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No End Runs

An “End Run” happens when someone in the organization goes around the leader and goes directly to a senior leader. They usually are complaining or seeking direction.

The way you solve this is to first, listen. Take everything in that the person has to say. After clarifying and getting everything out on the table, ask “The Question.”

The Question

Okay, I’ve heard you. Now, I have one question. Are you going to tell them? Or am I? Because one of us needs to.”

That’s it.

Avoid the trap of bad habits. If you don’t address the behavior of coaches and other staff members with “The Question”, you will effectively cut your manager off at the knees – and prevent them from being effective.

A Few Clarifying Points

When you see an “End Run”, it’s not okay to give directives or solve the problems. Additionally, it’s not okay to just listen to a complaint and then let it die.

“End Runs” need to go somewhere. They need to go to the leader in charge.

And please, perhaps the worst thing that you could ever do is complain about the individual’s manager. Continual feedback and issues you keep running into should be addressed one-on-one.


Follow this simple, three step framework. It will eventually drive out”End Runs” and help us all be more productive and efficient:

  1. Recognize an End Run when it happens.

  2. Use “The Question.”

  3. Leaders, recognize the power of your words. Remember, everything that comes out of your mouth moves the rudder of that ship, at least a little bit.


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