The 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business - and Life

By Jon Gordon

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ben reed
Absolutely loved this book. Gordon and Smith do a great job balancing each other as well as ideas. I love the fact they included conversations with Coach Smith regarding the struggles of the Atlanta Falcons while he was in charge. Many authors would only include the "feel good" parts, and omit the trials and tribulations. This book is great for beginning coaches as well as veterans. It emphasizes many of the topics that many of us think about daily, and encourages the reader to focus on the important things within their team or organizations-- loving people, building relationships, and fostering an environment where everyone is included, challenged, and feels a part of the team. Well done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I recently accepted a position as an internal consultant in call centers and I had been struggling trying to figure out the best path to achieve my goals. After reading You Win in the Locker Room First I have a clear vision based on the 7 C's. My roadmap to leadership success is starting with building a culture of coaching and I have a new perspective on the importance of consistency. This book is a must read for any leader. The clarity you will feel on how to lead your team after you finish is amazing!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anne mulder
As a principal I am always looking for books that will inspire me and my staff. This book is spot on. I LOVE Jon Gordon and his books and this one did not disappoint. Gordon and Smith have delivered a book that will get you and your team ready to commit to doing great things. It does all begin behind the scenes whether it be the locker room, the work room or the conference room the plans we make today become the reality tomorrow. This is a must read for all leaders!
War Room Bible Study - Bible Study Book :: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith - Just Walk Across the Room :: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness - The Quiet Room :: The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel :: The Room on Rue Amélie
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
becca tillotson
You win in the Locker Room First is another world class Jon Gordon book. Highly recommend all high school, college, and professional athletic directors, admin folks and coaching staff read and apply the many lessons Jon and Mike provide. Got a copy of the book to read and then share with my daughter's HS AD since he is a bit unaware of how demotivational some of his coaches are. The 7 step action plan is very easy to follow and will lead to vast improvement. Also recommend Jon's web page which is filled with a plethora of free materials.
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esther chen
"You Win In the Locker Room First" was not what I expected at all. It was much better than I could have anticipated. This book is for all ages, populations, genders and professions.

First a message to female readers: ladies, do not let the book title concern you or fool you into thinking that it is a coaching book for male athletes, coaches and sports professionals. Wrong. Yes, the premise of the book is cloaked around principles often applied to sports, the message is clearly about leadership. The message is one that applies to: single parents leading their children into being "the best version of themselves," families who want to be an united team, professionals who want to make a difference in their career whether it is in the boardroom, classroom or sports arena; retired people who still have a place and purpose for mentoring and leading others, and anyone who wants to positively affect people's lives for the better. Professional sport teams will benefit from the book co-written by best-selling author, Jon Gordon,and former Atlanta Falcon head coach, Mike Smith. Their united "voices" throughout the book blend the best of both their worlds of motivational speaking and coaching.

"You Win in the Locker Room First" is more than inspiring; it is a guidebook for life. Every page has a nugget of wisdom that will inspire, teach and encourage readers to strive to be leaders, team players and mentors with lessons that originate in the locker room. The book is built on 7 C's with a chapter devoted to each: culture, contagious, consistent, communicate, connect, commitment and care.

The book is NOT about how to win, but instead focuses on the importance of putting culture, people and process first. The result usually produces winning, but the focus is on the journey not the destination.

"You Win in the Locker Room First" should be required reading for high school coaches who are often the developers and early mentors of athletes with character. Often these coaches "develop their character so they are the kind of people that coaches that a Coach K (Duke University, Durham, NC) would want to recruit."

I know this to be true because my father was a revered high school football coach, loved by all for his great leadership and love for his athletes. He inspired every player with his ability to coach and teach with love. He built championship teams and left a legacy - something Jon and Mike speak of at the end of the book. "No statue, no building, or road named in your honor can compare to the legacy you leave in the lives of others. " (page 151)

For those who want to have a winning life and/or a winning team, I recommend sitting down one evening and reading this book. Next to the Bible, it is the most inspirational book in my home. These words will inspire you to put others first; in the process you will become a winner in life whether you are a single person, or the coach of a NFL franchise. "You Win in the Locker Room First" is the perfect gift. Give it to yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gavin owens
Jon Gordon's books have changed my life in such a positive way. This one may be his best one yet. I loved it.

As all of Jon's books have been, this book is simple, short and applicable to so many people. Buy it, you will not regret it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debra robillard
A legitimate self help book that is easy to read! I love how this book is easy to read and has take aways that are easily applied in real life. Jon Gordon did a great job with this book and I will add it to the collection of required reading for new employees at work. I have a pile of long, boring self help books from the past, Jon Gordon has revolounized this category but writing another great story that provides legimate ways we can all improve our lives
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer vilaga
I absolutely loved this book! I have read several books on developing team culture and leadership, and this one was possibly the best. Whether you have years of experience, or are just starting coaching, this book will be an extremely valuable add to your library. X's and O's matter, but it's the culture that you create that will truly determine whether or not your team is successful.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alicia weaver
As a coach at the collegiate level, this is a book that I have literally used daily. It was a easy read with clear points that can definitely help to think about the growth of any team. We have incorporated strategies that Jon Gordon and Mike Smith talk about in the book including creating and controlling a positive culture, commitment of team and leaders, and caring about the people you work with and for on more than a superficial level.

I would absolutely recommend this book to any leader or team member.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt hempey
Jon Gordon is my favorite author because his books connect great inspirational/motivational messages in heart warming stories. His latest book "You Win in the Locker Room First" is another great book on what is truly important when building a winning culture in sports, business, or at home. Mike Smith brings great insights from his experiences that help in understanding why the 7 C's are so important. If you are interested in having a roadmap to building team success this book is a must.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristin buckmaster
I have read many of Jon Gordon's books and have enjoyed them all. He writes in such a simple, yet deep way that embodies conversations. His newest book, "You Win in the Locker Room First" is very similar except it's almost as if Jon and Coach Mike Smith are sitting at a table having a deep philosophical discussion on what it takes to build an organization. They go back and forth giving great examples of what they have seen that has worked in organizations and sports teams. What also takes place is that Coach Smith is very open and honest about what doesn't work as well. To offer this differing perspective not only validates both authors as authentic, but as real people as well.

As I read this book, I couldn't help but relate to so many instances that I have been a part of. I have worked in the business world as a graphic designer, the sports world as a basketball coach, and in the education world as a teacher. No matter what type of business that you're in, the "7 Cs to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life" will bring everything to the heart of what sustains great organizations: Culture. As one who has seen great cultures and not so good cultures, I can attest that "Culture drives expectations and beliefs: expectations and beliefs drive behavior; behavior drives habits; and habits create the future. It all starts with culture."

Throughout the book there are the "7 Cs." Each chapter could be a whole book in itself, but Jon and Coach Smith give very small little "sermons" (my word) about each topic. Each of them are usually a couple of pages and give an encounter of that trait in action. Each one is beneficial to the reader as they see a real life example and not something that is fictional. I like how if I need an area to improve, I can go right to the small heading and read about "Letting Go of Your Ego," or "Consistency Wins in the Locker Room," or "Love Tough," or "Serve to be Great." and many others.

At the back of the book, Jon and Coach Smith included an Action Plan to help you get started in changing the culture of your team that sums out the entire book.

I will be using this book to reinforce the culture of my 6th grade Social Studies classroom, the teacher team that I belong to, my 8th grade basketball team that I coach, the school that I teach at, and most importantly, my family. Lost in the shuffle of creating good teams/organizations is that families can be neglected. Coach Smith and Jon reeled me back and reminded me that "We only get one shot to be a parent or a spouse and commit to our 'team' at home." Coach Smith also mentioned that "It doesn't matter how much success you have in your career; if you fail at home you are a failure."

One of the other sections that I greatly admire is "Beyond the 7 Cs." It talks about things like "Focus on the Process" (instead of the outcome), "Creating Your Own Style of Leadership"(something I had to do and can greatly relate), and "Lead Your Leaders." Lead Your Leaders states that, "No matter what role you play in your organization, you can lead from where you are and help your leaders be their best." No matter who you are, there is still leadership and culture to be taught. The rest of this section gives more great detail about how to conduct yourselves while leading an organization.

I have recommended this book to many people so far, and know that it is something that should be read by everyone. No matter where you are in life, "The past is gone. Every year is a fresh start to focus on the process, develop your fundamentals, and build a winning team."

Off topic, but something that I did a long time ago and really enjoy getting is Jon's weekly email. It goes out every Monday and I always find something in it that helps me throughout the week. I read this one a long time ago and keep a tennis ball on my desk in my classroom. I bet I have one student a week ask my why there is a tennis ball on my desk. I then send them the link. You can sign up for it at

For more information on the book -

To contact Jon Gordon
[email protected]
jongordon11 on Instagram
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stasha barger
Jon Gordon and Milke Smith provide you with the template for developing a culture that attracts and retains top talent. Each chapter provides leaders with the tools to connect, collaborate and conquer behaviors that derail high performance and limit results. If you are a leader buy the the book now and put into place the principles that will achieve the outcomes that will inspire your employees, create raving fans and excite your shareholders!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lars townsend
This book is one of the best books I have personally read this year. The collaboration between Jon Gordon and coach Mike Smith is so fantastic in this book that it simply prevents you from putting it down. "You Win In The Locker Room First" allows the readers to get acquainted with coach Mike Smith on a personal level, all the while learning from his, and Jon Gordon's wisdom and terrific advice. This book is a must read for sure!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen salem
Amazing book for all types of leaders. You don't have to be a coach or a boss to care about the information that is presented here. It is sound, relevant advice to help anybody step up and be a leader. The honesty that Jon Gordon and Mike Smith share about their own mistakes is very thought provoking. This is a must read for anybody looking to improve the way that they lead their family, career, or daily life!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sean jenan
This is by far one of the most important books that Jon Gordon has ever written. It is a MUST read for all coaches and anyone who is trying to turn around any type of organization. Culture can turn or tear down an organization despite its talent level. This book gives you a clear guideline on how to build team culture with real life examples from a NFL coach. This book definitely goes to the top shelf of the bookcase!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When it comes to motivating and connecting with a team, who better than Jon Gordon and Mike Smith to share their insight. The approach is always clear and relatable which helps readers apply the learning to their own unique situation. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to create alignment within their organization or just to create more talking point for their coaching session. The uses for this book are infinite.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
krista perdue
Another inspiring book from Jon Gordon! I really enjoyed Mike Smith's perspective and input in this book. I'm buying this book for our kids coaches and other role models for gifts! I loved the book even though I'm not a coach as I could relate it to my own family life and as a leader in the workplace.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I found this book incredibly helpful to me, particularly as a coach. However, it can apply to any setting. Each time I started a new chapter, I thought "this is the "C" I need the most." It was incredibly challenging and thought provoking while presenting practical ways to apply what I was reading. I'm looking forward to sharing this book with colleagues and seeing how it shapes the culture of our team this year and years to come.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
daniel perez
Jon Gordon always does a great job giving his readers a practical and productive way to improve themselves and their "team" whether its a sports team, business team, family... whatever. This book is no different, and Mike Smith's insight of running a successful team in the NFL adds an extra dimension to Jon's work. Smith illustrates the rise and fall of his Falcons, giving us all a check on our own hubris. Add this one to your collection!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kate damrich lloyd
I received an advance copy from Jon Gordon and dug into it as soon as it arrived. Great read!

Jon Gordon and Mike Smith do a fantastic job of providing actionable ways to build a successful team. It is very clearly written and inspiring!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
betty rose williams
These principles are so true. As an Activities Director at a public High School, I am always looking for ways to encourage, challenge and improve the Coaching Staff. Coupling You Win in the Locker Room First with The Hard Hat gave me a platform to facilitate discussion across the various activities and sports, as well as incorporate content into the evaluation setting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is a must read for anyone in a position of leadership. While the context of the book is related to a football team and the culture surrounding a coach, the lessons are universal for anyone who wants to improve as a leader and really just become a better overall person who others enjoy being around. This book is an easy read but the lessons are things that will stick with you and help you grow into a great leader!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimberley johnson
An incredible, must read for every leader. Simple but vitally important concepts, that if put in place, will lead to great success for any team. This book keeps your attention throughout and each chapter leaves you wanting to read more. Whether you are a leader of large cooperation, own your on business or just lead your family, you will greatly benefit from reading this book. Jon & Mike have done an awesome job!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michelle munch
Once again Jon Gordon hits his mark and this time his collaboration with Coach Mike Smith produces a sure fire Winner! With a strong emhasis on Culture,Jon and Mike provide their readers with a systematic approach that will allow leaders and their teams to achieve heights not previously imagined.
What is most admirable and authentic is the vulnerability that both authors reveal when discussing their own personal failures. It is the ability to overcome these failures as a result of the implementation of the seven C's that makes reading this book such a worthwhile endeavor, Those who lead must follow the wisdom shared throughout the pages of this book. As you read you cannot help but feel that the overall approach makes sense and will only help to improve the lives of those you lead. You Win In the Locker Room First will leave you inspired and continue to ignite your passion for those that you serve and the missions that you collectively seek to accomplish.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Another Jon Gordon book, that will lead you to success in more than just your work life! "You Win in the Locker Room First" has many relevant and amazing stories in order to be the leader you have always wanted to be. It teaches you to commit to the process, create a culture of excellence, and keep your positivity in the worst of times. Well worth the read, you won't be able to put it down!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clare flynn
Game-changing book that will help to drive home what it takes to be a leader, winner and champion on and off the "field", in and out of the office and in every day life. If you have read Jon Gordon's books before, this one is a great addition to your collection and if you have not yet, do not miss out on this one! Amazing read for anyone looking to get better (hopefully that is everyone).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrea downing
This book is a must read for any organization. If you are wanting to change the way your organization, school or team are functioning or even give them a boost - you need to read this book. Mike Smith's honest stories about his experiences paired with Jon Gordon's expertise provide a book full of reminders, great ideas and tips for success.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
roisin mckavanagh
FANTASTIC!!! An incredible book that will help everyone who wants to grow, increase mindset and achieve more in their business and in their teams. Some wonderful quotes from Mike Smith-my favourite is "There are no bad days-only bad moments". Great insight, great advice and overall a book to guide you to success.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jon Gordon has always had a way of inspiring others and helping them find success. You Win In the Locker Room First is no different. In fact, it is the best yet. Everything he shares can have an impact on those who read it and can be applied to their everyday life, work, and team. There is a reason this has become a best seller so fast. Pick up your copy today!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
paula miranda
This is absolutely a must for any type of organization, be it a corporate business , an athletic organization or a school system. You will not be disappointed. The 7 Cs give you a step by step process to make yourself a better leader for your team and your team better individuals. When you become " an over believer" your team will become over achievers! Jon and his partner Mike Smith, former coach of the Atlanta Falcons, have such an easy style about their writing that it makes this a quick read. You will hear from them what to do and NOT to do to have a successful organization from the top down and the bottom up. I can not say enough about it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ross neilson
As a Leader with a Fortune 500 company and Head High School Basketball Coach Jon Gordon
And Mike Smith have made a Slam Dunk on How you need to Win in the Locker Room First and the 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life. Great tool I will be using everyday. Don't procrastinate get your copy today!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Another classic written piece from Jon Gordon and Mike Smith! You Win in the Locker Room First, captures your attention immediately and takes you on a journey of the values and principles winning team's possess to ultimately find success on and off the field. This is a must read for coaches and those who work in a team setting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna parsons lamb
This is another amazing book by Jon Gordon. I love how it goes back and forth in the book with something from Jon and then something from Mike Smith. I also liked the inside NFL perspective from Coach Smith. The 7 C's to Build Winning Teams can be used for an athletic team or in the work place. I highly recommend this book!
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leah sims
This is a great book and must read! I have read all of Jon Gordon's Books and this one is fantastic. You will not be disappointed. If you are looking at building a winning team or looking to grow professionally, ​you need to read this book.
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julia berglund
A must read for every leader or coach!! Mike Smith uses a behind-the-scenes look at his time with the Falcons, and honest transparency to teach valuable leadership lessons. Jon Gordon, once again, ties those lessons together beautifully to teach the reader real-life everyday applications!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jon's books are must have for any leader, coach or CEO. He does a great job taking complex situations and breaking them down into simple solutions. I have three of his other books, and this book might be his best yet. A must have!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
irma arricivita
Jon Gordon strikes again. This book is amazing. Love that Mike Smith is involved and talks about the successes and failures he had during his time in Atlanta. Mike and Jon compliment themselves fantastically. This book is a must for anyone who wants to improve their leadership practices.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katelyn summerhays
Great book. Easy to read, yet packed full of nuggets to ponder. Football fans will love the personal examples of key games from Coach Mike Smith. Jon Gordon always has words of encouragement and inspiration. Thank you guys. Great teamwork!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
frank balint
This is an absolute must read. No matter whether you're a coach, business owner, player, or anything in between, you definitely need to buy this book. Real stories from real people with good advice to make you and your team or organization better. Don't miss out!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a must buy for anyone who is looking to build a successful team or business. Jon Gordan and Mike Smith's lessons on how to create a winning culture fills this book. This is a book that you would read over and over again to help you and your team find success.
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stephen soukup
I love Jon Gordon's books and You Win in the Locker Room First is another winner! I would recommend this book for teams and leaders. I look forward to incorporating it into my leadership meetings next year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is one of the best books I have read that deal with every aspect of life. It will help you no matter what you do. It is written so it is an "easy read," yet so beneficial! I would highly recommend you read this book, no matter what you do.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pryscilla dechaviony
Jon Gordon did not disappoint in this book. His authentic conversations and his anecdotes are always inspiring. This book should be read to teams across the country. Each athlete can relate to Jon and and Coach Mike Smith. Great read to all readers.
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cb davis
One of the best books I've read. As a coach of 25+ years, this is an amazing and useful book. Great way to motivate our athletes. I bought two book for both of my children that are starting out in the coaching field.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
patty meadors
Many coaches know their sport inside and out, study strategy, watch film, plan efficient practices that push their teams, but their players performance hits a ceiling and they are stuck, regardless of training. Gordon and Smith give the reader easy to execute but often overlooked tools to break through any plateau and reach the performance heights they are seeking. I could highlight every paragraph, this is the real deal for coaches, or leaders of any kind of team that deals with people.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
linda grischy
Another great book by Jon Gordon. A great resource to building a positive culture that about more than success. Mike Smith's insights show that failures can rise out of failures. I use the book with college teams and high schools.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jon Gordon and Mike Smith lay out a great blue print on how to build a successful organization. Jon is a master teacher and Coach Smith's honesty is off the charts. Amazing quotes and practical lessons for anyone interested in helping others grow!
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shawn elkins
This is an outstanding book. We are using it with all of our leadership team. Jon Gordon has remarkable insight. Mike Smith gives excellent commentary and real world example. This is a homerun. Thank you for your contribution.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anthony paul
Amazing book for coaches, businesses leaders, and more. I would strongly encourage anyone whom serves in a leadership role to invest the time to read this book. It shares great ideas and places value on a winning culture.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really enjoyed the book. Give us very practical things that we could utilize in the workplace. I enjoyed the back-and-forth between Jon and Mike. It was a nice mix real world experience from a coaches perspective and an author with wonderful experience!
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baron greystone
Jon Gordon and Mike Smith's collaboration on this book gives every leader the encouragement and lessons they need to help grow their team's culture. A must read for every coach, educator, and business leader. You won't be disappointed.
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mihai simu
Jon Gordon and Mike Smith formed a great team to share the 7 C's as a strategy to build a winning team. Great insight from both on practical application of the 7 C's in a variety of environments (family to business to athletics). Jon's books are always a hit and this one is another winner. If you're trying to build and/or nurture a winning culture, this book is for you!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Another fantastic book from Jon Gordon. This is one to keep with you at all times! Great insight from former NFL coach Mike Smith on what he did that was successful and sharing what led to his eventual dismissal from the Falcons. Highly recommend for anyone working in a team setting. Some great quotes and stories that will stick with you the entire time.
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grace lee
I found it from a very limited perspective - male written, mainly male sports (football, baseball, basketball, etc.). As this was a required read for a coaching position and it wasn't something I chose to read I didn't read it in it's entirety but if I remember correctly the first mention of a female sport was chapter 5 and dealing on how to basically deal with drama (not written as "drama" but emotions) which I found very offensive. After Ch. 5 I stopped reading it as I found it very biased and sexist. There are better books on coaching than this book.
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darcy christ
Jon Gordon stole this entire concept from an original presentation my company gave at a conference (at which he was a guest speaker after releasing "Energy Bus"). Only, my company's CMO created the EIGHT C's. It makes me wonder if all of the other ideas on which he made money were from somebody else also.
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