What my MBA has Taught Me About College Swimming by Matt Barany, University of Richmond (2014)


Published


[introduction, by Joel Shinofield]
All right, good afternoon. (People will be filtering in from lunch, but I just want to get started.) Our first talk of the afternoon is a good friend of mine: Matt Barany from the University of Richmond. Matt has been at University of Richmond for 10 years. During that time his teams have won 9 Atlantic 10 championships, he’s been named the Atlantic 10 coach-of-the-year 6 those of years, he’s had 4 NCAA qualifiers, he’s had athletes make U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He’s got a unique background in that after he graduated from JMU, he spent some time in the Peace Corps; he has taught. He has been a Division III coach and a Division I coach, in two different places.

He produces some exceptional young women. His focus is on their development, and they truly become better people through his program. In that same vein, Matt always pursues knowledge for himself, that he thinks can make him better and make his athletes better. And so for the last three years, he’s been taking classes to earn his MBA at Richmond, which he completed this past spring. So he’s going to tell us a little bit about how that process is applicable to our pursuits in the pool and with our teams. So please welcome Matt Barany.

[Barany begins]
Thanks Joel. I think this is kind of a unique experience for all of us: you’ve come to a swim coach’s convention and you’re going to hear about business school. So I am going to do the best I can to kind of take some of the general lessons that I learned and break it into some very digestible things that hopefully you’ll take from this.

The first thing I’d like to do is I want to personally invite all of you to Richmond; not to campus, but to the city. For those of you who’ve not been to Richmond, it’s a pretty extraordinary place. Outside magazine in 2012 called us the Best Small Town in America. There is a little river, it’s a small city, a couple of businesses are headquartered there; but a lot of Civil War history, a lot of music, a lot museums, a lot of food. Recently, there’s been a little movement into street art, and I kind of enjoy that. Believe it or not, this is a picture that’s actually three-stories tall on the side of a building. So come by Richmond. And if you do happen to be there, let me know, and I’ll show you campus or we can find one of these spots and just chat for little bit.

I want to thank Joel, obviously, for conning me into this, and all of you for your time this afternoon. There are some people who I also need to thank, on the front end of this, and that is the University of Richmond. As an employee benefit, working at Richmond, I did not pay for this experience to get my MBA. With that in mind, my supervisors—LaRee Sugg, who is my SWA [Senior Women’s Administrator], and then Keith Gill, our athletic director—were fully supportive of me trying to divert my focus and continue to be a full-time coach but also to donate some of my extra time to getting a degree.

With that, too, I had four assisting coaches during this time. One is Danielle Tansel, who is now at Michigan. Another one is Travis Stensby, who is no longer coaching and just kind of blows along—I think he’s in Dallas now. And then Fernando Rodriguez, who was with me for the last year and he’s now moved-on to Kenyon. And two diving coaches: one who is with us Sean Letsinger, and then one before him. And as you would imagine, the demand for my time got very, very tough to manage; these were the people who picked-up most of the extra effort and I owe a lot to them.

I also owe a lot to these young women. These are the five women who… I graduated on May 10; they graduated on May 11: Jessie Krebs, Mariel Kush, Mali Kobelja, Erin Brady and Laura Jordan. They only know me as a student and a coach; they never got 100% of my time. Yet, their maturity, their leadership, their athletic talent really kept us in a position that we were able to compete for a conference championship every year. And I owe a quite bit to those ladies.

So a little bit about Richmond. The university is 6 miles away from downtown Richmond. It’s 3,000 students; I think the total cost is approaching $60,000. 3,000 undergraduate students; total enrollment right around 4,000. We do not have a large graduate population: there’s a law school and a business school and that’s pretty much it. Campus is gorgeous: it’s nestled right on the back of the Country Club of Virginia; it’s very green. But one unique feature of our campus is that 87% of students live on campus all four years. So it is slightly different, still has that residential feel. And it’s cool—it really is, it’s cool. When you think of Richmond, you think University of Richmond, don’t think urban campus—that’s Shaka Smart, that’s VCU, that’s downtown, it’s a little bit grittier than we are.

The resources that we work with at Richmond. We have a 45-year-old pool that is 6-lanes, 25-yards; a shallow end and a deep end. A locker room that is continually renovated and never usable, never functioning. We have 24 women on the roaster; we do not have a men’s team. 24 women on the roaster: 4 divers, 20 swimmers. Our entire staff is full-time; so I have a full-time assistant, full-time diving coach. The resources are great at Richmond; they really are. And I benefit from that.

That is the Matt-the-coach side of it.

In 2010, after being out of school for 18, 16 years, 17—something like that—I enrolled in the Robins School of Business. And Richmond, it’s a liberal arts school, but their business school is taking-off; it’s really gaining some national recognition for undergraduate, they are starting to invest more, and their graduate-level program. And the MBA that I participated in was part-time, so it was at night and quite often the classes were 6:15 to about 9:30. I’m 41. You get up at four in the morning, five in the morning, whatever, by the time it gets to nine o’clock at night, I had smoke coming out of ears. I really… it got difficult at some points, trying to think on that level that late in the day.

I had Business Statistics, Accounting, Econ., of course your Marketing, Ethics, Finance, Strategic Resource Management, Operation Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Negotiations, and then a separate Strategy class; a pretty comprehensive MBA. I did not focus in any one of those areas.

We had three residency-type experiences. The opening residency, we stayed at a nice little hotel and we worked to the group over the course of a weekend to… I think our project was we had to try to figure out a way for an insurance company to take their kind of niche market and enter India with that. Is there a customer base that will be interested in India? etcetera, etcetera. That wasn’t that exciting. We had an international residency which took the group to Budapest. And this was the group that ended up going to Budapest. We were in Budapest for two weeks. And my group we worked with two chemists in rural Hungary who had their hands on this rare truffle that is like… when I mean rare, it’s very rare: it’s only found in Hungary and it actually is like from ancient Rome or whatever. And they were making food products in their little house that they could sell, and our job was to try to find a way to sell these food products to a premium market. So it was the royalty in the UK, it was like the Sheik of Dubai, and stuff like that; we were trying to market it to them.

And then this past year, I had a capstone project, which was supposed to be about two months long and really took me eight months. This is a picture of Berlin. I went to Berlin; I went to Germany for two weeks. Part of the project was I helped an entrepreneur in the rural, western part of Kenya, develop a homebuilt solar kit that allowed… obviously supplied solar electricity, but it was easy. He could sell it, it was mobile, he could move it. And obviously it was matching the supply and demand of… you know, they need electricity in Africa and we were trying to help them. My trip got altered: I didn’t go to Kenya, I ended-up going to Germany, working with an NGO in Hamburg and Berlin. And that ultimately was the end of my MBA experience.

I’m gonna… you know, Joel said, “Can you talk about your MBA and can you talk about coaching?” And you know in a lot of ways they relate and a lot ways they don’t. But one thing I did learn is by me getting back in the classroom, I realized that I was staying pertinent. I am 41, I have an undergraduate degree in English, I have been coaching for 15 years; heaven forbid I lose my job; I don’t really have too many back-up plans. But this gave me, put me in a position that maybe down-the-road there will another opportunity. So I kind of look at it, and some of the points that I brought forward is, I’d like to try to maybe bring you up-to-date with some of the language that they’re talking about in business school, from an organizational standpoint but also on strategic standpoint.

I’m gonna try simply to just give three takeaways out of this; there’s obviously a lot more. At one point, I was looking at 10, but I don’t think I could. I have adult ADD, so just the idea that I am standing here being able to focus this long, I’m pretty happy. If I had to try to go 90 minutes, there’s no way, I’d be all over the place.

The disclaimer. How many of you already own businesses. Anybody? Right. How many of you take business classes? Recently, the last five years, the last ten years? My guess is there’re people in here who probably know a lot more about this than I do. Okay? And my disclaimer is right now that I am not even going to pretend that I know everything that we’re going to discuss or that I’m going to put up there.

Three basic points:
1. I want to talk a little bit about supply and demand;
2. I want to about a newer theory that corporations are kind of abiding by, and that’s stakeholder theory; and
3. then the third point is alignment.
At the end, I’ll throw up a couple of quotable axioms that I heard along the way that make a good deal of sense. And then we’ll wrap it up and answer any questions that you might have.

If you do have questions, feel free to interrupt—this isn’t going to be formal. Hopefully I’m prepared to answer your questions. If not, some of the gentlemen who raised their hands will definitely be able to answer your questions.

Supply and Demand
The first thing I want to talk about: supply and demand. I love this, okay. This is basic; it’s… to me this just make so much sense, and when I saw this later in life, it made other things standout and made things more clear. It’s an economic concept, right? If you ever took micro- or macroeconomics, this is what you studied; you studied supply and demand. In ideal world, if you’re price is 30 (if you look over there on the y-axis, your price is 30), then ideally you’re going to sell 10 units. So then ideally, you know how many units you’re going to make. You’re able to fix and find that equilibrium between supply and demand. Obviously, there is disequilibrium; and that’s when it doesn’t beautifully match like that and you have to shift and you have to make some adjustments.

Market forces play into this. We’re in Jacksonville right now; let’s say tomorrow we find out there’s a storm in the Atlantic. What are people here going to do? If there’s a storm coming, what are they going to do? Okay, they’re probably going to start reinforcing their houses, alright. Suddenly the demand at Home Depot for generators and water and wood and nails and all that stuff is going to go skyrocketing. Those are market forces, something like weather. A man-made event: if there is terrorism or something like that; if there is violence, something like that might drive people to go buy guns. There are market forces that play-in when you look at supply and demand.

Do we see it in college athletics? Do we see supply and demand? What about recruiting? Dave already talked about today how many spots he has on his team. Can you take a project [athlete] or not? What about every day with our energy system? Right now, as coaches, we’re probably asking for quite a bit of aerobic fitness. And there is probably not a match between supply and demand. I am curious—and maybe this would be talk for another time—what happened to aerobic training? I think we’ve missed that a little bit. But do we see it in college athletics? Of course we see supply and demand.

Here are a couple of examples of this. (This is a simple supply and demand curve.) I read on Monday that the milk inventory is low—this is true, the milk inventory is low. What does that mean is going to happen to the supply of milk? Or already has happened. It’s lower; therefore, that red line is going to shift to the left. If it shifts to the left, then obviously things happen. Look at the price: where price met before at equilibrium, we knew what that was, now the price increased. What’s the result of this? Sorry, Neil, but pizza is going to be more expensive. We know that, right—we know that.

Another one: this is a change in demand. How many of you went to the Jay-Z concert? Jay-Z and Beyonce. There you go. They don’t have any problems selling the tickets. Right? But suddenly there are rumors that Jay-Z is cheating and Beyonce is getting a divorce, and suddenly demand for the tickets goes up. Right? And the prices go up. It’s simple supply and demand.

This is one that… this is at state school; this is what happens it state schools. That’s the price. Price for colleges are fixed. Imagine if we traded the price of attendance: if it was like the stock market, if it could go up and down. If I could buy shares in Harvard, or trade shares in Stanford or something like that; based on their academic reputation or their sports teams or something along those lines. It’s not like that. We have to pay one flat rate, normally twice a year. So the price doesn’t really change that quickly.

I live in Virginia. Julie went to JMU; I went to JMU. JMU is a state school. It is fairly priced, I don’t know probably in the low-20s. It is wildly popular, with people from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York, because we are seen as a cheaper alternative—Virginia schools are seen as a cheaper alternative. What happens then is the demand for JMU changes. So now at that point… we can’t change the price at JMU, but what happens is the demand has increased, so now there is a shortage. The State of Virginia has said: JMU, you’ve got to comeback and you’ve got to increase supply. That’s what we are seeing with state schools. When I was there, there were 10,000 people; now there are 20,000 people there. And it’s because JMU has become so popular, there is not even enough room for Virginians to get in there; all these out-of-state kids are coming. There’s nothing wrong with that though.

This is a dilemma that we see, and it’s going lead me into a more important point about this. If you look over on the left (I am looking at the lower bottom left side), there is at the first price, over there… if you look at the supply curve, right there, we’re going to create a supply that isn’t going to meet a demand. That’s going to be called a shortage, and the shortage is all of this area in here. If you look above that, there is a surplus. That’s where we have too much supply and not enough demand. So if you look at that then, we have got that area in there.

This to me is the best part: that’s a mismatch. That’s where there was no equilibrium, there was a mismatch. And this is why I like this so much: this makes so much sense to me. If you get to work to match the mismatch… let’s think of the three parts. The first part is the connection; that’s the equilibrium, that’s what our goal is. But let’s look at the other two parts.

There is a supply chain. The supply-side of the equation is the side that creates products, is manufactured, maybe mined from the ground, manufactured, created, shipped-out, packaged nicely, ends up on the shelves. There is so much thought and process on that side of things. We could talk for years about, you know, what the supply side looks like. Think about a product like Apple. What are the all the steps they go through to get that iPhone in your hand? That’s the supply-side.

The demand-side is a little bit different. That’s more… you know, we’re the consumers, we’re already there; but they want to drive-up our interests, or our demand, to use their product or to own their product or to maybe even trade their product. So there is marketing money that goes in there; there are ideas, like promos. They’re trying… that’s what the salesmen are: they’re trying to sell and increase that demand. But they don’t always meet. This is where I think some of the coolest things that are happening are happening right here, were supply and demand don’t meet.

2008. You guys know this already; it’s just probably nothing new for you. In 2008, a couple of guys in San Francisco decided to rent out the floor of their apartment; I think there might have been a bed in there. But regardless, it was a flat space where somebody could sleep for $80 a night. They had trouble making rent; they figured-out instead of getting a roommate all the time we’ll just rent it for $80 a night. They match that up. They continue to do that during the Democratic National Convention—San Francisco in ’08. They continued on that idea, and suddenly they were realizing that Wow, we can disrupt this space. Take a guess of who I’m talking about.

Let me continue: they go to other cities. They’ve decided that in each city there are vacant beds, vacant couches, vacant guest rooms, vacant condos; every single night of the week, there are these vacancies. That’s the supply. Then they also realized that every night of the week, there are people who are not sleeping in their own beds because they’re in a hotel—like we are. Maybe they’re on vacation, maybe they’re cohabitating with a girlfriend, whatever. But then there is demand, that people are looking for beds. Any guesses? Airbnb.

These guys nailed it. They found a supply and demand mismatch, and they went in there and matched it. Does Airbnb own any property? Does anybody need a little bit further support of what Airbnb is?

So Airbnb is this website. And if you haven’t done it… I’ve enjoyed it, there are horror stories, but I’ve enjoyed it. Airbnb is website that you can list your property on; Assuming it’s a property… maybe you just have a room in your house that you want to rent out or maybe an extra townhouse that sits idle the majority of the time. You can take nice pictures, you can put it up, you put up a little marketing spiel, and it’s listed on their website. Then the users can come in, create a profile, create a method of payment, and they can book your room, with your approval, at any time that you’ve set your property available.

So what Airbnb has done: they don’t own property, they don’t market it, they’re not selling the property. All they’re doing is they’re matching the supply of all these empty beds with the demand of people who are looking for beds. Those are called disruptors.

Another example of a disruptor—that I think is even more clever. First of all, what’s the valuation of Airbnb, take a guess? Ten billion. They’ve been around for six years; $10 billion. The next one is worth $18 billion; they have been around four years. They’ve done the same thing, with cars who already have a driver and who are already going somewhere with passengers who want to go somewhere and want to go right now. Uber and Lyft. Has anybody used either of those? Yeah. I would recommend that as well. Although if you’re not satisfied with your driver… it’s one thing to be dissatisfied with maybe like a condo—the sheets or something—but if you’re dissatisfied with your driver, you’re in trouble.

So what Uber has done is they’ve taken just a simple app—I don’t even think you can book online. And they’ve taken a simple app that, obviously your phone knows where you are, so you just go right in and say alright, here I am and they will show you the cars nearby. And if you want to do it, the car comes, it will tell you how long you’re going have to wait there for that car. Car picks you up, the car already knows your destination; you can jump in the front seat, the back seat, wherever; and they take you. When you get there, there is no transfer of money; it’s already done. Your phone or your credit card will be billed. Once they hit the trip is done, they get the money, I have spent the money; there is no tip, there is no exchange. And in my mind, it is… I think they’ve done an incredible job of competing in the taxi space.

Airbnb came in, disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have come in to disrupt the whole ground transportation industry. I think that the next one—and I don’t think this is that big of a prediction—but this is… these two pictures are not… (you can barely see them). The guy at the top has a Blackberry rubber-banded around his headm and the other guy has like TV across his face. This wearable-technology stuff, I think it’s going to blow our mind.

The reason why I say that is because I think as coaches, I think we’re going to eat that up. You know the idea that I can plug one of the swimmers in when they get to campus in August, and have something—their phone or something—that is going to continue to monitor what they’re doing. I can’t wait for our compliance department to figure that out: Well, Matt, you know that’s more than twenty countable hours, right, you’re monitoring their exercise. I think that’s one use. I think another use is: can you imagine what it’s going to do for the health industry? Doctors are going to know we’re sick before we’re sick.

I imagine at some point in my life I am going put a watch on and its going to read whatever it’s capable of reading and saying: Matt, you have exactly 37 years to live. It’s going to say: alright it looks like you have heart disease. Yeah, it runs in my family; no big deal. It looks like you’ve had some liver damage. Yeah, I was in college for five years. It might say, you know, you’ve had knee problems or whatever, a cavity. I think we’re going to get to that point that that’s going to disrupts the way we… the way a lot of industries really work.

But the reason why I am saying that is because when we find a mismatch in supply and demand… all they’ve done, all these people who created Airbnb and created Uber, all they have done is they’ve problem-solved. The first point that I want to make is that business school to me was not about making money; it was about finding mismatches and solving.

We do that every day; as coaches, we do that every single day. We look at the deficiencies. Does somebody… is their back weak? Are they not healthy? What are they doing that we could help improve or maybe help their performance increase. All we are doing is finding the mismatches. Sometimes, you know Bill talked about it earlier, there are expectations. What are we demanding of them and what are they capable of doing? That’s simply is supply and demand mismatch.

Business school, I think a lot of times people—and even the guys I was in the class with—they came in and they walked right in the first week and they’re like I want to make money and I want to climb the ladder of my corporation. For me, at my age, I came in and said I need to learn, I want to learn, I want to stay pertinent; but I already have the best job, so this isn’t a mechanism for me to climb up. This was rewarding for me to come to this revelation, that business school isn’t simply about making money.

I want to encourage you. If you think… pick up any article, pick up any business journal, business article, whatever; think about supply and demand. I think when you think about supply and demand, I think you’re understanding of business or the way that the world operates, is… will become much more clear. One of the things I would also encourage you to do, I am not promoting this, but pick up something that is not related to our field. I read Fast Company only because I feel like it is futuristic; and it’s going to help us, it’s going to prepare, it’s going to continue to generate more thought, as we go forward about what the rest of our world is going to look like.

Any questions about this first point?

Stakeholder Theory
This one, I think, is little more tangible for us. Stakeholder theory is an organizational theory; it’s coming, it’s following, a theory that was shareholder-focused. Shareholder focus says that if you’re an organization, your single-most responsibility is to generate value for your shareholders. There is a CEO that’s hired, the CEO is directed by the board, the board is voted on by the shareholders. So the CEO really has the incentive to, you know, his own personal gain, if he performs well, he gets all of these bonuses, all this compensation; but, also, he’s incentivized to deliver value to the shareholders. It’s easy to do.

And we’ve seen it. A CEO comes-in, they’re for two years. It’s easy for them to create…. Revenue doesn’t have to do anything; revenue can stay the same. But a CEO can come in… you’ve seen this in athletic departments: they come in and they cut staff. Right away, they cut staff. They come in and say, “Hey, last week we had three facilities guys, we think we can only do it with two. So we got rid of one—he retired early—now we are down to two.” Okay. So they cut staff.

If you are a business, what’s a way for you to continue to decrease cost? Well let’s cut our R&D. Nobody cares about the future, nobody needs to do any research and development; lets get rid of that staff, we’re sinking too much money into that. Suddenly revenue stays the same, the costs go down and income starts to go up. But what is being sacrificed when the income goes up? And that’s the shareholder focus: all they wanted was for the stock value to just go up.

We’ve known teams—you’ve seen teams, maybe in your own athletic department or maybe your team—[where] the only thing that matters is winning. They will steamroll everybody just simply to win. Maybe there’s a team that says oh, we want the weight room at this time or we want the field, and they don’t care about anybody else. Same with their approach to academics: Hey, we’re alright, we’ll get this kid first semester and then he’ll be ineligible, but who cares. You know we’ll win that semester and then we’re all moving on anyways. You see that; that’s a shareholder mentality.

The alternative to that is a stakeholder mentality, the stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory, I believe, started about ten years ago in Charlottesville. The professors up at Darden [the business school at the University of Virginia], in conjunction with some of the professors that I have had at Richmond, created the stakeholder theory that essentially says: we can’t single handedly just look out for the shareholder; that you must consider everybody who has a stake in the venture. So think about that right now for athletics: everybody who has a stake in the venture. If you’re talking about a business, that means: the suppliers, the people who are manufacturing it, they have a stake in your company; the employees have a stake in your company; your customers have a stake; your competitors, even, have a stake. Sometimes the government has a stake. So all of these things need to be considered under stakeholder theory.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the idea of utilitarianism. That’s the greatest good for the greatest number of people; how can we provide satisfaction to the greatest number of people. Under the shareholder focus we simply only wanted to provide satisfaction for the shareholders. Stakeholder is a little bit different.

I am just going touch on this briefly. This, corporate social responsibility, is obviously gaining more and more steam. Part of that is because as businesses realize they have to more stakeholder friendly, they have to do more things socially responsible. You’ve all seen organizations—across the board, any field that they are in—do something to engage the community to try to help a cause. We can all name them. The water bottles I saw earlier that have the green symbols that say we’re making green bottles; that’s our corporate social responsibility. Okay, a lot of that falls back on the utilitarianism. And the competitive advantage of this is just trust, and trust is a key component of stakeholder theory.

So when you look at stakeholder theory, here are some simple questions. I don’t know if you’ve any desire to take any notes, but I think if we were to do this right now and I was to ask about your athletic department: who are the stakeholders? Who are the internal stakeholders? The athletes, the coaches, the trainers, your academic advisors. Probably your faculty and staff, probably your athletic director. Who are the external stakeholders in an athletic department? Your fans, your boosters, your donors; potentially your opponents, maybe the people surrounding campus. A lot. If you are at state school, the government, the state government, is a stakeholder.

Then ask yourself as a coach, or maybe you can even play the part of an AD, are these different people balanced? Are their interests balanced? Are we weighing too heavily on one side or the other?

And I guess the last thing: does this any of this really matter? I think corporations could make an argument that it definitely does matter. Let’s take a look at one. Who are the stakeholder in TOMS? You got manufacturers, right. How does TOMS differentiate itself? We’re going to build shoes, then what? (They donate a pair.) For every one that you buy, they donate a pair.

So think about all these different stakeholders. There are manufacturers who are paid to make it. Then there is a sales force. Then there is a customer who wears it. And then go beyond that. Then there is a third-party entity who travels to some destination that isn’t screened for anything, and just drops shoes. So that third party, the new shoe wearers, what about the stakeholders in that village? What about the people who live in that village who make shoes? They just got put out of business. Think about that; think about the stakeholders in that situation.

What about these guys? [Whole Foods] A lot of people; particularly because they say we’re going to deliver it to you fresh. So the Whole Foods in Richmond, Virginia is going to have… the fruits and vegetables are going to be supplied locally. So the stakeholders with this example are very, very wide, very vast.

This is something to consider. And for those of you who are working right now and your coaching coach college-aged athletes, this is something to consider. If you haven’t picked up the paper or watched a TV show or whatever, and they’ve talked about the Millennials, you’re missing it. My parents are Baby Boomers, I am Gen-X, and now there is this next generation of Millennials. Look at the population. This is the current population in the US, for each of these segments: Baby Boomers-76 million, Gen-X-49 million, Millennials-80 million. I‘m just some middle-aged dude who nobody cares about anymore because nobody is marketing anything to me; they’re all marketing to the Millennials. And the boomers, right. So hearing aids and technology; that’s what we’re seeing.

This is important. I think it’s important for us as coaches to understand this. But when we think about stakeholder theory, I also think it’s important to understand what the Millennials are looking for. This is just a very brief summation of what the Millennials like, okay. They like to be healthy. Think about that; that’s all the workout stuff: they like to run, they like to go to yoga, they like to surf, they like to do all that. They also like to eat organic; so we’ve seen the competition in the organic food space really explode.

We know that they are connected to their peers and social media. So much so that they don’t go to a store to shop, they go to Pinterest to shop somebody else’s page and then they can buy it online. So that’s how they are connected to that; they’re getting their peers approval by their peer’s page—Pinterest, Facebook, whatever—and then that’s what they’re using. So if you are a corporation, catalogs don’t work, celebrity endorsements barely work with this group. Their peers are important.

They’re interested in supporting a cause. So you can probably talk to your campus career people and say Hey, where are the current graduates going? Of course, the university wants you to say they’re going to New York, they’re going to D.C., they’re getting into grad school—all of this stuff. Well, those that are qualified to go to New York and D.C., and get accounting jobs or whatever, are choosing not to do so—or they are choosing to do so less—because they want to find meaningful work, in their own terms meaningful work. So think about that. So now if you’re a corporation, you want to hire the top talent, you’ve got to find ways to make working meaningful; you’ve got to give them a cause.

They want to have fun; they want to be active. And I saw an interesting stat where in the US they were asked the three most desirable employers of recent graduating classes, they said Google, Facebook and then themselves, third. If I can’t work for Google or Facebook, I am going to start my own company, that’s essentially what they’re saying. So that’s a pretty-high standard. But those are the Millennials.

This is something that I think we have to play with. I think… you know we’ll talk about a little more in a second about this, but does the stakeholder theory apply to athletics? I think it applies to athletics in a very macro environment. Think about what is happening in our sport, what is happening in college athletics, with the realignment and the shifting of money. I think stakeholder theory applies.

Think about your own team: are the interests of all the different stakeholders balanced? I know of a university that doesn’t consider the student-athletes as a stakeholder. They are only caring about fans, on the outside, and they are only caring about recruits on the other side. They forget this segment in the middle. And the segment in the middle then suddenly feels less-loved; so when they leave—suddenly they become an alum—and they are less likely to give-back. So there are ramifications. Think about this, think about stakeholder theory, and what exactly it means and it means on your level.

And this is the second one, this is the second takeaway: stakeholder theory balances interests of all groups. But the important thing: capable of adding value to the organization. That’s something that I want to take into the next point—the third and final point, which I’ve kind of edited a little bit.

Alignment
Let’s say you have a business, or you’re going to create a small business, or you are the new head coach, and you’ve got to develop what your strategy is going to be. I would suggest that these would be the questions that you ask yourself.

What resources do you have? Again, go back to that that couple in Budapest: they had a rare resource. And then they were going to try to monetize that rare truffle, that’s found only in Hungary. But what resources do you have? I’ve mentioned I have a 6-lane, 25-yard pool. I don’t see that changing, so that has to be a part of our strategy at Richmond.

Do a SWOT analysis. That [SWOT] is: strengths, weakness, opportunity and threat. Strengths and weakness is going to identify what’s going on internally; opportunities and threats will give you an idea of: are you looking outside of your own house to see what’s on the horizon. What opportunities are there for your program? And then: what threats are kind of nipping, are coming, for you?

What is the structure of your organization? Going back to Google on Facebook: Google suffers because it’s too big—I think the term is gigantism or something like that. There is like 54,000 people at Google—52, somewhere in there. When they try to operate, they’re slow. When they want to make a decision, it’s very slow because decisions have to channel/go through all these different channels. And it’s known; this isn’t my opinion, this is known. Facebook, on the other hand, has 7,000 people. Okay? 52 versus 7. What they’re able to do is when they want to make a decision, if they want to implement a change in their software or their platform, it doesn’t have to go through 50 people; it can go through 2 or 3 and then go right to the developers. Think about that.

What is the structure of your organization? We work in athletics departments. I work in an athletic department that is very, very efficient; you’ve got to be efficient. There is no duplication. You know what duplication is; duplication is I go back from this trip and I submit some reimbursement form and I have to send one to, let’s say I have to send to our finance office and I have to send the next one to our compliance officer. And then somebody comes back later and is like: Matt I never saw the form. That’s triplicate, that’s three forms that I would need to fill out. You don’t want an organization that is so cluttered and so congested that you’re not aligned. (That’s top of that slide.)

What is the structure of your organization? As a coaching staff, do people have defined roles? Does your assistant coach know that they’re going to handle all the equipment, all of the inventory, all of that stuff? I think we have seen staffs before where they kind of move in like one blob. They get it done, they get everything done, they do it gracefully, but they aren’t defined roles. And sometimes you see duplication, and when there is duplication, that’s a waste of time, that’s inefficiency. But as a head coach try to figure out: what’s the structure of your organization; what are the roles defined?

The next two are really important. I think as a coach, as a college coach, I think we need to be asking ourselves this: is risk involved? Don’t assume that there is no risk because there is always risk; in every endeavor there is always risk. You get in a car, there is risk. Everywhere you go, there is risk. As a department or let’s say as a team, as a coach, I understand that there’s a risk of losing my pool—it’s old, it could happen. I understand the risk of… heaven-forbid somebody in our department gets busted for compliance or something, and then suddenly we’re on probation, regulations get tightened—there is risk for that.

But then there are also ways to respond and react to that. One of those is adaptability. And that’s just simply understanding what plan B is. And the last thing is adaptability: are you ready. Essentially, if shit hits the fan, are you ready? And you’ve got to plan on that. Head coaches, those of you who have been around, you know it’s going to happen.

This is simply a couple of questions just to help you to define your strategy. My encouragement… I would like to encourage you to align everything. When I mean by that is align it so you don’t have inefficiencies; things aren’t done in duplicate, people understand their roles. Think about your staff, but then also think about your team. Bill [Wadley] talked about units. Are your units defined? Do they know what their units are? If indeed that’s the case, then chances are it’s going to be pretty easy to get them aligned.

I often think of it as a river. When we start going as a group, our river goes well: it’s smooth, it’s fast, we’re cruising along, everybody understands their role. But then occasionally there’s that young woman on the side who is homesick or boyfriend broke up with her or she had exam or something like that. What can we do to pull her back in and align the system again?

With alignment, I think we, particularly now, we have to find ways to add value. If there are two words that you write down from this right now, those are the two: adding value. If you’re charged in your athletic department to coach a team, I would encourage you to build that team so that it adds value to your athletic department, that it adds value to your school. Likewise with your own actions. Are you adding value to your staff? Are you adding value to your team?

We talk about this as a team, not because of valuation or anything that I learned in business school, but we talk about adding value. Because if somebody is not adding value, they’re taking it. And we all know when somebody can be negative, they take from the team. So we encourage them to add value.

But the reason why I wanted to skip this slide is because I don’t know if you guys are aware, but the Knight Commission up in D.C., I read an article last night they’re coming out with some pretty radical suggestions for college athletics. And the reason why I want to say to add value is because I think we need to be prepared. And I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know what’s coming down the road; but when the former commissioner from the Big 12 says I think we can have college Football and it makes money, therefore we can pay the players. I think college Soccer will make money, therefore we can pay the players. But then I think of all of those friendly Olympics sports, who don’t generate any revenue, can go non-scholarship, drop-down to a club level, we won’t need full-time coaches and we can bring back all those sports that everybody was sad that we missed. That was yesterday; I’m not kidding.

So with this in mind… and my guess is… you know, Joel and I have talked quite a little bit about this, but I think he would support me on that. I know Joel is working hard to make sure that our sport sticks around for a long time.

So this is it; this really was the three points that I wanted you to take from this. Consider supply and demand, because I think there are some pretty crazy things going on there. I think we talked about problem solving; we talked about matching where there is the disequilibrium. Value all stakeholders. Again with the message I just said about the current events, I think this is important to understand who values us and who your program values. And then the last thing, I beg you to add value; find a way to add a way to your campus. Bill Wadley talked about endowing scholarships: that’s great, that’s hard to do. At a school where one scholarship is $60,000, that endowment hill for me is huge. But there are other ways that we can add value, our swimmers and divers, can add value on campus: GPA, community involvement, all of our camps and clinics we can get the community in. We can continue to market in our own special way. But I am going encourage you to add value. Those are really the three main points.

Here are a couple kind of a quotables that I like that I kind of grabbed over the last couple of years. The first one is: competency is much greater than ego. I think we all know people who like to talk and say how good they are. Guys we’re terribly egotistical—I’ll say that. But we all know that people who talk that up and tell you how good they are, they are only good if they’re competent. And going through the business program, I worked with a lot of very smart people, and that’s one thing I learned: that the quiet ones, the quiet geeky ones who are crunching through the Excel spreadsheets, are normally the guys who you want on your team because they are extremely competent. The guys who are telling you how good they are and what classes they have done and how far they are going climb in their company and they want to be VP and all that stuff, they normally are not as good as the competent ones.

Protect your leaders. This isn’t actually talking about the leadership position, the human leadership position, this is actually talking about products. So if you want to roll out a new product, you don’t do so at the sake of destroying your leader. If you have this product that everybody knows, that you work hard on, that your R&D department works on, and manufacture, you do a great job with it. But you start to pull some resources away from that to develop another product, suddenly this product is going to deteriorate and you don’t know what’s going to happen to this one. So protect your leaders is actually talking about product development.

Bet on talent. Don’t we all. Your human resource is your most important resource.

Kill for differentiation. Differentiation is what we all do when we recruit. I know the difference between the University of Richmond and the Ivy Leagues. And what I do is I try to play-up the differentiation to give us a competitive advantage. That doesn’t mean that I am going to take value away from the Ivy Leagues or anything like; I’m just identifying that we are very different. Differentiation works, and we all know that, right, because that’s just recruiting. So: kill for differentiation.

Money isn’t bad. I know that going to business school, the initial response to when I chose to do this, the reaction was people would just assume that I was motivated for money. But the reality is I was just really, really curious. I wouldn’t have changed my experience with the business school for anything.

Then I agree with Bill completely, that we have to continue to grow and we have to look for growth opportunities. I’m going to identify five of them for me, and then I am going to wrap things up. But hopefully you will try to identify what are five growth opportunities for you. I have got two brothers and a great little mom, and a dad who is a pain in the ass most of time. But my brothers and what they do with their lives has really be an opportunity for me to see the world and see what’s going on out there. I identify them as the most significant growth opportunity for me. Another one is when I was in my 20s, I was in the Peace Corps in Kenya. What I learned about myself living in a poor little hut in rural Kenya, it changed me. And equally so, this MBA that I just received, just worked through the last four years, I think has changed me as well. And then the last two were people. One, we had an unfortunate accident: one of our alumni passed-away in May. And then a not-so-unfortunate accident is my wife. And if I go back and talk to you a little bit about the people I thanked at the beginning, I deliberately left off my wife. Some of you may know her; she was a coach for a long time.

(This is the young lady who passed away, and then that’s my wife, Sam, and that’s our baby girl that’s coming in two months.) When I think about growth opportunities and I think about my incentive and my motivation to do this, it was because when I get to this point, I’ll feel good about where I am and hopefully that my potential to be a good father—all that good stuff.

Lastly, are there any questions? How in the world does anybody relate that to Swimming? Yeah, I don’t know? (You guys talk to Joel about that.)

Thank you. Really, I know that your time is valuable; I appreciate you donating an hour of your time to me and hopefully you were given something valuable back. Then the last thing: make the commitment to just add value; try to go out of your way to add value. There are a lot of ways to say play it forward and do all this stuff, but simply add value and do so on your campus and in your community so all of us can continue to do what we do.

And one last thing, you guys, we, have got a great job; we really do. I love the education piece; I love the water piece. For me, I love working with the students at the University of Richmond. I am thankful for the opportunity that they gave me, and I am thankful that they continue to bring-in some of the best and brightest young people I know.

That’s all I got, thank you.

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