Stop Talking – Start Teaching

by | May 13, 2019

The first advice I give to leaders…”Stop talking, start teaching”.

Last weekend we saw a wonderful example of this.

Jarryd Roughead, champion Hawthorn player and captain was dropped from the senior team last week. From a performance perspective, he responded by kicking five goals, but an act that just happened to be captured on video was far more significant.

In the field of battle, in the middle of the MCG, Jarryd is seen taking time to coach his young opponent, Reuben William. I have never seen this before in 35 years of involvement in the AFL. It is a wonderful moment.

Jarryd Roughead has had quite the football journey, four Premierships and the captaincy of his great club, but also a career put on hold by his courageous fight with cancer. He has achieved so much as a player, but it seems his best is yet to come. 

When leaders undertake the programs we offer at designCEO, the question isn’t “What did I learn today?”, it is “What can I teach tomorrow?”.

Challenge yourself to answer this same question when you finish that podcast that captured your attention, or that book that just made sense.

Take the time to write a few notes, collect those important first thoughts, the memorable quote, the compelling argument, the insightful take.

Then build into your routine deliberate time away from the busyness of your day-to-day, to curate your thoughts by aligning the new thinking against your personal experiences and current beliefs.

Have they shifted, changed your view, or added greater depth and meaning to your understanding, be it your broader view of leadership, or a more specific, perhaps tactical approach to your leadership challenge?

Finally, ask yourself “Can I teach it?”.

This question will force you to go even deeper, test your assumptions, seek feedback, as well as encourage important conversations with trusted colleagues, acknowledging their wisdom, and adding even greater depth to your understanding.

This process requires humility, courage and generosity. The vulnerability of not knowing, the bravery to acknowledge this, and then magnanimity to share your learning.

In elite sport, and in my experience, it is the curious and courageous learner-teacher that separates the great coaches.

Allan Jeans is my favourite example, and his influence on generations of footballers is evidence of his remarkable leadership legacy.

As a personal reflection, my greatest regret as a leader is not spending more time teaching. There were too many times I allowed myself to get lost in far less meaningful aspects of leadership.

If you understand what really matters, you get to enjoy what seems to matter.

Teaching matters.


I always enjoy the opportunity to talk all things culture and high-performance, and the development of leaders to achieve it.

Here are three ways to start the ball rolling:

  • I teach and coach an integrated leadership performance system utilising sophisticated learning models and systems garnered from elite team sport, ideal for leaders who are committed learners, who understand the responsibility of leadership. To learn more, please arrange your FOC 30-minute leadership telephone consult to discuss your personal, team or organisational challenges or aspirations, please use this link.
  • Participate in our next one-day Leadership Masterclass which I personally facilitate. It is a sophisticated, intimate and practical leadership intensive for aspirational leaders, both current and emerging. To learn more, and to register, please use this link.
  • Sign up for the “More to the Game” weekly email, and receive a copy of my “What business can learn from football” White Paper. The emails are short leadership reflections, no more than a couple of minutes to read and we will always treat our communication with respect. Please use this link.

You can also contact me at and let me know how you think we can work together.

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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