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Episode 012 – Arizona Basketball lifer and Bon Voyage Travel President Ryan Hansen

Posted on Oct 13, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Ryan and I talk Miles Simon, Lute Olson, duties NOT assigned and Tahiti.


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**Before we get to the episode, congratulations to Jenny Laisle, winner of our book giveaway – Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently by Don Yaeger.  Jenny was randomly drawn from all of you who left an iTunes rating/review!  Thanks to all of you!**



Ryan Hansen is a president/COO of Bon Voyage Travel, a radio basketball analyst for the University of Arizona, and was a member of the Arizona basketball staff which won the national title in 1997.


  1. So before we go any further why don’t you take a few minutes and take our audience into your journey for a bit.
    1. Out of high school, realized pro athlete wasn’t going to happen, but wanted to stay connected to sports
    2. Became a student manager for men’s basketball
      1. Then Dir. Of Operations
      2. Then Associate AD
    3. Worked for Lute Olsen and then with Sean Miller
      1. Great training ground for learning to do things the right way
    4. Business mentor then gave Ryan the chance to manage a travel agency
      1. Looked at the group of people around him and asked who he would like to spend time with and become more like as he grows
      2. Friendship developed from talking Arizona hoops to business
        1. Find common ground; make personal connection; then grow understanding of each other
        2. Then he handpicked Ryan for the opportunity
  2. I want to ask you first about Arizona basketball in the mid/late 90s.
    1. Tell us about coach Lute Olsen and what you learned from him in terms of leadership?
      1. Best teacher Ryan has ever been around
      2. Going into a season in Nov/Dec; not a more prepared team than Arizona
      3. Stick to fundamentals; practice and drill them; don’t forget them after you’re into the season
        1. 40th day of practice still doing passing and ball handling drills
        2. Preaching these over and over
      4. Three big things
        1. Great preparation
        2. Surround yourself with great people
        3. Do the right thing the first time, because you’ll have to do the right thing eventually!
    2. How about from the players on the championship team? Who were the leaders and how were they able to be effective?
      1. 1993-2011 is when Ryan was close to the program
      2. Three Final Fours and one national title
      3. The best leader of all was Miles Simon
        1. Wanted to win everything, and he did
          1. 3 on 3 drill in November
          2. Summer pickup game
          3. Scout team leader
        2. Rally people around you
        3. Inspire them to be better than they are
        4. Leadership styles (figurative not literal)
          1. Use fear to drive people to kill for you
          2. Inspire people who would die for you
            1. This was Miles
      4. Mike Bibby was the best player, not Miles
      5. Miles didn’t lead the team in scoring (Michael Dickerson)
      6. Best NBA career? Jason Terry coming off the bench as a 6th man
    3. Arizona alumni doing great things
      1. Steve Kerr
      2. Andre Iguodala
      3. Luke Walton
      4. Harvey Mason
      5. Josh Pastner
  3. You now get to observe Coach Sean Miller fairly close up by virtue of your radio announcing. What stands out to you about how he operates and leads his team?
    1. Tough to take over a legendary coach
    2. Pressure on new coach to put his stamp on the program and make it his
    3. Coach Miller doesn’t do that
      1. Respectful of the past
      2. Uses it to his advantage in recruiting
      3. Not afraid of it
      4. Embrace it – isn’t that why you wanted to work with that organization to begin with?!
    4. Meticulous prior to any situation (practice; speech; halftime talk)
      1. Nothing off the cuff
      2. Prepares for every word
      3. Example – 2011 (5) Arizona v. (1) Duke in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
        1. Arizona blows Duke out to go to Elite 8
        2. On the way to the locker room; he stops and collects himself for about 30 seconds to prepare for the postgame speech
          1. We haven’t arrived yet; there’s a bigger purpose
          2. Celebrate this moment, but move ahead
        3. You can be prepared and be authentic at the same time
  4. What was the greatest challenge you faced when transitioning out of university/athletics life to the corporate world?
    1. When you’re on campus working with student-athletes, there is an energy that comes from working with young people pursuing their dreams
    2. In the corporate world you have to create that
      1. People are sometimes there just to collect a check, not wanting to get better
      2. Range of people from entry level to near/at retirement
    3. Goals in athletics were pretty easy to come up with; not as easy in the corporate world
    4. Overseeing 50+ people changes things; responding to the daily demands/requests on your time
    5. Good advice – find time to work on the business rather than in the business
      1. 5 year plans
      2. Staffing/personnel
      3. Infrastructure
      4. Business relationships
      5. Open door policy not always the best way; you’ll always be in the business rather than on it
  5. As leaders we all make mistakes. Can you recall a leadership mistake you have made, and what you learned from it?
    1. Bon Voyage
      1. Introduced new ways to do things to employees
      2. Didn’t do it the best way
        1. Need to show your team why it will benefit them
        2. Not just the value to the company
      3. Still something he has to consciously think about when making changes
  6. What advice do you have for young professionals who are striving to be better leaders or maybe even trying to get that first opportunity to lead?
    1. Just attended a conference with some of the best travel agents in the country
    2. Speaker talked about the generations
      1. What is one piece of advice for a millennial on their first day of work?
        1. Be on time – shows the person you’re meeting that you care
        2. Make yourself invaluable
          1. Started for him as camp counselor at Arizona
          2. Determined to be the best counselor; to go above and beyond
          3. Other duties NOT ASSIGNED; rather than other duties as assigned
          4. Can’t be easily replaced; need three people to replace him
    3. Don’t ask team to do things you aren’t willing to do (clean break rooms; more chairs; document
  7. What habits have been key to your success?
    1. When he’s home from work, the cell phone is off until the kids go to bed (between 6pm and 8 or 8:30pm
      1. Recharges batteries
      2. Have passions outside of work, and make commitment to them
      3. 6pm-8pm emails can wait and be resolved at 8pm, almost always
    2. Jim Rosborough quote: “If you make yourself completely accessible, you end up being inaccessible to the people that you care about.”
  8. Best travel destinations
    1. To unplug and getaway – Tahiti
      1. Hawaii of 50 years ago
      2. Oasis
    2. For history – China
      1. Great Wall
      2. Forbidden City
      3. Xi’an – Terracotta Warriors (spelling?)
  9. Where can people go to learn more about you or Bon Voyage Travel?
    2. Tunein radio; Arizona basketball for all the games
    3. @uaryno

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over



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