Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Little Fanfare...

I am taking my team captains through the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie right now.  I really enjoy going to this book.  I do it about twice a year.  When I first read it some years ago, I realized how simple most of those truths are, but at the same time how difficult to achieve.  We are coming towards the end of our swim season for high school.  This means that we need to start getting all of our banquet stuff and order.  That reminds me of one of the most important principles that I learned from Kevin, and from Dale Carnegie. 

None of us ever really understood why, but Kevin was always really big on what he used to call "closure."  Whenever somebody was going to leave our ministry back at Hillside community Church, he would always make sure that we did something really cool for that person.  I mean, not that we did it for everybody.  But if you are therefore any significant amount of time (and I'm sure you can figure what that means for your program) then you were definitely honored.

In fact, I remember when I was about to move on from the church, Kevin really made me feel special.  I have since begun to understand what it means to put into practice what it means to have good closure.  And, I guess this is why when I'm in charge of stuff like banquets and other end-of-seaon events, they always tend to go little bit longer.  I would rather err on the side of making sure that people feel appreciated than to just brush over the stuff that they did for the program.  I think that's why we have pretty good support in most of the activities that I have the privilege of running. 

When you give people the public recognition that each of us craves, it makes them want to serve more.  Not merely for the recognition, but because they feel wanted and needed.  And, if you don't think that you need to make your people feel that way, just try sending somebody off with some fanfare and see how they respond.  I think you'll be surprised and pleased.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Never Enough...

I spent an hour on the phone with Kevin Cobb today.  I actually scheduled the meeting about a week and a half ago with his office assistant.  I've learned over the last few years to get in good with whoever was in charge of his schedule.  I guess I could call him directly, and sometimes I do.  But, I have decided that I need to be respectful of his time.  In fact, today when we talked he already had a good idea of the things that I was going to bring up.  Between our conversations I usually send him a bunch of lengthy emails.  All of the stuff that's going on in my life.  All of the questions that I have.  All of the frustrations that I have.  All of the leadership questions that I have for him. 

Before I knew it, the conversation had already come to about 54 minutes.  How do I know that?  I called him exactly at 11 AM, when we had our meeting scheduled.  And at 11:54 he told me that he had another meeting that he had to get ready for.  I couldn't believe where the time went.

We pretty much only got to about 1 1/2 of the items that I wanted to talk to him about.  I usually set the stage with my questions for him, and then I just let him tell me the stuff that I need to change or get better at.  It makes me wonder how people can live life without a mentor.  I put so much time and effort into pursuing Kevin as my mentor that it is often frustrating because I know that no matter how much guidance he gives me, I am always left with wanting and needing more of his time. 

So I guess that's my question.  Who are the people in your life that you continue to pursue?  Kevin is probably one of the most humble people that I know.  The more I ask him his opinion and guidance, the more I understand that I need to be a leader like him.  Who do you need to be like?  And... what are you doing to make that happen?