Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
Last week, I shared about the Power of a Mentor. Having benefited from having Steve in my life has helped shape so much of who I am.
Those experiences are even more beneficial as having gone through my halftime and I enter the second half of my life. As I move from Mentee to Mentor, I take those lessons with me as I engage and provide services for others.
It would be easy to say, I’ve arrived and to take the stance that my experience and background means that I am at the top of my game and my focus needs to be on helping others learn instead of still looking for opportunities for me to grow.
Finding Mentors Around You
But, as I wrote in A Coach Getting Coached, there is always an opportunity to learn if you are open and willing. Recently, I was blessed to work with someone who had no idea how much he was mentoring me. I watched him engage our session participants through asking sincere questions and showing them gratitude for sharing a part of themselves with us.
It had such an impact on me that I found myself engaging the flight attendants and strangers in meaningful conversations to learn more about them because of the IMPACT he had on me in the week we spent together.
Another mentor appeared who is 10 years younger than me. Watching the way, he connected with a group of Executive leaders in a professional yet personal manner. He was present and interested in their challenges and the impact it was having on their organization. He connected with them through his confidence in his ability to help but also through humility in feeling the impact of the challenges they face.
I guarantee that neither of them had a clue that they were my mentor. But I was open to be shaped and to learn and mentoring found me.
When you spend so much time seeking mentors, it catches you off guard when people seek you out to be their coach or mentor. Throughout my career I have always had official and unofficial mentees.
Mentees Finding You
Recently, I was invited to provide the keynote at a local Chamber Awards Dinner. My talk focused on IMPACT and how the impact of local businesses goes so much deeper than the economy. I started off by sharing My Day of Impact and how my second chance at life was a message for me that I would have an IMPACT on someone who was destined for great things and that person may be in that room.
At the conclusion of the evening, I was approached by someone who felt moved to share their personal experiences with me. It was a powerful story that this person has shared publicly through testifying but has been an emotional struggle - knowing the message is important but the fear of public speaking makes her avoid and decline what she knows she is called to do.
I explained that when you are called to Lead, one of the most important things to remember is that Leadership is not about you! It is about those you are helping and guiding.
The person asked if I would coach/mentor them on growing as a speaker to help get their message out to others. My first instinct was to try and deflect because I didn’t feel that coaching someone to be a motivational speaker was in my wheelhouse.
They shot back quickly “but you are a coach, and it is what you do.” As I tried to clarify that “yes, I coach but my expertise…” They cut me off using familiar words that I had uttered earlier and said, “Leadership isn’t about you.”
“Well, let me check my calendar…”
You never know when mentors or mentees will appear and provide guidance or seek support. It may be a direct interactive experience or only from afar in a one-sided relationship. Regardless, leaders lead, whether they are aware or not. Remember that mentorship is always present, it can be provided or received, and it will have a greater impact Beyond Today.
Reading has been something I have always enjoyed. As a child, I couldn't get enough books to read. I loved the books sharing the heroic stories of yesteryear, whether they be leaders, explorers, or athletes.
As I moved into my teen years and college, the pull of science fiction and fantasy started to dominate my reading, but historical writings of military heroes or events would continue to find a spot at the table.
But as I moved to adulthood, personal growth became more important as I worked to Be Better Today than I was yesterday. Early in my career, I traveled non-stop and all those hours on a plane flying around the globe allowed me the opportunity to get a lot of reading in whether the lessons from Covey, Ziglar, and Welch or the thrill of Clancy, Koontz, and Ludlum.
But now, time is more precious and sitting down to read is difficult with the demands of life. Books have given way to iPhones and AirPods as I capitalize on my Audible subscription. Of the 22 books I read last year, only 3 were in written form with the rest being ones I listened to.
I decided to share my reading list of the books I finished in 2023. I broke them into 3 categories: Personal Growth, Guilty Pleasure, Historical Non-Fiction. Personal Growth represented 68% of my reading focus. As someone who likes to take notes, using an audiobook can be challenging when you are trying to walk on the treadmill and type in notes on your phone... be careful, full athlete mode is required to accomplish this!
Here is a list of the books I read. They are not ranked, merely listed out from the one I finished most recently to the one I finished at the start of the year.
(Okay, I love listening to these types of books because if you have a good narrator, they can really help capture the personality of the characters. Now, I doubt if many people would include Animal Farm as a guilty pleasure but where else do I put it? Honestly, I forgot how powerful of a book it was and could easily be a life lesson in personal development. Or I guess, you could stretch and say it is historical non-fiction / fiction because wow, such truth!)
I hope to hear back from you on your thoughts on these books. If you have any questions, about them, let me know and I will share my opinion. If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them.
Taking the time for personal growth through reading (or listening) is essential to Being Better Today than you were yesterday. Because Leaders Lead and a growth mindset takes you Beyond Today.
My annual exploration to find my One Word for 2024 was a little different than in years past. I wasn’t spending hours of quiet time, alone with my thoughts and prayers. This year it seemed to be more about me stumbling over some things that were in my way and I finally decided to look and see what it was that kept tripping me up.
I wasn’t going heavy into the searching because I felt I was already there and knew that I had narrowed down my words. But then, on the same morning roughly 20 minutes apart, I received two texts from two people who do not know each other. One was from my sister and the other was a friend and former co-worker. Both were asking me about whether or not I had chosen my One Word for the year.
Those two people reaching out to me was the trigger I needed, so I turned my attention to the process of selecting my One Word that has been made famous by Jon Gordon. There were actually two words that jumped out at me; CLOSURE and BETTER. Closure was prominent in my thoughts because there are a lot of areas in my life where I have failed to finish as well as some aspects that I need to put to rest internally.
But in the end, it was BETTER that was the loudest One Word. There are so many areas of my life where I want, no, I NEED to be BETTER. This approach at its most fundamental will help me to gain CLOSURE if I can simply Be Better Today than I was yesterday.
I want to be a BETTER husband.
I want to be a BETTER father.
I want to be a BETTER sibling.
I want to be a BETTER friend.
I want to be a BETTER listener.
I want to be BETTER at finishing.
I want to be BETTER about reaching out to others.
I want to be BETTER at showing gratitude.
I want to be BETTER at showing and living empathy.
I want to be BETTER at maintaining focus.
I want to be BETTER about living a life of IMPACT.
I want to Be Better Today than I was yesterday.
As I was drafting this blog, I realized I wrote down a bunch of I WANTS but as I wrote in a previous blog, that means nothing without the I WILL.
I WILL Be Better Today than yesterday, and that commitment is what brings value to my One Word and will help me be BETTER Beyond Today.
In my corporate version of the 1st Pillar of Impact, Courage to Challenge I focused on challenging the status quo and breaking down the silos of the business world. As we apply the 3 Pillars of Impact to the world of team sports, it goes beyond how you engage your teammates but also how you engage the person in the mirror.
The challenge is having the courage to work both internally and externally at the same time. Building credibility and creating trust as you walk the walk and let your actions influence the behaviors and mindsets of others. It leads to the 2nd Pillar of Impact Expect Excellence, but it really connects to the application of expecting excellence in yourself and others. There is a reason that “yourself” is first and in team sports, the courage to challenge yourself is foundational to being in a position to challenge others.
There are 4 components to the 1st Pillar of Impact, Courage to Challenge, in the Varsity Edition that will help lead to a Culture of Winning:
"On Bad teams no one leads. Average teams, coaches lead. But elite teams, players lead." - P.J. Fleck
PLAYER LED TEAM
When players can accept their role and understand the value of their role, silos can be broken and players can focus on winning and being a star in their role. Players can focus on their own improvement as an individual player to in turn help the improvement of the team.
When a player leads, it doesn’t have to always be vocal. Behaviors and actions are what stand out and they can be mirrored and fostered in others.
The player led team is always the goal but the chance of this happening is greatly increased when the environment exists that encourages and supports such behavior. That environment begins when your Coach or CEO of the team helps to paint the picture of what a Culture of Winning looks like through expectations, communication, and living out the culture. A grassroots approach can be successful but is much more challenging. Ideally, the players take over leadership of the team through a natural progression built upon trust.
BUILDER NOT BLAMER
When you challenge someone, you must ask yourself, is what you are saying helpful or harmful? You may have the best intentions, but if what you are saying when you challenge comes across as blaming, then you will lose your team's trust.
You see this when emotions are high, the game gets tight, and very often, when a player is frustrated with their own performance. They lash out at their teammate(s):
“You need to block out!”
“Whose man is this?”
“Pass the ball!”
It’s easy to think this is leadership and that you are displaying the courage to challenge. Sadly, this doesn’t just happen with teenagers, sports, or new managers. Often you will see leaders and coaches do the same thing. Blame a player for not perfecting a skill that they either have not taught or have not adequately trained on in practice. You see coaches get mad because a player missed a shot as if the kid wanted to miss. Lashing out at a kid for not getting a rebound when the fault was from a teammate who didn’t block out his man.
The point being, is if you focus on the fault, you are not focusing on what you want. We must focus on ‘what we need’ NOT ‘what we did’. A builder has a different focus than a blamer. The builder focuses on the outcome and not the problem. They know to build someone up you need to change the tone and change the direction.
CHANGE THE TONE
One of the key aspects of building trust is creating a positive environment. As we talked previously and in the original Courage to Challenge, it is about how you challenge and the environment you create to challenge.
The Merriam-Webster definition of “improve” is
So, as you move from Blamer to Builder, you learn to focus less on what needs to be improved and more on what improvement looks like. To be successful in aiding in improvement, you need them to listen which is all about your delivery and the trust you have built over time.
Too often we provide “constructive criticism” thinking we are helping when in reality, it is only coming across in a negative manner that works opposite. Be encouraging to help find their potential instead of criticizing what they did.
CHANGE THE DIRECTION
In stressful situations, it’s easy to lash out but also very easy for people to defend and even attack the messenger. People already feel vulnerable without piling on. So, change the direction of your challenge. Not on the person, but on the team. Again, focusing on the outcome and not the problem. Focus on what you need NOT on what you did.
What We Need VS What We Did
‘Let’s keep the ball moving’ VS ‘You need to pass the ball!'
‘Keep moving and I will find you for the open look’ VS ‘Stop standing and watching.’
‘Keep talking on defense.’ VS ‘Dude, why didn’t you call out the screen?’
“Good look, I will try to seal my man better.’ VS ‘Why did you pass it then? I wasn’t ready.’
Ultimately, do you like to be called out? It is as simple as that. The Golden Rule of Do unto Others… People will receive your input and feedback when they know it is thoughtful and that you care. It doesn’t mean it is always desired and will be well received. There is also a time and place to provide such feedback. But as you build trust and invest in your teammates it will be much better received and possibly even sought out.
Having the Courage to Challenge means nothing if you don’t manage the tone and the direction of your challenge. If you really want to build a culture of winning, then the real challenge is having the courage to challenge yourself to Be Better Today so you can impact the culture of winning Beyond Today.
One of my favorite things about social media is when you are scrolling through and that one post jumps out at you and really hits home.
A couple of days before Christmas, I read a Tony Dungy post on X and it was one of those moments. I had been so internally focused on preparing training material, creating new content and prepping for Christmas that this post served as a wake-up call.
Okay, let me be honest. I wasn't prepping for Christmas. I AM the meme of the dad staring in bewilderment as the family opens their gifts because it’s my first time seeing them as well. Thanks Jenny! But it is a crazy and hectic time of the year as you prepare for family gatherings, the annual high school basketball tournaments, and working your way through multiple to-do lists.
The post by Tony Dungy was so heartfelt and honest that I had to stop, reflect, and then screenshot it because I wanted to reread it during my own quiet time. Over the next couple of days, I would go back to the post and as I contemplated what he wrote, a waterfall of thoughts and memories flooded my mind.
Christmas is a lot different than when I was a kid and even from when my kids were young. It looks different, it feels different, heck it IS different. But what hasn’t changed is the overwhelming feeling of love.
Grateful for Feeling Small
No, not that type of small. The cold, hard reality is that during the festivities and merriment over the holidays, I will not be getting any smaller! But as Tony Dungy pointed out indirectly in his post, the part we play in life is really very small, but the impact is oh so large to what really matters.
The last few years, as a family we have been going to the Christmas Eve Service at Greentree Christian Church. This is a new tradition in my family but one that really becomes more impactful each year. It is an amazing experience that bring together sound, sight and thought that is felt ultimately with your heart.
Grateful for Feeling Connected
We spend Christmas Eve with friends which has been a tradition since our kids were small and something we have looked forward to each and every year. The format has changed, as has the people who attend, but the result of enjoying the connections made and friendships strengthened is always special.
The cards and letters you receive have given way to social media pictures and posts. But while the method may have changed, the smiles it puts on your face has not. A simple text to a friend or receiving a text from a mentor instantly reconnects that connection with only a few words. A warm thought, a funny meme, or a family picture carries with it so much more than bytes of data.
Grateful for Feeling the Enduring Love of Family
After my dad passed away, we started a tradition of going to Waffle House on Christmas morning before driving to my mom’s. Yes, I said Waffle House because the floors are extra “slidey” and dude, it’s one heck of a breakfast place! My Dad LOVED breakfast and growing up when we traveled, we almost exclusively ate where breakfast was served all day.
When my mom passed, the traditional Christmas dinner stopped as well. All my siblings and their families gathered together, and we chose to do a Fiesta dinner to start a new tradition. Understand that I absolutely love our traditional Christmas dinner that my mom made as it was the same at the Thanksgiving dinner, which I now make every year, exactly as my mom made it. I do miss it, but now we have our own tradition. We decide as a family what to have and it may change from year to year, but we enjoy the unity of figuring it out and then cooking it together.
Grateful for Feeling Inspired
I absolutely love the game of basketball and after Christmas, our high school hosts a boys and girls Holiday tournament which all three of our sons have played in and our daughter has cheered at, so the memories are bountiful. My siblings travel from all over to come watch the games and cheer on the kids. The game of basketball has bonds that run deep in our family. Former players I have coached as well as friends I have made through the sport will come and support our kids.
Unlike past Christmas breaks, there isn’t downtime for me this year as I am now self employed. While kids are either off work or on semester break, my day continues like the days before. Learning, growing, creating, and refining services that can impact the lives of others. And I am loving every minute of it!
While we tend to be nostalgic and reflect on our blessings during the holiday season, why can we not take the time to be grateful year-round? Because when you feel small, but connected and when you feel love and are inspired, then you will ALWAYS be grateful Beyond Today.
When I decided to adapt my 3 Pillars of Impact to be used by coaches and their teams it ended up being a straightforward process to adjust the wording and focus on the key principles that so easily crossed over. I have spent so many years sharing the concepts with others, the words flowed out.
While the sports world has long been the poster child of autocratic, command & control leadership styles, they have embraced the trend towards a more servant leadership approach, much like corporate America.
The impact that leadership author Jon Gordon had on Dabo Swinney and Sean McVay was well documented as they led their teams to a National title and a Super Bowl, respectively. They engaged their players to connect them to the larger purpose of the team.
P.J. Fleck, the football coach of the University of Minnesota, wrote a book called Row the Boat that promotes a never give-up philosophy. I use his quote, “On bad teams no one leads. Average teams, coaches lead. But elite teams, players lead.” This drives home the importance of buy-in of the players and the impact they have on the culture.
WHO LEADS THE TEAM
When I first engage a team, my first question is “who is your leader? Who leads this team?” The response almost always is the head coach. As I restate my question, a few might speak up and throw out the name of a captain. I pause, scan the team to make sure that we are locking eyes and in that awkward silence I ask, “why not you?”
Most of the challenges that a team faces are not caused by the coach. Therefore, expecting the coach to be the solver of all problems is not practical and can actually cause additional problems for the team.
Problems can be addressed but many times it is only surface level solutions that tend to make them seem to go away when times are good. Then, when there is a rough patch, or when teams are under pressure, the problems will resurface, and chances are they will be bigger than before since it was never properly addressed.
If you are going to solve a problem, you need to get to the root cause. That will take the entire team to aid in identifying the root cause. More importantly, it will take the team to then work together to address the fundamental problem at the root so that it doesn’t grow back.
THE 5 CHALLENGES
INDIVIDUAL VS TEAM
I rewatched the video this morning of Shaq talking about his conversation with Kobe Bryant. Shaq told Kobe that there is no “i” in the word “team” and Kobe responded colorfully that there is an “m” and an “e”!
This is probably the oldest and most prevalent issue in forming a great team. The individual player puts their own success and goals ahead of the team.
I want kids to focus on themselves when they are developing their skills. I want them to work with a selfish energy and commitment to be the best they can be. The better they are as an individual will only benefit the team when they come together and commit to playing for something bigger than themselves.
I tell kids that “I don’t care who scores as long as WE score.” Being a shooter is different from being a maker. Being a maker is different from being a scorer. Doing things that result in a score is what being a scorer is about. Making the extra pass. Setting a screen. Keeping the floor spaced. Occupying a defender. Knocking down the open shot. Or being a team player.
SOCIAL MEDIA HYPE TRAIN
While social media is only a blip in the historical timeline of media, the desire and impact of media on players and a team is not. Waiting to see the newspaper article written up in the newspaper or to what your name on the radio has fed many an ego long before X or Instagram were conceived.
As a team, can you put the hype aside and focus on the growth of the team? Highlights may be great for clicks, but it doesn’t show what coaches and recruiters really want to see.
There is not a coach worth their salt that EVER signed a kid based solely upon a highlight video. It may make them take a closer look, but it is their work ethic, their ability to make their team better and their character that really turns the heads of the recruiters.
Along with social media getting you some likes; you can also see the “likes” happen by those who are around you. The kids will complain and take on the status of a victim and those around them reinforce that feeling without any real knowledge of what is going on. “You’re right, coach is a jerk. I don’t know why he isn't playing you. He must not like you.”
Many times, it starts at home. I see it more and more starting with youth sports and carrying over into high school. The helicopter parent managing their child's success can’t come to grips when their little baby struggles.
Ironically, these same parents can recognize when other parents or kids are being irrational but not with themselves and their own situation.
“I WANT” VS “I WILL”
Many a night, this discussion happens among dads over a favorite beverage while rehashing a game. Dads evaluate their kids based upon clouded, and revised memories of their own playing days as a youth.
“I don’t understand. They just don’t want it.” Does that statement of frustration sound familiar? Having been guilty of this myself, I learned over the years that most every kid does want it. They all want to win. They all dream of hitting the last second shot. Of making the key stop on defense. They all want to be lifted on the team's shoulders and celebrated. They all want to be great.
But very few will do what it takes. Very few have THE WILL to commit to being great. That is the difference between “I WANT” and “I WILL”.
A team that has established a culture of winning isn’t necessarily made up of a team with every kid being an “I WILL” kid. But it has enough. They have enough “I WILL” kids so they don’t have to stand alone. They have enough “I WILL” kids that can influence the “I WANT” kids to do enough. To step further out of their comfort zone than they normally would.
LEADERSHIP ISN'T COOL
Another reality issue for parents is that leadership isn’t always cool. Their selective memory doesn’t recall that leadership WASN’T cool when they were kids either. Somehow, they forget that they probably called a friend or teammate a brown-noser or a teacher’s pet.
Today, they are called “try-hards” or “sweats” or maybe they are “selling”. Honestly, my son to dad translator probably needs a daily software update to be aware of all the new phrases, but you catch my drift.
Deep down we know, as adults, that this is all about insecurities and fear. Again, easier to recognize in others than in us, but that is another topic. This is why an environment that allows players to lead and most importantly allows players to fail is critical for a culture of winning. Remember, FAIL is First Attempt In Learning.
Whether in a company or on a sports team, there is a continual uphill battle to build a culture of winning and success. Those challenges come from external and internal factors and are not solved by one person. The challenges are experienced by a team and therefore must be overcome by the team. It is through the team that a culture is built and through the team that winning will occur. It’s a team-built culture that wins, Beyond Today.
When I decided to start writing a blog, I made a conscious decision to maintain a connection between leadership in business with leadership in sports.
I try to write in such a way as to be relatable to either environment and going as far to use sports examples in business focused posts and vice versa. Many times, it is not clear whether the focus of the blog is business or sports leadership and that is intended.
When I first created the 3 Pillars of Impact, the training and talks were almost solely focused on the business world except for the occasional example where I use a sports analogy to help with clarity. But I always knew I would eventually adapt the concept to the sports world as the 3 Pillars of Impact are the foundation to building a culture of winning at both the high school and collegiate levels.
In this post, I will introduce to you the Varsity Edition of the 3 Pillars of Impact with subsequent posts in the coming weeks to provide more detail on how they can be applied to your team.
Facing the Challenges
In my 3 Pillars for the corporate world, I talk about the Leadership Gap that exists and how it drives the Leadership Challenge that executives face. In the Varsity Edition, my focus is on the Challenges to a Winning Culture. P.J. Fleck said “On bad teams, no one leads. Average teams, coaches lead. But elite teams, players lead.” On a sports team, you don’t have the same hierarchy you find in the corporate world and the challenges tend to be more internal than external in nature.
“On bad teams, no one leads. Average teams, coaches lead. But elite teams, players lead.” - P.J. Fleck
Breaking out the SWOT
I enjoy introducing the SWOT Analysis to the players. For most of them, this is their first time using this tool. It’s a powerful tool to self-assess as an individual, work with coaches and teammates for 360* feedback, or to evaluate the team as a whole.
The twist I introduce is to make it more than a static assessment by analyzing your internal strengths and weakness versus the external Opportunities and Threats. Based upon the analysis of these relationships, we create Action Plans that can lead to Skill Training, Practice Plans, and/or Coaching Strategies.
3 Pillars of Impact: Varsity Edition
The Pillars themselves are the same in the Varsity Edition as in the corporate version. But how they are described and what is being emphasized is a little different to fit the environment. Again, I will dig deeper into each of these Pillars in future posts.
Courage of Challenge
Driving Home the Culture of Winning
Ultimately, if you want to build a Culture of Success at work or a Culture of Winning in the locker room, it starts by making sure the 3 Pillars are in place.
Before I introduce the 3 Pillars of Impact in my talk, I get the team to share their perspective of what a Great Team looks like. What do they act like? What do they stand for?
It is always enlightening to get the feedback from the team, to watch the dynamics as you seek input from the younger members of the team as well as the older, more acknowledged leaders.
Once I have reviewed and discussed the 3 Pillars of Impact with the team, I then revisit what a great team looks like. It’s interesting to see more clarity in their answers. They can describe the behavior in greater detail. You can see that they are relating to what it needs to be as well as understanding what it can be.
"Every team wants to win. Every player wants to win. Every coach wants to win. But it's the teams that honor what goes into winning and work at those things every day that will be highly successful." - Coach Shaka Smart
As I wrap up the discussion, I come back to the "I Want" vs "I Will" concept that was introduced at the beginning during the Challenge to a Winning Culture discussion. Some straightforward questions drive home my point and reinforce what it takes to establish a winning culture. I ask for a show of hands to each of these questions:
That last question leads to the main takeaway for the team. It is an I WILL document which helps each of them build an action plan to commit to their team’s success. The first step of any journey starts with action. Remember, it’s not the "I WANT" but the "I WILL" that creates a Culture of Winning, Beyond Today.
This post is a companion piece to last week's Ready or Not, Here I Come. I hope this will serve as a reminder for anyone out there going through a transition. From a job, a relationship, or even something as simple as a change in perspective. Doubt and negativity can always creep in if you let it.
You have a greater impact on people than you realize
I have written many times about the power of IMPACT and it is in situations like this that it becomes visible. It is not just the former coworkers that reach out and share an obscure story or memory from our past, but people in the community at large that reach out. And not just to me but to my wife and share with her their thoughts and feelings.
Your circle, outside your inner circle, is bigger than you think
It was amazing how acquaintances or past relationships will reach out to connect, share and help during this time. Some people want to hunker down and pull the inner circle a little bit tighter to keep others at bay.
When people reach out to you, they are not being nosey to find out what happened and spread gossip. They care about you; they want you to know they care about you and the vast majority honestly want to be there to help you out if you need anything. Wow! Think about that.
The culture of a company is bigger than the individual
It doesn’t matter how you see the world or how you live the world within your circle of control. The culture of the company moves forward, and the reason is that it isn’t found on the walls, in the building structure or in the products that are produced. It is in the behaviors, values, and attitudes of the people.
Therefore, the culture shift begins with the employees - for good or bad. My advice to my former employees was the same as when they were my coworkers, Leaders Lead. You can’t delegate culture, so continue to live it with your actions.
The day fills up fast
It’s on you now. There is nobody to delegate to and you are responsible for the beginning, middle and end of the project. You don’t walk down the hall to the supply cabinet, you head into town.
One of my big complaints about the workplace is how poor managers allowed BUSY to replace PRODUCTIVE. People being active doing things doesn’t really matter if it is the wrong thing. If it isn’t moving the company forward toward their shared vision, then it probably isn’t of value.
You now have to manage yourself, your actions, your priorities, your thoughts, your output. Be careful and don’t let your day become full of reorganizing the closet…again!
While the distractions are many, you gain clarity as to what are the distractions
When part of the company, you feel a responsibility to the overall culture so it is easy to get pulled into things that are outside your area. Now you need to lock onto your own Strategic Vision. Your own Purpose and Why. Once you do that, it becomes obvious if an activity is aligned to YOUR purpose or not.
Don’t let anyone discount your worth
Most of the time, people feel embarrassed when a change happens and when it is outside of your control, you feel helpless. It’s easy to adopt a victim mindset and feel sorry for yourself with a “why me” attitude.
People are not looking down their noses at you nor are they judging you. If they are, then their opinion doesn't matter. Remember, your value isn’t built on the opinions of others. I am not my job. I am the husband of Jenny and the Father of Zach, Megan, Trey, and Ethan.
The ego is dangerous
It is the opposite to the previous one. If you have too much pride, you will miss the opportunities to grow, learn and feel. You shut down others, ignore the situation, and miss out on the friendship, love, and compassion that is being shared by others.
The ego can force you down pathways and conversations that are not beneficial to you or others. Be aware, self-reflect, and seek out the advice of those you love and trust to make sure that you are staying grounded.
Faith in God is legit!
I shared last week about how I had not been listening for so long. But His word was loud and clear and has kept me afloat which has enabled me to be there for others during this time. Once your eyes are opened again, you not only see Him in your life, but you clearly see Him in the lives of others and sometimes they need that reminder as well.
Your leaving might be more uncomfortable on the ones who stayed
What do you say? Do you call? Do you text? Do you wait for them to make the first move? No, we are not talking about a first date, but how do you approach someone that is no longer at your company? Will you just be a painful reminder?
I get it. I always struggled on what to do and typically, I wouldn’t do anything. I just went on about my business. Now that I’m on the other side of the equation, I wondered why I had so much trepidation to reach out and share. But I understand and it’s alright.
Life Doesn’t Stop
Ultimately, that is the summary of this post. Life. Doesn’t. Stop. It continues to move forward and trying to hold on to the past is a recipe for a sad and lonely life. I don’t want that served up to me.
Be ready to hop on the train and move forward. You can always take time to reflect as you are looking out the window at the passing landscape. To remember fondly about where you have been but also to dream about where your life is heading, Beyond Today.
After 30 years with the same company, I found myself in the position of preparing to transition to something new. While it was shocking to most, it wasn’t completely unexpected to me.
Now, not being surprised isn't the same as being ready! At 53, I wasn’t ready to retire. Our youngest son is a sophomore in high school and while I had been working towards a “Plan B” I was not ready to execute a “Plan B.”
One day your blog post on Establishing Trust and Integrity at Work is being shared on the corporate website and the next you are changing your status on your social media. But as I have always said, “it is what it is” and my lecture on the Circle of Control was never more relevant.
That day and the weeks that followed, were filled with people reaching out to me and I believe most were surprised about my calm and reassuring demeanor. My response just came out naturally, “sometimes God speaks to you, and you choose not to listen. Sometimes God shows you a path and you choose not to look. Sometimes God decides He has had enough, and He doesn’t care that you are too stubborn or too scared. It’s God’s plan and He decided it was time.”
The next morning, I wake up at my normal time and begin my routine. In the NY Times Wordle game, my word was COACH! The following day, my morning verse was: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." - Psalms 32:8. It was reassuring to see His message.
That week, I officiated the wedding for a young man that I used to coach when he was a kid. I also continued to livestream my Inside the Huddle interview with our High School coaches. I moved forward with my life because my life was moving forward.
The next week I’m giving a training class on the 3 Pillars of Impact. The following week I’m watching the most incredible sunset (see the pic!) on the shore of the Pacific Central Coast, with nothing but gratitude in my heart for the blessings I have and continue to receive.
The following week I was in Chicago at a Quartz Event IMPACT Manufacturing Leadership Summit , sharing my story of Impact while stressing the importance of executives to walk the walk and put the 3 Pillars of impact into action.
During the two weeks following my departure, I had so many people reach out to me; former coworkers, friends, and casual acquaintances. They shared their sadness and confusion, warm thoughts of encouragement and advice, they provided contacts and even job offers. You quickly realize that your life really is about impact and the breadth of the impact is not always obvious.
I was listening to an Audiobook titled The Big Goal System. One of the speakers was Krish Dhanam and he had some profound statements that I want to share here:
“Success if not who you are in relation to the person sitting next to you. Success is who you are in relation to where you began and what you began with.”
“Your career is what you are paid for, your purpose is what you are made for.”
He finishes by saying, he is not his job and declares that he is a husband and father and states the names of his family. What a statement!
I am not my job. I am the husband of Jenny and the father of Zach, Megan, Trey, and Ethan. Wow! That is a testimony.
You may not be ready when events happen that force you to transition. It may not be part of your plan, but it is part of God’s plan. When you take a moment to reflect, you quickly realize that you are ready. That you are equipped for the next leg of your journey. That you are not alone. I am not my job. I am the husband of Jenny and the father of Zach, Megan, Trey, and Ethan. Ready or not, I am ready to move Beyond Today.
Our high school basketball season started last week. Our youngest son has been anxiously awaiting the first game of his sophomore season. He isn’t nervous… just excited about the opportunity to once again compete alongside his friends in the sport he loves.
It got me thinking about how incredible it is when you are young. The excitement of the newness of the season ahead, where there is no record yet, there are no trials or tribulations, everything is pure and open. It is all about what CAN BE and not what IS.
Prior to the season, my son spent a lot of time in preparation to be the best player and teammate he could be by focusing on:
I then was thinking about why it is so hard to recapture those feelings as an adult when you are in the workforce. But then I realized, those feelings still exist, we just don’t recognize them in the same manner.
As an adult, you prepare for a project or your job in a similar manner.
It doesn’t matter if you are at work preparing for a big meeting or hitting a deadline, or you are a high school kid preparing for the first game of the season, you can experience a gambit of emotions:
Everything is before you, full of potential and unspoiled.
What if we could keep that same attitude throughout the season? What if we actually could play, live, and/or work in the moment?
In sports, coaches continuously use phrases such as:
But is it only a catch phrase? When things go south, coaches have a tendency to “react” instead of “respond” to the situation. That results in a negative attack versus a positive correct or adapt.
As a leader, what is your response at work? Do you show frustration? Do you become critical? So, you focus on what went wrong versus the “next play?”
Keep the Preseason Vibe
Let’s go back to our first game of the season. The first day of school. The first date. The first day at work. The story has yet to be written.
What if we could maintain that outlook in the middle of the season? In the middle of the project? Not a review of what has gone wrong. Not the weight of a two-game losing streak.
Soak in the incredible power of potential. The fresh outlook that everything is possible and still in front of us. That there is ALWAYS more to the story. That there is another chapter still to be written.
Socrates said that “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” When you talk with your team, is the focus on “What we need” or “What we did”?
Maintain the excitement of the preseason throughout your seasons of life. Adopt a mindset that you will Be Better Today, knowing that there is always another chapter to be written. Embrace that growth mindset, that sense of ownership, to carry that optimistic and enthusiastic mindset Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.