The seeds of culture

Clay Erro is the former football coach at Enterprise High School in Redding, California and one of the winningest football coaches in Northern Californian history. More important than his success was his ability to teach young men to be responsible adults and citizens. His approach was unconventional with a premium on relationships and teaching.

» Related content: In GAIN Video 3 Clay Error explains his approach to team building and his relationship-based approach.

Relationships are not built upon rules. Just look at the institution of marriage. A successful marriage is built on trust and expectations and communication, not rules. Instead of rules, the team had simple self-explanatory guidelines:

  • We not me
  • No excuses
  • No messengers
  • No sympathy groups

Starting with a few simple guidelines as the seed, the team culture grew from there.

Core values define team culture. Developing core values is a process. It is a process that ideally is driven by the athletes and guided by the coach. This process will ensure ownership. If the culture is established, then it becomes a process of initiation into the core values. Core values are not rules, they are principles that guide, not regulate behavior. They are more than words written on the locker room wall. They are words that are translated into action every day in training. The coach’s role is to insure that the core values are real and lived by everyone associated with the team. It has been my experience that they transcend sport, better people are better athletes.