Saturday, May 31, 2014

Have some tact…

I meet often with people who are better than me.  It's the only way to stay sharp.  In fact, I was meeting with someone, who has been in his industry for quite some time, just a couple weeks ago.  I have great respect for this man.  However, he said something that really disturbed me.  During one of our sessions together, part of his advice to me was: "I'm just very blunt.  I tell people the way it is."  Now, a lot of people might see this as a noble gesture.  He wears it as a badge of honor… a kind of unconventional way of breaking barriers and helping people understand exactly where they are coming from.  Unfortunately, I do not agree with him at all.  Dale Carnegie said this,

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be. ” ~D. Carnagie

What that man communicated to me in that one exchange was that he is unwilling to continue to get better.  I am not saying that he does not care about people, but what I do know from a comment like that is you take away your ability to change and become better as soon as you make that kind of comment.  So, this is what I took away from that.  Have some tact. 

As leaders we are called on by others to continually better ourselves, in hopes that we might be able to influence them to become better at what they do.  Another man, whom has my upmost respect, gave some advice that was very different from my blunt friend.  He said this: always put relationship at the very top, because at the end of the day that's all you have.  I guess my question to each of you is: where do you fall on the spectrum… are you the blunt all telling no-nonsense person?  Or do you achieve the same goals, while using a little bit of tact?  The choice is ours.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reasons MO Coaches #140519 - The Varsity Letter

Coaching is one of the most fun jobs in the entire world.  I guess I am prone to activities that cause a high level of stress.  But every now and again, I have a moment of genuine ashtonishment.  One of those came at a not so typical moment recently.  We had our high school swim team banquet a couple of weeks ago.  Some of the kids swam both junior varsity and varsity all year.  But, they are not really sure if they will receive the varsity letter.  We kind of keep this a little bit of a surprise.  Most of the athletes are very appreciative when they receive the varsity letter, and some expect it because they figure they earned it.  And then, there are instances like the one we had at this past banquet.

When it came time to call the name for one of the boys to receive a varsity letter, I think that he was so surprised and shocked at it that he was overcome with genuine emotion.  It wasn't that he cried or anything, but instead when I handed him the varsity letter certificate, he had the most sincere look of excitement on his face.  And that reminded me of the reasons I coach.  This kid has a ton of potential, and I hope that he continues to tap into his talent and skills.  As coaches, or a leader in any position, it is your job to read the emotions of the people under your care.  What are you doing to understand their circumstances and give them the best opportunity to succeed?  It's time for us to get out there and make a difference.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We have seen that before...

I was reading my Kindle this morning and had to laugh a little bit.  I pretty much despise reading anything but my Kindle now.  I know that for a lot of people out there nothing comes close to holding a real book in your hands, but for me I'm about efficiency.  No matter where I am, I have a ton of books at my fingertips.  And, if I don't have my Kindle, I have the app on my phone.  Which is even more awesomer!

Not a lot of people know this, but when Jeff Bezos first pitched the idea for an e-reader to manufacturers, they all remembered the other companies that had failed not too long before Jeff decided to launch his project… “We have seen that before,” they would say.  It was so crazy that he had to keep the whole thing under wraps to make sure that a couple things didn't happen: nobody would steal his idea, and people would not begin to make assumptions before he could roll out the master plan.

I am a big believer in companies that go out on a limb.  What I like is that Bezos didn't really care about what other people were saying.  He had a goal and did whatever it took to get there.  Even when his own team did not believe in him, he pressed on anyway and made it happen.  My question is: what are the plans and goals of your heart?  There are too many people out there that are idealists.  They are always looking at what is possible.  I continue to ask myself: what is impossible.  That is what leads to innovation and greatness.  Go out and do something asinine today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Free Food...

Last night we had our team recognition dinner for those who qualified state championships.  It's always one of my most favorite events of the year.  It takes a lot for these kids to achieve the times and scores necessary to be a part of the festivities.  One of my athletes snap chatted the following picture:

I would gladly buy as many meals as needed for these athletes to put in such incredible effort.  For all of the time that they have toiled… getting yelled at, pushed harder than they ever have been before, losing sleep, living tired days…

My question is: what is the payoff for which you are striving?  Like these young athletes, each of us needs something bigger than us.  Latch onto something that brings you joy, and run for it with everything you've got.  And one day, someone just might buy you a free meal… Purchased only by your blood, sweat, and tears.