When I first started coaching college basketball, I did what any good daughter would do, I called my father and asked, “Dad, what offense should I run?”

He said, “Honey, it doesn’t matter.”

“What do you meant that it doesn’t matter?”

“What matters is if you can get your team to run the offense.”

So today, when I am no longer coaching college basketball but C-Suite executives, I remember his wisdom. During my tenure as a coach, my teams won a National Championship, and played in the Elite Eight three times.

What made the difference in those years that we won was that we played together.

Playing together seems like such a simple concept…and it is…but I will tell you this that it is NEVER easy. Many concepts are simple….but not easy…like forgiveness and unconditional

love to name a few. Playing together is a challenge because when dealing with teams of any sort—whether athletic, nonprofit, or corporate, you are dealing with people…and people have a lot of baggage.

Leaders used to tell people—leave your personal life at the door. Right! Just leave that mind behind and don’t take it with you when you come to work. Leave behind your divorce, the spouse who had an affair, your child who is terminally ill, your looming bankruptcy, your drinking, gambling, or drug problem. Just leave them at the door. You can’t do that because you cannot separate from who you think you are.

We define ourselves by what happens to us.

In fact, we don’t see life as it is. We see life as we are.

The challenge with leadership goes way beyond creating a successful service or product, because it is people who create products and services. Take a moment to think about what ruins a good organization…people who get greedy, jealous, angry, and take advantage of others. Leaders who forget that they are in the business of relationships. Yes, leaders must know how to create strategies, visions, and missions. They must know how to negotiate, delegate, and communicate. They must understand processes, services, and products, but the one thing that most leaders overlook is relationships.

There is no business without relationships.

In fact, relationships are the business. The biggest relationship that most leaders fail at is: The one with themselves. We tend to mess relationships up big time…and then because we avoid, deflect, or stuff the emotions we should be dealing with—those emotions come out on other people. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Hurt people hurt.” Let me say that differently, “Hurt people who don’t deal with their pain are the ones who hurt others.”

If you want to get the best from your team members, remember what my father said to me over 35 years ago, “What matter is if you can get your team to run the offense.” Invest in building relationships, especially the one with yourself.