Neil Phillips


Move The Goal Posts!

Do you…

* See colleagues running into the same obstacles over and over again?
* Often hear “But, that’s the way we’ve always done it” as a reason for why a much-needed change isn’t made?
* Think “standard operating procedure” is compromising employee effectiveness?

For decades, football players were forced to contend with a potent obstacle, one that no amount of offensive scheming or athleticism could overcome. In addition to the 11 uniformed defenders, runners and receivers had to perform their duties while trying to avoid an unmovable and unforgiving impediment; the goal posts. Finally, after 41 years of head-on collisions in which players were cruelly upended (not to mention, forever humiliated), decision-makers took action and moved to the goal posts to the back of the end zone, safely out of everyone’s way.

Why did it take so long to address and solve such an obvious problem?

Good question. What can organizations learn from this amusing, mind-boggling, and logic-defying example? Move the Goal Posts! answers this and addresses other key issues, such as:

* What are the 3 must-ask questions to identify the “goal posts” (obstacles to progress) in your business?
* What is the secret to motivating people to embrace change, rather than reject it?
* What are the 7 reasons new ideas get doomed to failure?
* What can leaders do to ensure a successful transition to a better way of doing business?

Move the Goal Posts! introduces the P4 Pathway - People-Process-Productivity-Profits: a step by step methodology for establishing a course of breakthrough action that unifies and invigorates those around it.

“Move the Goal Posts” will become a water-cooler metaphor for the question “Isn’t it about time we make this obviously needed change?”



Visible Men: Unveiling Black Male Role Models
Visible Men: Unveiling Black Role Models will highlight a few of the many successful black men in America. It will present them as the role models they are, and will explore their views on triumph and achievement.

Organizational Culture/Diversity

Cultural Cash: The Currency that Counts
The Cultural Cash concept provides organizations with a common language to assess and address their atmosphere of teamwork. It leads people towards the elusive, yet magical element of team chemistry which, once achieved, fuels organizations to new heights of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Organizational Change

Move the Goal Posts: Finding Solutions to Age-Old Problems

Youth Sports

Moral Victory: Restoring Purpose and Meaning to Youth Sports
Sadly, in sports parlance, the term “moral victory” has somehow come to represent an undesirable result. How can that be? Moral victory should be the end goal of every practice and game that takes place on the youth sports playing fields. Through a comprehensive review of the dilemmas in the youth sports world, Moral Victory will inspire addressees to rededicate themselves to the “higher-calling” of character education through youth sports.

Enough!: Battling the MORE of Youth Sports
Enough! will examine the prevailing mindset in youth sports that more is better. The book will assert that we are sacrificing the educative quality of our programs in favor of unchecked escalation (e.g. more games, more travel, longer seasons). Enough! will reveal how the MORE attitude is adversely affecting players, coaches, parents, and administrators.

Spiritual Sports: Transcending Self through Sports
In order to be successful, teams must have players and coaches who rise to the challenge of lifting others to new heights of achievement. For this to take place, individuals must place their wants and needs behind those of the group. This is the single greatest aspect of team sports. Spiritual Sports celebrates this sacrifice of self and elevation of others and names it as the most virtuous of pursuits. It reveals the personal fulfillment found through placing personal second and challenges us to apply this gracious practice to our lives beyond sports.

The Last Runner: Celebrating Winners Who Lose
We are a society that is infatuated by winning and “winners”, even at the youth sports level. This obsession causes us as youth sports coaches, parents, and administrators to neglect our responsibility to all youth sports participants, most notably, the ones who don’t stand out. The Last Runner will artfully celebrate the merit and virtue that is too often overlooked in non-winners. It will honor and dignify the non-winner as a valuable source of inspiration. It will highlight the societal need to recognize non-winners as leaders and motivators. Finally, and most importantly, it will remind the adults in the youth sports world to commit to every young athlete with whom they work, whether they are stand-outs, occasional victors, or last runners.

Medal Counts: Saving Youth Sports from our Obsession with Winning
Our country is obsessed with winning. As an example, we track medals won during Olympic competition. Is this curious tally of medals consistent with the spirit of the competition? Are we hoping to claim to win the Olympics? Many would say ‘no’. Nothing satisfies our competitive needs as much as scoring more points, goals, or runs than our opponent. While acknowledging the instructive merits of striving for victory, Medal Counts will explore strategies to prevent the pursuit of winning from overwhelming the educational interests of youth sports.


Neil Phillips is a 1989 graduate of Harvard University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature. He is the Head of the Upper School at Landon School, an independent boys day school in Bethesda, Maryland. Neil has had an illustrious career as an athlete, coach, entrepreneur, and educator.

At Harvard, Neil was a standout athlete. He was named Athlete of the Year by the Harvard Independent in 1989. He was a member of the football and basketball teams, making him one of the rare student-athletes to play both sports at the Division 1 level. In addition, Neil is the only athlete in Harvard’s history to receive All-Ivy League honors in both sports.

Neil has spent much of his professional life educating young people, primarily through the vehicle of athletics. In 1994, he founded One on One Basketball, a year-round instructional program for aspiring players. Since its inception, the organization has worked with over 15,000 young players nationally and abroad. From 1999-2002, Neil served as Coaching Education Manager for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Based at Stanford University, PCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the culture of youth sports. Through workshops for coaches, sports parents, league administrators, and athletes, PCA’s mission is to “transform youth sports so sports can transform youth”. In his role as Coach Education Manager, Neil helped design, develop, and deliver workshops to thousands of coaches across the country. In 2002-03 Neil served as a consultant for Team Up for Youth Sports, an Oakland, California based foundation that supports youth sports initiatives in lower-income communities. Neil is passionate about his belief in the value of athletics as a vehicle for character education of young people.

In 2003, Neil became the Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach at Landon. In his administrative role, he successfully orchestrated several school-wide and departmental change initiatives. In addition, Neil taught English at the middle and upper school levels. In June of 2005, Neil was appointed to the position of Head of the Upper School. As the first African-American to hold this post at Landon, Neil is a prominent leader in helping the school deliver on its promise to become a fully integrated and racially diverse community. In addition to his many administrative roles, Neil teaches public speaking.

An experienced and accomplished public speaker, Neil is a member of the National Speakers Association. In addition, Neil is currently authoring his first book, Visible Men: Unveiling Black Male Role Models.

Through his experiences as an athlete and educator, Neil embodies a unique perspective as a spokesperson on race relations, diversity issues, organizational culture, and character education of young people.



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