Skip Navigation

Yes, I made Tony Dungy Laugh (and I have a picture to prove it)

I wanted to give you a short recap of an event I attended last month with a presentation by a celebrated man (who I made laugh) for a worthy organization.

I recently finished The Soul of a Team: A Modern-Day Fable for Winning Teamwork by Super Bowl–winning coach Tony Dungy and author Nathan Whitaker.

I’ve followed Coach Dungy for many years and have read his (and Whitaker’s) books in my personal quest to grow as a leader of my family, my business and my work teams. I learned that Coach Dungy was speaking at an event in support of the National Sports Business and Leadership Association (SBLA) and decided to check it out. SBLA, founded by Attorney, certified NFL Agent and business and crisis management consultant David Lisko of Holland & Knight, is a non-profit charitable organization for professionals working in sports.

I learned that SBLA’s core mission is to organize a group of professionals working in the sports business industry to discuss trending sports business issues while promoting the charitable goal to provide children in each of their Chapter communities with the resources necessary to engage in unique sports experiences or to attend sports camps.

As described by Lisko: “We hope to change children’s lives by providing opportunities and by assisting them to pursue their dream of playing a varsity sport in college or motivating them to reach for higher goals not previously thought to be achievable.”

The SBLA has chapters in ten major US cities and is actively pursuing the creation of chapters in other cities across the U.S. The talk I attended with my wife Filomena and featuring Coach Dungy, was a part of their ongoing fundraising efforts.

Coach Tony Dungy, and Kevin and Filomena Heaton of at an SBLA event

Coach Dungy spoke about the intersection of faith, community, leadership, and sports. This is detailed in his book and is a reoccurring theme in his approach to coaching greatness; in The Soul of a Team, SOUL stands for Selflessness, Ownership, Unity and Larger Purpose.

Coach Dungy draws on his experiences from years of coaching and working with other leaders and creates a football fable laying out these four essential principles practiced by truly effective teams. The Soul of a Team is designed for those who want to grow and contribute to a stronger, healthier, more productive team destined for success.

There is a study guide that accompanies the book and while the below is a sample, you can review the entire guide with your team at the Publisher Tyndale’s website:


Selflessness: Putting individual needs aside for the good of the team. When was the last time you put a team member’s needs ahead of your own? Or when one or more of your team members put another’s needs before their own? How did that impact you? The other person? Your team?

Ownership: Ownership is fulfilling your role by learning it thoroughly and by consistently giving 100 percent. Ask yourself: How invested are you in your position on a typical day? On a scale of 1 (very low) to 5 (very high), rate yourself according to how present, prepared, positive, and proactive you are.

Unity: Understanding and rallying around your team’s mission, philosophy, and culture through open communication and positive conflict resolution. How open are your team members to giving and receiving input from one another? How do you promote and support your organization’s vision to others? How comfortable are you in engaging in conflict when you believe the team’s mission is at stake?

Larger purpose: Contributing to the wider community in a lasting and significant way. Can you define your team’s larger purpose? If so, how would you explain it to others. What attracts people to work for your team? What does that reveal about its deeper purpose?

The combination of listening to a truly great coach while contributing to a worthwhile, growing organization was a gift for us. You can catch up with David Lisko and the SBLA at a reception in conjunction with the American Bar Association Sports & Entertainment Section Conference on October 12, 2019 at the Four Seasons (Palm Room) in Las Vegas, Nevada. They will be making their presentation of the Annual SBLA Sports Business Person of the Year Award. You can learn more and view all of the images from the September event at the SBLA website.

To learn more about Coach Dungy and his approach to leadership, visit Coach Dungy

As always, you can learn more about at our website.

Related Posts.