corner from them so that I could pay attention to them for several years. My dad got sick, and we worked through that. I had to put my mom in an assisted living center. I was responsible all that time. Once my mom died, I took over the financial responsibility for my oldest sister and did that for about ten years before she passed away.

Here’s a question I have. Have you ever had a time in your life when life was easy, where it wasn’t a whole lot of stuff coming at you all the time? Has that ever happened?

Does that ever happen to anybody, honestly?

I think so. You’ve probably had opportunities where things could have slowed down but then, “I decided I was going to get my PhD.” You take on massive things, not just like, “I will learn how to knit,” or something. It’s more like, “I’m going to go get my PhD. I will consult with IBM.” Those are not minor little excursions for most people.

Those are direct, intentional choices that I’m making. I will give you an example of what I do in my spare time. I watched a YouTube video and learned how to create a drip irrigation system for my flower beds because it has been hot here in the Columbia River Gorge where I live. I bought this stuff. Every night, I build 1 irrigation system for 1 of my flower beds. I then called a mulch company and had them deliver 7 cubic yards of tree bark. Once I build the irrigation system, then I put the tree bark down.

That’s what I do for recreation. It’s a choice that I’m making. Quite honestly, I don’t know what to do with my time if I’m not doing something interesting and challenging where I’m learning something new. That, to me, is boring. My youngest son said to me, “Mom, you have two gears, neutral and overdrive. You are either in complete overdrive where you are going or sitting very quietly reading something, doing nothing. You don’t have anything in between.” is not in the business of brokering specific coaches. We're in the business of matchmaking. Click To Tweet

Tell us about It bought out WBECS. How are they different? We have a lot of coaches that read but for those people that don’t know, tell us what WBECS and were.

WBECS was known for the World Business & Executive Coach Summit, an annual free summit that we run for three weeks in June 2022, which features the world’s best coaching and leadership thought leaders. This 2022, Susan David was one of our headliners. Susan David is considered one of the Top 10 Thinkers in the world now. We attract some pretty impressive people. Last 2021, our headliner was Adam Grant. I measure my success by whether my children have ever heard of these people. My daughter, I had dinner with her.

She was shrugging over Ray Dalio because Ray Dalio was also one of our headliners. She was like, “I’ve never heard of him.” She’s a doctor, so she doesn’t care about business. When I got to Susan David, she knew who Susan David was. When I got to Adam Grant, she was impressed. I thought, “I’ve succeeded. My daughter is impressed with something that I’ve done.” That’s what WBECS is most famous for. We have a database of about 100,000 coaches, primarily independent solopreneurs and in the business leadership executive coaching arena. We also run high-end educational programs that we run live and virtual globally.

We’ve had people from 140 countries take our programs with thought leaders like David Peterson or David Drake, who are well known in coaching for being independent, creative, and innovative, thought leaders in areas of coaching. That’s what we are known for. It’s this business-to-coach orientation with this great database of coaches and educational content. is a software platform. Their primary focus has always been on creating a coach management system for large enterprises that have big coaching projects to be able to manage those coaching projects in a way where they can track and manage the coaches, coaching sessions, and the feedback. They can do all that. They were very good at technology and software.

WBECS was very good at education and marketing. We put the two together so that we could have a two-sided ecosystem with the emphasis from on the enterprises and the emphasis from WBECS on the coaches to try to persuade the coaches to get on the coach version of the platform so that the enterprises could access these great coaches. Enterprises are always asking, “Is there an easier way for us to find coaches for our executives? Is there a way for us to find qualified coaches that we don’t have to go and contract with them individually or whatever?”

We are a little bit better than a lot of people compare us to or ASAP. We are neutral. We are not trying to tell the coach how to coach, what to coach, how to price or what kind of coaching to do. We are saying, “Put yourself on the platform and tell people what your specialty is.” With the enterprises, we are saying, “Go and find the coach you want to find, either contract with them directly or through a coaching company that represents a group of coaches.” Our job is to be the marketplace that brings the two together.

We are never going to take sides around which methodology you should use or what training you should get. We are going to say, “We are going to give you access to a lot of great assessments, products, and education so that you can continue to develop your skills.” For the enterprises, they can say what their criteria are, and the coaches can meet those criteria. We are not in the business of brokering specific coaches. We are in the business of matchmaking. It’s like a dating platform for the coaching and the people who use coaching. Everything that we’ve done since then has been to build on that business model.

We are now in the midst of creating partnerships with organizations that have things that are very useful to the coaches, enterprises or users of coaching so that we can create a closed system. By getting the education or the certification, the coach also becomes part of the platform. They can sell their coaching based on the fact that they are certified to do that coaching.

We are trying to find a way to create more of a marketplace for coaches. At WBECS, our mission was to raise the global standard of coaching. One of the ways that you have to do that is to create opportunities for coaches to get better at coaching but also create opportunities for coaches to do more coaching so that they can get better and get paid for what they do.

You are speaking my language. That is for sure. has been around for how long?

Marshall Goldsmith said “Ask yourself the questions: Does it need to be said? Do you need to say it? Does it need to be said now?” Click To Tweet started in 2012 as Coach Logics, Inc. Alex Pascal, the Owner, and CEO was a PhD IO Psychologist. He worked for the Center for Creative Leadership, CCL. He had this notion that there were better ways to scale coaching to take the administrivia out of the coaching so that coaches could spend more of their time coaching and less of their time in all the administration and management functions of coaching. That’s what the platform is intended to do. It’s to streamline all that and make the connections to the people they coach much easier to manage so that they can become much more effective coaches and spend a higher proportion of their time coaching.

For those coaches that are reading, head over to and take a look at it.

It’s because the first level of use of the platform is completely free. They can have access to scheduling, feedback, calendaring, and even a paywall. They can have access to all of that and not pay anything to be on the platform. They can put up their profiles so that they can be viewed by the enterprise clients within a month or so by external people looking for coaches. They can learn a lot from our marketplace.

The first step is free. They get access to all the stuff to help them run their business. If they want more, they can get into the education, certification, and different areas to help them grow and be able to offer more. I got one last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice ever given to you?

The best piece of advice that was ever given to me was given to a lot of people, not just me. Marshall Goldsmith said, “Ask yourself the question, ‘Does it need to be said? Do you need to say it? Does it need to be said now?'” Since I’m a person who has a tendency to be a know-it-all and want to give the solution and frequently see the solution before other people see it, I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, although I’m pretty sure it sounds pretty arrogant.

As a leader, it’s easy for me to just jump in and solve the problem for people. I have those questions up where I can see them. If people can get to the answer themselves, even if it’s not exactly what the answer would be that I would get to, it’s more powerful for them. They learn more. It’s easier for them to implement. We get more creativity out of the group if I don’t step in and give them the answer.

I try to remember that. “Does it need to be said by me?” It’s because, as the leader, they are all going to have to agree with me. “Even if it needs to be said, and by me, does it need to be said in this public forum? Is there some other way I could have that conversation with an individual?” That is probably the best advice that I’ve received that I use on a regular basis.

That was super helpful because that’s a big challenge. Everybody with the why of makes sense said what you just said right there, “They are way ahead of the rest of us. You have to dumb yourself down to let us catch up.” What happened to you when you didn’t follow that series of questions or ignored that?

Mostly, I feel bad because it shuts down the conversation. It shuts down creativity. It ends the development of the individuals. I’m dedicated to people’s professional development. I disappoint myself because I cut off avenues to growth. Frequently, if I give the answer, it takes us longer to get there because anybody who has a different answer, feels like they have to justify a different answer because they are now combating the person that’s the leader instead of just offering an idea.

It’s fascinating because people with the why of making sense are so capable, have a such high capacity, are so fast, and good at doing almost anything that people stop doing what they can do and leave it for you to do because you are going to do it better and faster anyway. You then become the bottleneck. Your capacity becomes the level at which we can grow.

It’s because people are all waiting for me to give them an answer. The way to solve that is to quit giving answers and start saying, “I trust you. What do you think? You are more of an expert in this area than I am. What is your recommendation?” Handing it back to people is one of the hardest things I do every day.

As a leader, people are all waiting for you to give an answer. But the way to solve that is to quit giving answers, start showing trust in your team’s expertise and ask for their recommendations. Click To Tweet

I can imagine because we had somebody on our team with your why. He was so good at everything that I ended up finally watching him. I just sit and watch him like, “You do it because you are going to do it better, faster, quicker, and easier than I am.” He ended up becoming the bottleneck. We ended up having to part ways because we could only grow as fast as he had capacity.

If I can help other people get to where they contribute and somehow spread that, then my influence is significantly greater than if I’m the one that’s making all the decisions or taking all the actions.

I have been looking forward to our conversation for a long time because we talked long before about doing this. It’s taken us a while to get into it but had I not known your Why OS? If I had seen your picture, let’s say I’m looking through LinkedIn and, “There’s Marva Sadler right there. There’s your picture.” Could I tell from your picture, bio or anything that you have available to me any of this stuff about you? Is there any way I would have known just looking at your picture?

From the bio, probably yes. Looking at my picture, that’s a pretty deceptive picture. It’s probably the one picture I’ve ever had taken of me where I look like I’m having a good time because I always look like I don’t trust the camera.

It’s fascinating because even though I knew your why of make sense, I was curious to see how it all is played out. It makes total sense now that I know your history and how you grew up. I learned a lot more and our audience as well. No way I would have been able to tell that from your picture or probably even if I watched a video of you speaking somewhere. It would be very challenging. Now that I know, it makes communicating, connecting, and understanding you so much easier.

Frankly, if you had laid out the whys in front of me and said, “Pick which one is you,” I’m not sure if I would have been able to accurately say, “This one is me. This is my how.” As soon as I read the descriptions after I had taken the test, I was like, “That makes a lot of sense.”

Marva, if there are people that want to connect with you, follow you, or follow, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

They can certainly find me on LinkedIn. That’s probably the easiest way. They can also find on LinkedIn. They are also welcome to email me. I don’t always get back right away but I try to answer emails regularly. It’s simple. It’s

Marva, thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to staying in touch and working with you guys because you got a great organization there. It’s growing leaps and bounds now.

We are on the fast track. It’s so exciting. There are so many things that we are doing that the merger created the ability for us to take paths that neither one of us could have taken on our own.

That’s awesome. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you.


Important Links

About Marva Sadler

BYW 30 | Making SenseMs. Sadler is COO of She joined the organization in September 2021 when the company acquired WBECS, where she was CEO. She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 20 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching. Prior to joining WBECS, Ms. Sadler held executive management positions (EVP, CFO, and CEO) in large organizations, including Franklin Covey, and Achieve Global, Ms. Sadler also has substantial experience across a variety of industries, leading small, private organizations through start-up and turnaround efforts, including positions as CEO of Veracity Solutions, Inc., a software development consulting firm, President of Hoggan Health Industries, a commercial fitness equipment manufacturer, and Chief Operating Officer of eLeaderTech, a start-up software firm. She began her career in strategy consulting with international strategy firms Marakon Associates, and Bain and Co. She has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, primarily single moms, and as a Board Member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. Ms. Sadler is a certified Theory of Constraints Jonah.





What It Takes To Be A Good Coach: On Leadership And Culture With Jamy Bechler

BYW 34 | Good Coach


Jamy Bechler believes that it is a coach’s responsibility to help and inspire their people to be the best they can be. They can only do that when they learn how to step outside of themselves and see where others are coming from. This separates the good coach and leader from the rest. An author, motivational speaker, leadership consultant, and host of the popular “Success is a Choice” podcast, Jamy fulfills his why of “makes sense” by seeking to find better ways to solve problems and get something that makes sense and useful.

With a background as a championship athletic director, award-winning college basketball coach, and business consultant, he works with high-level sports teams and businesses helping them maximize results. In this episode, he joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to discuss what he sees are the differences between winning and losing programs. He shares his understanding of what a good coach and leader are, all the while highlighting the importance of leadership, culture, and teamwork.

If you’re looking to step up your game as a coach as well as uplift others and build that bond with them, then join in on this conversation and allow Jamy’s insights and process to guide you.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

What It Takes To Be A Good Coach: On Leadership And Culture With Jamy Bechler

If you’re a regular reader, you know that we talk about 1 of the 9 why’s and then we bring on somebody with that why so we can see how their why has played out in their life. We are going to be talking about the why of makes sense. If this is your why, you are driven to solve problems and resolve challenging or complex situations, you have an uncanny ability to take in lots of data and information, observe situations and circumstances around you, and sort through them in order to create order. You consider factors, problems, concepts, and organize them into solutions that are sensible and easy to implement.

It is not even that you enjoy problem-solving necessarily. You simply can’t help yourself. It is the lens through which you view the world. Interestingly, it is not necessary for you to share your solutions on a continuous basis. It is sufficient that you yourself have solved the problem or resolve the complexity of the situation. Often you are viewed as an expert because of your unique ability to find solutions quickly. You also have a gift for articulating a solution and summarizing it clearly in understandable language for your benefit and the benefit of others. You believe that many people are stuck. If they could make sense out of their situation, they could find a simple solution and move forward. You help them understand and see their way through.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Jamy Bechler. He is an author, motivational speaker, leadership consultant, and host of the popular Success is a Choice podcast. With a background as a championship athletic director, award-winning college basketball coach, and business consultant, he works with high-level sports teams and businesses helping them maximize results. He is recognized as an expert in leadership, culture, and teamwork.

Jamy, welcome to the show.

That was a mouthful. I appreciate the great introduction, Gary. Thanks for having me. I listened to that why and I’m like, “That’s a lot to live up to. Someone that’s solving stuff or make sense of the world that we live in sometimes.” As a motivational speaker, I’m not sure I motivate all the time. Saying a motivational speaker, that’s like someone introducing you as a comedian. “Say something funny, funny guy.”

Jamy, take us through your life. How did you get into coaching? Were you an athlete yourself? Did you play sports? Give us a little bit of a tour of your life.

I was a stereotypical kid athlete that played every sport. I went to camps. I did every sport possible because we didn’t have iPhones. We had a black and white TV until probably I was in high school, which is crazy with the three channels and then PBS. Younger people don’t even know what I’m talking about. We had to stay outside, so we played sports all the time.

There's always a baseline of competence in talent. Click To Tweet

Where’d you grow up?

I grew up in Michigan. Even in the wintertime, we’re shoveling snow off the cement in front of our house to shoot hoops. Eventually, my dad built this pole barn and he put this basketball rim in there. It was a little bit shorter. It was only 9’6”. A lot of us were able to dunk on that. All winter long, we’d be inside with this little space heater but it was great. We’d shoot. You had to know the right angle to shoot the ball, so it didn’t get stuck in the rafters. It wasn’t a big enough barn where you could put a lot of arc on it. The point is, we were always playing sports. We were always doing something. I’ve read this book in seventh grade.

Before getting into high school, at seventh grade, I’m in English class and my dreaded English teacher, Mrs. Shannon, who I thought was the devil, did one good thing in my life. She had this library in the corner of her room and we could check out books. There was a John Wooden book, the great legendary basketball coach from UCLA. There was this book called They Call Me Coach. I read this book as a seventh-grader. I would love to say that I was this mature seventh-grader that said, “One day, I want to be a coach like John Wooden. I want to be the guy that helps people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a benchwarmer or you’re a star player. I’m going to be the coach that loves you.”

I wasn’t that mature but I read it. I was like, “I want to have a coach like that.” I recognize that there are good coaches and there are bad coaches. I want a coach like John Wooden that loves me, even if I make a turnover or a shot. That was the first time I thought that there was a difference between coaches that there was good coaches and bad coaches, good qualities and bad qualities. I got a little bit older. I realized I probably wasn’t going to go to the NBA. I started thinking more about coaching.

As I got into college, I went from being a star athlete in high school to my best friend who was the water cooler and the athletic trainer. I started to look at basketball a little bit differently. I started to look at the whole forest and not just my tree because I wasn’t playing very much. A lot of people will be bitter, be mad, or be a victim. I started looking at it from the perspective of, “I’m not playing much but I want to be a coach. I know my career is not to play, so I want to be a coach. I want to soak in as much of this as possible.” I was a good athlete and a bad athlete at times.

I became a coach for about twenty years. I was Coach of the Year. I was a good coach. I was also fired. I also had losing seasons. I also have some players that hate my guts. I also have players that we still keep in touch with. I had some ups and downs as a coach is. We’ll get into what I’m doing in a little bit. That’s helped me because I’ve traveled by plane. I’ve traveled first class. I’ve had programs with big budgets. I’ve coached at all different levels. I’ve also driven fifteen-passenger vans after losses where you eat sack lunches from the cafeteria. You put your own peanut butter and jelly on. You put your ham and mustard on.

I’ve seen all these different perspectives, which has helped me in my consulting with sports teams because I’ve been where they’ve been at, whether they’ve been successful or terrible. Knowing what it’s like to struggle through a season, whether it’s your fault or not, you’ve struggled through that season. I’ve lived it all and been an athletic director as well. For years, I’ve been on my own. I’ve been self-employed or unemployed depending on the day as an entrepreneur.

We don't step out of ourselves sometimes and see from other people’s perspectives and where they are coming from. Click To Tweet

Where did you play basketball? Where did you coach basketball?

I played basketball in college at a place called Hiram College in Ohio. I was the epitome of mediocrity. Not only did I play basketball, I went to play basketball there but I also played some football and ran track. There are only two types of people that play multiple sports in college. One is the absolute maniac people that are amazing, the Bo Jacksons, the Deion Sanders. The other is the people that aren’t any good at any of the sports. The coaches are okay with sharing you because you don’t help them out anyways. I was fell in that category where the coaches didn’t care about me as much.

Where did you coach?

I coached a lot of schools, mainly in the South but I did start off at Kent State University in Ohio as a graduate assistant. I went to Anderson University in Indiana, LeTourneau University in Texas, Newberry College in South Carolina, Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga, Bryan College in Tennessee, and then Martin Methodist College in Tennessee was my last coaching stop. I was an Athletic Director at Marion High School in Indiana. The fifth largest gym in the world for high school. Nobody’s won more boys basketball state titles than that school had. That was a fun place to go to be an Athletic Director since I was a basketball guy.

That is a lot of interesting experience that you had. You didn’t just stay at one system and saw one thing. You got to see a whole lot of different organizations and leadership styles. What did you see was the difference between the winning programs and the losing programs?

Certainly, there’s always a baseline talent. No matter what we’re talking about, there’s always a baseline of competence in talent. Putting that to the side, the number one thing was the buy-in, the ownership of the players, and the coaches for a common goal. Are we bought-in to what we’re trying to accomplish? We can call this culture. Culture is a buzzword. Culture is something I talk about all the time. Ultimately, that culture is a buy-in tour. We’re all going to try to get to the same place together and in the same way. Sometimes we want to get to the same place but we don’t all want to go the same way or the same route. It’s having buy-in from, if not everybody, most of the people. That’s coaches and players.

Sometimes, the players and the coaches are on different pages. They’re not even in the same book. They have completely different agendas and selfish motives. You see this in businesses too, a lot. When I’ve consulted with a lot of businesses and I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, it’s the upper management, CEO level, or supervisory level. They’ll be like, “Come in and fix these.” We’re all part of the problem and the solution at the same time. It’s not us versus them.

I get that a lot with coaching. Coaches think, “It’s not my fault. Jamy is doing this, Jamy missed that shot, or Jamie didn’t know what he was doing.” It might not be your fault but it’s 100% your responsibility to help Jamy to know what he’s supposed to do, to help make Jamy the best he possibly can be, or to help have Jamy be inspired. That’s a big thing. We see this all the time with coaches. “These players are this. These players are that. They’re bored in practice or they don’t pay attention.” You don’t give them a reason because you don’t engage with them. You don’t inspire them.

It’s the same with businesses. “Our employees don’t want to be here.” It’s because you don’t make it fun. “I pay them a lot.” That doesn’t matter. How much you pay them doesn’t matter when they’re in that job doing it. That only matters on Saturday and Sunday, the days off, or on their vacation. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much you’re paying them. You have to inspire them in other ways if you want more out of them. Everybody being on the same page going together, it’s our team. It’s our goals. It’s not, “Gary is the boss, so it’s Gary’s team. It’s Gary’s goals. We’re trying to accomplish what Gary wants.” It’s not that. It’s, “We’re all going together. We’re all going to celebrate success together. We’re all going to overcome challenges together. We’re going to win and lose together.”

How do you teach somebody to get buy-in?

BYW 34 | Good Coach
They Call Me Coach

It’s a two-prong approach. In my case, I work primarily with sports teams. I certainly work with businesses but sport is my bread and butter. That’s my lane for the most part. You’re working with students but you’re also working with the coaches at the same time. With the students, you’re trying to find out what makes them tick. You’re trying to find out what their hopes and dreams are, what some of their challenges are, and understanding them. Also, trying to get them to understand the coaches, what the coaches are going through, and what the coaches are trying to get at. All of this comes back to trying to get everybody to see the whole forest and not just see their own tree. We’re trying to get them to understand as much as possible not to be understood.

A Stephen Covey’s great book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of those habits is seek first to understand then to be understood. A lot of us don’t ever do that. We want to be understood. “You’re not seeing where I’m coming from.” That might be true but you haven’t even seen where I’m coming from. It’s one of these things. As coaches, we don’t understand what a sixteen-year-old is going through or what a sophomore in college is going through. We can’t understand that as a 40-year-old, as a 50-year-old, we don’t understand them and they certainly don’t understand us. The thing is our sixteen-year-old self probably wouldn’t understand the sixteen-year-olds now in a lot of ways.

We don’t step out of ourselves sometimes, see where other people are coming from and see their perspectives. That’s one of the very first things we will do when we work with any team. It’s gotten them to see other perspectives. We have a lot of little activities we’ll do that are fun that blows people’s minds and different things like that of understanding in perspective. We talk a lot about seeing things from a different viewpoint, from a different lens because you’re never going to get common ground. It can’t be, “Gary disagrees with me on this. Gary has this opinion. I have my opinion and so we’re done.” You got to work with each other. We’ve got to figure out a way to how can, “I can do what Gary can’t do. Gary can do what I can’t do.” Together we’re going to fill in gaps. Together we’re going to complement one another. We’re going to play our roles to the best of our ability.

One of the things I talk about a lot is cars. I don’t know much about cars but with teamwork, with filling gaps and stuff, we’ll talk to kids, “What’s your favorite kind of car?” They’ll give this expensive $100,000 car. I’ll show them this little $5 spark plug. First of all, most kids don’t even know what this is but I’ll show them this spark plug. I’ll be like, “This $5, $10 spark plug can keep your $100,000 car from driving. It can sideline your car. This $5 spark plug can also make your car be $100,000, be cool, and work effectively.” Roles are important. Every role and person has value. We need to see the value and see what other people can bring to the table, whatever that is. Understanding in perspective is one of the very first things needed in order for everybody to come together.

What popped into my mind when you were saying that is tell us how you felt about that kind of a conversation when you were sitting on the bench as the player in college wanting to be the star but finding yourself next to the water cooler.

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude toward the problem. Click To Tweet

Most players that are in my situation would have hated it. I hated it because you’re embarrassed. As a college athlete, maybe you spent 18, 19 years of your life, depending on what the sport is preparing to be a college athlete and then you’re a failure. Your whole life, you’ve been successful. Your whole life, you’ve got up at 4:00 in the morning. You’ve grinded, rise, and grind type of stuff. You sacrifice. How many tens of thousands of dollars have you paid out or your parents have paid out to go to travel ball? You don’t expect to sit. It’s embarrassing, especially in a team sport.

Team sport is a little bit different than individual. In team sport, there’s a difference of opinion. There’s interpretation. It’s not just that, “I’m better than Gary.” We can’t prove that. Maybe I’m better than Gary at one-on-one or a better shooter but the team needs what Gary can offer more. In track, if I’m not on that four-person relay, it’s because I’m slower than those other four people. There’s some objective. Not that makes it easier but it’s less blame. There are more things that I can do personally to make myself better or to change the situation. In a team sport, most people sitting at the end of the bench are most people that don’t have a role that they don’t like. They’re not going to act the right way about that. They’re sometimes going to make the problem worse.

I love a quote from one of the greatest literary scholars of all time, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. He talks about the problems not the problem. The problem is your attitude toward the problem. The problem is not that I’m sitting on the bench. The problem is my attitude towards sitting on the bench. Coming back around to answering your question specifically, what you have to do with a young person or with anyone, an employee. You have to connect with them and you have to develop a strong connection, a strong bond that you can have some difficult conversations with them.

We try to have tough love. “I’m keeping it real with you, Jamy. I’m telling you what you need to improve on.” We have these tough conversations but we don’t have a strong bond. “I don’t trust that person. I don’t trust Coach Sanchez when he’s trying to tell me something because we haven’t developed this bond. I don’t trust him that he has my best interest. I don’t care if he has the other people’s best interests. I want him to have my best interest. If he’s looking at me as a commodity or this is a transactional relationship, I’m not going to believe in what he’s saying.” As managers, as leaders, or anyone in a position of leadership, we do that all the time.

We try to have a conversation with someone without having a bond or any kind of connection. You have to have that so you can figure out what makes me as the athlete tick, what’s important to me. You also have to ask a lot of questions. Ask me questions. Find out where I’m at. Find out what’s important to me. Find out as much as you can about me as the person so that you know what buttons to push as well. There’s also one major thing that leaders don’t do very well is they don’t find a way to utilize me as an employee, to utilize my strengths, to add value to me, or to catch me being good. However, that is, they don’t utilize me. Going back to the basketball analogy, how many times is there a blowout in a game? “Maybe you leave the starters in an extra five minutes longer than maybe you should have. You could have utilized me in that game a little bit more. Maybe I’m a great shooter and the team was playing a zone. You could have used me to shoot the ball a little bit more.”

Have you always been a good problem solver?

BYW 34 | Good Coach
Good Coach: It doesn’t matter how much you’re paying your employees. You have to inspire them in other ways if you want more out of them.


I don’t know. I understand that why and I understand I do like making things better. Saying I’m a good problem solver, I don’t know that. My wife might say I’m not a very good problem solver sometimes. I like making things better, whatever that is. I will go into a fast-food restaurant. I can’t help it. I will see ways that they could be better at things, especially if I’ve gone into a Chick-fil-A and then I go somewhere. I’m like, “Why can’t everybody copy the way Chick-fil-A does their drive-through?” I’ll fly a different airline in Southwest. I tend to be a Southwest snob. I’ll fly Southwest Airlines all the time.

It’s only a problem when there’s a problem. If there’s a problem with your airline or with your flight, Southwest will try to work with you a lot more than another airline will. When you have a customer support issue or customer service, you see the culture of an organization. I do see things like that. How can we make things better? You always want to be improving. Probably the answer would be yes. I’ve always tried to make things better. I’ve always tried to make myself better in whatever way I can. You call it problem-solving. That’s great.

My wife, that’s one of her strengths. When she’s interviewed for jobs and stuff, she says, “I love to solve problems.” She comes at it from more of a puzzle standpoint. She’s also a person on our Kindle or on our tablet who’ll do puzzles. She loves to solve those kinds of problems. I never do any of those things. Life has enough issues and problems to solve. She likes it from almost a game standpoint. I see it as how we can always get better.

You’re the head coach. You’ve got a lot of pieces moving. You’ve got a lot of challenges that you’re looking at. Are you somebody that enjoys having a lot of things coming at you at once and trying to figure out what to do?

I wouldn’t say I enjoy it but it doesn’t intimidate me. It’s not something that I get stressed about it. I understand I’m juggling a lot of balls. If something’s going to mess up and I’m going to lose those 3, 4, or 5 balls, I’m going to make sure I catch 1 or 2 of those balls. 1 or 2 of those is more important than the others. You’re always going to focus a little bit more on a couple of things. I wouldn’t say I enjoy it but I certainly don’t have a problem with it. It’s something that I can take in multiple information. Let’s see a lot of different perspectives. One of the problems with that is sometimes I would be a little slower with making a decision. I have an athletic director who is one of the best athletic directors I’ve ever worked for. He would be somebody that says, “We may not make the best decision but we’re going to make a quick, good decision.” I’m not saying that was good or bad but it worked for him. I thought he was a great athletic director.

Take care of people the way they want to be taken care of. Click To Tweet

I tend not necessarily to be paralyzed, paralysis by analysis but I do tend to, “Can we find a better solution? We come up with this one but can we come up with a little bit better?” It’s one of those tinkering type of things where I tinker a little bit too much sometimes. Not necessarily drag my feet or that could be looked at. I’m not a procrastinator but sometimes I will wait a little bit longer to make a decision because I want to get a little bit, “Can we see this perspective a little bit differently? How can we look at this problem a little bit more so that we’re making the right decision as opposed to a good decision?”

When you walk into a sandwich shop that you’ve never been before and there are 30 choices of sandwiches on the menu, is it easy for you to figure out which one you want to order or does it take you a while to make a decision? If it does, how do you then make a decision?

Did my wife tell you to ask me that? I tend to go last, all under the disguise of, “I’ve got to pay for it,” so I’ll go last. Everyone can go before me. If I go into a new sandwich shop, it would be because I’ve heard that they make this good sandwich or they have this reputation for something. If it’s one of those, Gary that you’re like, “Let’s go to this shop,” I’m going to ask you, first of all, what are they known for? I’m probably going to look for do they have that little icon or little logo next to one of their sandwiches that’s the chef’s special or this thing that they’re known for? I know I’m going too deep into the details.

A hole in a wall sandwich shop, they’re known for something. That grandpa started that shop many years ago because he made one sandwich good for the family and then it became something else. I want to do what they’re known for. I want to experience that. If that’s not the issue, then I’m going to go with it. “I love Reuben’s. Do they have a Reuben something like that?” I’m going to try to find what do they have and then compare it to other sandwiches that I’ve had in the past. If none of that works, I’m going with, “I’ll take the club. Do you have a club?”

Here’s a question I have for you. Do you feel more successful when you’re able to make things understandable or when you’re able to find a better way?

I love the process part of it. I love working through the process. That’s not 100% answering your question. I would rather be having a good process and the result wasn’t quite what we wanted. The result will be there but the process wasn’t good. It’s not repeatable. It’s not something that we can rely on. I love process type of stuff. I love knowing that what we did was probably the right thing. I don’t know if that answers your question.

Here’s why I’m asking you this. I’m sure the readers that read a lot will know. As you’re answering questions, it sounds like your why might be to find a better way versus to make sense of the complex and challenging. However, what I’m thinking is your why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. How you do that is by looking for better ways. Your process is about finding better ways but your ultimate result is to get something that makes sense, useful, usable, and we can do something with it.

I want actionable. I want things, “How is this practical? What can we do with this information?” I wouldn’t call myself the best student ever. I was a good student but not a great student. I don’t want just academic stuff or theory. What can we do with the practicalness of it? What you say makes sense. Isn’t that the why part of what makes sense? We’re back to that.

That’s what I think your why is make sense but your how is a better way. How you do it as you’re in search of a better way? Ultimately, what you bring is something we can still explore so that we know, “What is that thing that Jamy brings?” Every time he speaks, coaches, and interacts with people, there’s something that you bring that you deliver. We can continue to work on that. While we’re thinking about that, Jamy, what is culture? How do you define culture?

Culture is the identity that your group takes on, to put it in the simplest way. I also think that identity is intentional. A lot of people will argue with that, they’ll debate that, or they’ll disagree with that saying, “The culture that we have isn’t what I wanted.” That might be true but you were very intentional about allowing your culture to be what it is. “I didn’t want it to be like this.” We make choices every day and you make choices, maybe as a leader. Your group made choices along the way to choose to do or to prioritize something over here, as opposed to something here. This got you to where you are. We’re always intentional about, “I’m choosing something over something else.”

BYW 34 | Good Coach
Good Coach: Culture is the identity that your group takes on.


Those choices don’t happen accidentally. What happens is the result ends up being something that we didn’t want sometimes. The culture is the identity of your group. I do believe it’s intentional because the choices we make every day lead into that. Our actions, our behaviors, and our thoughts that become actions, the standards, and the things that we allow or emphasized will end up being our culture. Sometimes as leaders, we don’t like that. We’ll say, “We don’t have a culture.” It’s like, “You do have a culture. You just might not like it.” If you don’t know what your culture is, then it’s probably not a healthy, strong culture.

Everything that you do should be geared toward where you do want to end up. Almost reverse engineer it backwards. How are we going to get there? What are the day-to-day things that we can do to help in that culture? When I was an Athletic Director, I was tasked with changing the culture. If I had $1 for every time somebody said change the culture, we’d be rich. Everybody talks about changing the culture and they don’t even know what they’re talking about half the time. I was tasked with changing the culture.

One of the first things I did is not necessarily to change the culture but we redid our whole athletic department offices. We put on fresh new paint, put new posters up, and did all this stuff. We also changed stationary, all this trivial skin deep type of stuff. None of that came close to mattering as much as how I treated my secretary. I could put out the best emails, put up the best posters on the wall, and have the best staff meetings but if I treated my secretary poorly and our interactions that caused her to maybe not be happy or inspired, she’s going to interact with hundreds of people that one day, either on the phone or the people that come into the office. She’s going to be the first face that they see.

I can do more for our culture, good or bad, based on one interaction with my secretary each morning. With your salesmen, with your HR people, or your billing people, you can do more for your culture than any memo you’re going to send out. Your culture isn’t your posters on the wall, your fancy slogans, your billboards, or your website. Your culture is what’s going on around the water cooler. When Gary and Jamy are talking at the water cooler or in the break room at 9:15 break in the morning, that’s your culture. If you want to know what your culture is, it’s what those employees or your team members are doing when you’re not around. That’s your true culture. That’s either by what you emphasize, what you reinforce, or what you allow.

Businesses are so different. For example, our company got team members in Austin, Denver, New York, India, and all over the place. How do you build a culture with more of the virtual type of companies?

It’s even more intentional at that point. COVID has introduced us to Zoom. It introduced us to a virtual type of stuff. Not working at the office, not having touchpoints, and not being in-person. That means that you have to be even more intentional about, “How I’m going to reinforce and emphasize the certain culture that we want. I don’t see Gary every day. We can’t high-five each other. We can’t hang out and watch the game together as easily. We can’t have casual Fridays.” Every Friday could be casual because we’re at home. We have to be more intentional about it. Some businesses have fallen way behind in their culture because they haven’t been intentional and proactive. They’ve been reactive.

No matter what business we're in, we're in the people business, ultimately. Click To Tweet

They’ve been reacting to everything that happens. They’ve almost been shaking their head saying, “We can’t do this.” Instead of saying, “What can we do?” Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do like some of the best companies, best teams, even. I work with sports teams a lot. I’ve had a lot of sports teams that I’ve been consulting with that have been in quarantine. I’ll give you one example. There are countless of these that I’ve dealt with. You’re in quarantine, whatever that reason is. One of your kids tested positive or you played a team that tested positive. You’re in fourteen-day quarantine.

You’re in a basketball team and the coach says, “What do I do? I don’t know what to do.” I’m like, “Have you had Zoom meetings?” “They’re all zoomed out.” I’m like, “What would you be doing every day with practice? What we’d have in practice? What time would you be having practice?” “3:00.” “You don’t think they’re all practiced out. You don’t think they hate to practice. They don’t like practice. You still do it, though. You need to do Zoom meetings.” “I know but they’re so boring. What do we do?” I say, “You don’t have to do it for your two hours but every day at 3:00, you need to touch base with them on Zoom or whatever platform you use. Don’t call it a Zoom meeting.”

Put lipstick on a pig. Call it something different like motivational Monday. “We’re going to have Monday Motivation at 3:00. We’re going to have a guest speaker. We’re going to talk about something inspirational. On Wednesday, we’re going to have Wacky Wednesday and we’re going to have fun. We’re going to have Tuesday Chalk Talk.” I know that’s not alliteration. It’s going to be X’s and O’s. Every single day of your fourteen weeks, you’re still going to have practice. You’re going to have it for 30 minutes at the normal time so you can touch base with them but you’re going to do something different every single day. You’re getting on Zoom but you’re never going to call it a Zoom meeting. You’re going to call it something different.

You’ve got three assistant coaches. They can come up with stuff and idea but you’re going to do something every day and you’re going to touch base with some of your athletes and some of your team members. You’re going to have them come up with some ideas as well. It’s not going to be all Jamy Bechler because Jamy Bechler is not smart enough. It’s not going to be all Gary Sanchez. Even though we’re smart as coaches, we’re not smart enough to come up with something creative every day for 16-year-olds or 21-year-olds.

We’re going to talk to some of our key leaders. Get them to come up with some ideas and have them have ownership in what we’re going to do. That’s one specific example. We walked through a lot of ways that they could execute that effectively. Essentially, what it’s doing is not looking at what you can’t do but what we can do. You can have Wacky Wednesday, karaoke night. They’re all there. They’re all singing the same song on Zoom being stupid. They can all have their phones go on and making social media of that. We’re all seeing the screen. We’re all having fun. You can watch a movie together. There are so many things that you can do.

The internet is full of Google, what you can do during COVID on Zoom calls. As a coach or as an employer, you’re not going to do quite that much as an employer but you’re going to figure out, “What can we do to make it a little bit more creative?” Gary, you as the leader, “What can I do to bring Jamy into this where Jamy’s all the way across the country? We can connect on Zoom but how can I make him want to be more engaged and want to make sure that he’s not checking his phone so often or not disengaged from this Zoom call?” It’s no different than when we have in-person meetings. If you have a boring in-person meeting, then your people are going to be disengaged. You’re not going to inspire them. You’re not going to have the culture that you want, ultimately. It’s finding solutions. How can you put lipstick on a pig?

Last question I got for you, Jamy. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received I wished that I had always lived up to is, take care of people the way they want to be taken care of. We can get into nuances about different things but we talk sometimes about, treat people the way you want to be treated. Sometimes we project. I don’t like birthdays at all. I’m not a birthday guy or whatsoever. If nobody wished me a happy birthday ever, I would be fine with that. I project that onto others. I forget people’s birthdays or I don’t make it a big deal but it might be a huge deal to you, Gary.

Saying take care of people the way you want to be taken care of or treat people the way you want to be treated sometimes doesn’t go far enough. I 100% get the sentiment. It’s better than treating people terribly. Ultimately, you want to treat people the way they want to be treated. You want to find a way to inspire them. It’s about them. You need to understand them. No matter what business we’re in, we’re in the people business, ultimately. We need to treat people the way that they want to be treated whenever possible. There are some nuances to that and there are some dynamics. You can’t 100% do that in every situation but if you follow that road, it’s going to get you to a good place eventually.

Jamy, thank you so much for taking time out to be here. I appreciate it. If people are reading and they say, “I would love to have Jamy come talk to our group. I’d love to meet with him,” how can people get ahold of you?

The best way is if they’re on Twitter, they can follow me. My direct messages are open. That’s, @CoachBechler. In my website, they can get ahold of me, see my books, the podcast, and all the free stuff that we have. That’s at, Those are the two best places. I’m on the other social media platforms as well but Twitter is the best place to get me if you’re on social media.

Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

I appreciate the work you’re doing as well. This is a great show. Keep it up. Thanks for having me.

It’s time again for our new segment, which is Guess the Why. We’re going to look at the why of Kanye West. If you had to take a stab at it knowing the nine whys, what do you think Kanye why is? I think his why is to challenge the status quo and think differently, think outside the box, do things differently, not follow a traditional path, and do it his own way. He’s done that in the way he does his music. He’s done that in the way that he’s changed the direction of his life. He’s still married. I don’t know if that’s going to be the same thing when this show comes out.

I would guess that his why is to challenge the status quo. What do you think it is? Put it in wherever on your social media. Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at You can use the code Podcast50 and you’ll get it at half price. If you love the Beyond Your Why show, please don’t forget to subscribe and rate us. It helps us gain more readers so that we can bring the why to the world and reach our goal of helping one billion people discover, make choices, and live based on their why. Have a great week. We’ll talk to you next time.

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About Jamy Bechler

BYW 34 | Good CoachJamy Bechler is an author, motivational speaker, leadership consultant, and host of the popular “Success is a Choice” podcast. With a background as a championship athletic director, award-winning college basketball coach, and business consultant, he works with high-level sports teams and businesses helping them maximize results. He is recognized as an expert in leadership, culture, and teamwork.