The benefits of losing.

If I have said this once, I have said it hundreds of times. No sports team ever shows up on game day and says, “let’s lose today”. This same sentiment can apply to work scenarios too, albeit there are some additional layers of complications that doesn’t make this statement as simple or straightforward. However, it is applicable. Although in work scenarios, this statement may not be applied one hundred percent of the time, much to the chagrin of those leading the employees.

The comparison between sports teams and work teams is something I truly enjoy doing. Yes, this is partially due to working with both team types, but also because there is so much to learn from both of them. Now toss in the cross-pollination from the learnings, and that’s where everything begins to start to become more interesting.

I chose the word interesting, because I am always pleasantly surprised by how similar sports and work teams are to one another. The obvious common denominator is that people are at the core of both scenarios, and both are led by typically a few leaders. Although where the people comparison differs, is in the age decade that the sports teams are in, compared to work teams. The sports teams age decade is more homogenous and typically all female or male teams, versus the work teams being far more diverse in both categories.

Another interesting comparative difference between the two types of teams is that there are more opportunities for less experienced leaders of sports teams. An exception to this would be that some work teams in the start-up phase, or smaller, family-owned businesses might have less experienced leaders. Are the less experienced leaders at a disadvantage then the more experienced leaders in both categories. Yes, and no. Yes, if they seek counsel from more seasoned leaders, and no, if the less experienced leaders are willing to admit they will likely require more support than they might realize.

Although work and sports teams have different metrics to determine their performance, the sports teams have a more straightforward method of determining their outcome results. Work teams also are generally working on quarterly based results, while sports teams may not all be playing in all four quarters of the year. This also has both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is that the sports teams comparatively are operating on more of a “sprint” style, versus the work teams who are running marathons. Preparing for both styles is far different, and also comes with a separate mindset approach. One isn’t better or more favorable than the other, they are just different.

Having experienced for most of my career what it is like to be focused on quarterly results, I learned how to pace myself and ramp quickly for results at the beginning of a quarter. Typically, my team would then have to shift into maintaining and then potentially have to figure out a strategy to surge on the performance results in collaboration with the sales teams towards the end of the quarter. Admittedly, there were times that the frantic feeling of having to collaborate extraordinarily well with the sales team was something I enjoyed doing. Although it could also be exhausting and highly stressed induced.

Comparatively, sports teams are in this situation on a game-by-game basis, so their cycle to focus on what it will take to win is different, but also similar. The similarity is that like the work teams, they are extraordinarily dependent on one another to perform at their peak level in every game. We have all seen plenty of examples of some of our favorite college or professional athletes who exhibit being able to perform at a peak level consistently, but this doesn’t apply to everyone on the team. So, can one or two peak performers on both work and sports teams make a difference? Yes, I think they can, but this is where the concept of taking a look at the benefits of losing comes into focus.

As I stated earlier, no one shows up on game day and says, “let’s lose today.” The athletes may think their chance of winning is limited, but most of them are going to put all their energy into having the game outcome be favorable. Ideally with a win, but a tie in some cases will also give them points towards their final season performance numbers. Granted although we can agree that winning can be more desirable, teams can in fact equally benefit from losing. Here are some benefits to a team losing.

  • When a team loses, more emphasis is put into evaluating where were the trouble spots that prevented them from winning, versus a winning team focusing less on this.
  • Losing isn’t satisfying to anyone except the winning team and its fans. However, it can help the losing team to look for opportunities related to how they can work differently and more effectively together.
  • Experiencing adversity can be a great motivator towards change, and if the change is oriented towards being constructive, it can help a team to fuel its team dynamics in a positive way.
  • No matter how stubborn a leader is, eventually if they are consistently experiencing defeat, they will inevitably seek support from others to help them. Or, help will be given to them. Although this doesn’t always mean they will accept the help if the leader is reluctantly having to accept it. Even if it is in their best interest for them and their team.
  • Upon repeated defeats, some leaders will eventually figure out whether they are unselfish enough to admit they don’t have all the answers. This doesn’t always mean they will seek more experienced counsel, but it does offer a glimmer of hope they will admit their leadership approach isn’t working.
  • Although there are teams who have long stretches of losses, at some point, circumstances will change that will have others making decisions for the leader who they have lost confidence in. This doesn’t always happen at a desirable pace for most fans, the athletes, or the support staff of the team, but it will invariably get to this point.
  • The feeling and memory of losing can remain with you longer than the amazing feeling achieved by winning. How a leader and their team handle both aspects can be what separates them from heading towards the path of turning their performance results around, or continuing on the same path. Knowing how to achieve this is critical, with emphasis placed on the word “how”.

Even if you are not a competitive person, most people will agree that winning is far more fun than losing. Although, understanding and appreciating the benefits of losing can be far greater in terms of applying it successfully to other areas of one’s life.

TAGS: #Leaders #Teams #Motivation #Leadership #Business #Winning #Sportsteams #Sportsleaders  #Teamdynamics #Collaboration #Learning #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment

Stubborn? It’s not a good look. 

I’ve always been an optimist. So, when I hear someone expressing that something isn’t possible, my mind immediately begins to diverge into two directions. The first one is to think about why this was stated, and the second path has me considering whether all of the options have been explored to create an opportunity to make something possible.

My skepticism about whether all potential options have been investigated and applied may come from my family heritage of having an “inventors-like” mind. Or, possibly because of my innate curiosity about imagining why a solution has not been developed to attempt what others think can’t be achieved. Which, leads me to wondering if stubbornness could in fact be one of the reasons?

Fortunately, most people are not classified as being stubborn, but we all know someone who might have this adjective associated with them on a regular basis. Possibly without them being aware that others clearly see them being this way more often than not. The person who is unaware of themselves being stubborn might actually think they are just like everyone else. What they don’t realize is that being stubborn generally isn’t working in their favor.

An example of someone who is being stubborn could be that they are unwilling to consider, take or apply practical advice which could be highly adventitious to them. It can be highly frustrating in this scenario, especially when not taking the advice can have less than desirable consequences. However, we also need to factor in that some people learn via experiences, and failing to take advice and the outcome from this could actually result in a positive outcome for them. How? Because afterwards they could appreciate the value of considering to listen to, and ideally applying sound advice the next time a similar scenario arises. 

Perhaps you have heard the expression “you can lead a horse to water when they are thirsty, but you can’t make it drink it.” This expression is ideally aligned with people who are stubborn, because they often do the exact opposite of what they should be doing, primarily due to their stubbornness.  I personally have encountered a number of people who would be far happier, have an easier outcome in numerous scenarios, and much less stress if they would first recognize that their on-going stubbornness is one of the core reasons for many of their challenges and why they are often highly frustrated. 

Telling someone they are stubborn seldomly has any positive impact on someone changing from this disposition. It might make you feel better expressing this sentiment to them, but that’s not going to lead either of you anywhere you will want to end up. So, are there techniques that can be applied to help someone who is stubborn? Especially someone who is unaware of how they are presenting and interacting with others? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to ask them, or have them potentially consider. 

·      What is your definition of being stubborn?

·      Ask yourself why you are often considered by others to be stubborn?

·      Is being stubborn an easy excuse of your “why” you are not doing or achieving something you could be?

·      Have you thought about how being stubborn is impacting your relationships with others?

·      Could you potentially be unaware of the fact others consider you to be stubborn, and think you are acting differently than how you are being perceived?

·      Why wouldn’t you accept help, advice or guidance from someone more experienced or knowledgeable than you are that could positively impact you both personally, professionally or both?

·      Do you have an example of someone who others consider to be stubborn, and can’t see how you could be compared to them?

·      Providing you acknowledge you are stubborn; can you imagine the benefits of being less or not perceived as being a stubborn person? This applies to both your personal and professional life, as you might not be as stubborn, or stubborn in one of these scenarios. 

If redirecting energy from a trait such as stubbornness into more productive outcomes is possible, are you, or someone else you know ready to re-develop your person to experience the benefits of doing so? Or, will your stubbornness prevent you from being more happy, less frustrated and experiencing a higher quality overall mental health and well-being?

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Sports #Teams #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Traits #Stubborn #Stubbornness #Overcomingstubborness #Solutions #Awareness #Selfawareness #Benefitsofbeinglessstubborn

People who support you versus people who take your words for themselves.

This topic is highly personal to me. As a matter of fact and context, I also wasn’t going to write about it. However, I was highly encouraged to do so based on a recent action taken by a person who either knowingly, but I hope innocently, took credit for developing content that wasn’t theirs. It was mine.

There is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Although when the imitation is blatantly occurring, there is generally an opportunity to acknowledge and reference the source. Either verbally or in writing. Doing this can make a world of difference. However, it doesn’t always address the core of this matter, which is how too often people are disrespectful of other people’s creations, and claiming the work as their own.

Given the fact I am someone who communicates professionally, I am sensitive and aware of making sure my communications are clear, and my own. This wasn’t something I had to learn in a Journalism course. To me, it is a fundamental principle of doing the right thing. That is, giving credit to others, where credit or acknowledgement is due. Simple enough right? Apparently not. So now what?

Bringing this topic to light is one way to address it, and there are a number of other ways to do so. I’ll share some options of how to pursue this with you. For now, let’s remain on the thread of why someone might not give or recognize another person they should credit for their words, or work.

One of the reasons a person might not give another person due credit for their creations could be because they are unaware of the fact they are doing so. The word plagiarize comes to mind in this case. If you are reading this story now, I am going to hope this was a concept that was shared with you when you were beginning to write in school. Citing or referencing other people’s work is easy enough to do, and is always the right thing to do.

Another reason people may not give credit to others is because they don’t think they need to. Or, that if they make some small adjustments to what they are claiming to be theirs, makes it entirely different. Thank goodness I’m not a patent lawyer, as I know I wouldn’t have the patience and stamina it must take to attempt to cover all of the bases to prevent someone’s idea from being copied. However, in reality, we see this happening all of the time, as there appears to be either unspoken or undocumented loopholes which are leveraged to essentially mimic another person or company’s creation.

Other people who don’t give credit to others for their creations, and who are knowingly doing so, are compromising their values. Either knowingly or not, the outcome isn’t an enviable way of operating, and is devoid of any leadership qualities. True leaders and ethical people give credit to others. No exceptions, and no grey areas. Yes, this may sound harsh, but the reality is that there is plenty of opportunities for people not to imitate or claim the work of others as their own. More importantly to consider, is the opportunity for everyone to work slightly harder to be creative, and to come up with their own version of expressing or doing something unique.

Praising and acknowledging others work and their accomplishments should be a common practice, and the finest leaders and sports coaches do this on a regular basis. In fact, they often go out of their way to make sure that others are recognized for their work, even rewarded for it when it is appropriate.

Let’s circle back to having people in your life, at work, or on your team that support you. Can you easily cite who they are? Think about them for a moment, and the impact they have had on you. For the sake of conversation, let’s focus on the people who have supported you in a positive way. What would your life or work, or team scenario be like if they weren’t in it before, or on a regular basis? Have you had an opportunity to acknowledge them for supporting you? If not, consider doing so soon.

Now, let’s consider some of the ways you or someone you know can increase and perhaps master the art of giving credit or acknowledgement to others on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you to get started.

  • Start each day with looking for a way to genuinely pass along a compliment to someone. Either verbally, or even better, in writing, as this will have a longer lasting impact.
  • After hearing another person present information to you, let them know why you either liked, or have concerns about what was stated. You don’t always have to agree with someone to give them credit and support for their work.
  • If you realize you have unintentionally leveraged someone else’s idea, words or concept, course correct and let them know you have done so. Yes, it might be uncomfortable doing so, but wouldn’t you rather “tear off the bandage” now, versus having the person learn about you not crediting them at some point?
  • When you are in creation mode of any type, think twice about whether what you are producing could be construed as a blatant “rip-off” of someone else’s work.
  • Think about who you are supportive of. Now think about the ways you are supportive of them, and whether you could in fact be even more supportive with a few minor adjustments? What impact will this have if you do this?
  • Being aware of either your own, or someone else’s tendencies to either be or not be supportive is an awareness level that you want to strive towards. Consider the approaches you can factor in, and how you will increase your awareness on many levels.

The person who I discovered that is leveraging my work may or may not be aware of what they are doing. However, they will be hearing from me, or perhaps others who represent me to make them aware of the fact I am not a fan of what they are doing. Will this change their behavior? I can’t say whether it will, but I do hope they will learn a lesson, and perhaps gain an appreciation for acknowledging other people’s work, and not claiming it as their own.

TAGS: #Leadership #Plagiarizing #Business #Motivation #Personaldevelopment #Sportcoach #Team #Teams #Awareness #Selfawareness

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Intimate teams and camaraderie. Which comes first?

Intimacy. It’s one of those words when you hear it expressed in professional settings and related to the development of business and sports teams which can conjure up associations which make people feel uncomfortable. However, it should elicit the exact opposite response.

So, why are most people uncomfortable with the concept of discussing team intimacy? One of the reasons is because our society tends not to have much experience with talking about concepts that fall into the emotion category. Especially in work and sports environments. It is also frowned upon to talk about subjects which may fall into the personal category, or are on the edge of it.

Another reason people are uncomfortable, especially managers and coaches, is that emotional development, which team intimacy falls into the category of, is not something taught in academic environments. As a result, we independently learn when we are growing up about how to apply emotions, and the appropriate ones to our social interactions. As you already know, there is a wide spectrum of people’s abilities in this area. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not at the level they may need to be.

Why are people not at the levels of where they should be in the areas of emotional intelligence and common sense? Simply put, these attributes are not equally distributed, and neither of them are academically taught. Now, toss in having to navigate and apply emotional management either as an individual team member or manager or coach, and that’s when most teams start to have challenges. Now what, and how is this remedied?

The first thing to consider is to think about why does this happen? It namely occurs because the managers and coaches are not taught how to positively leverage emotions of their team members. However, if they were, the outcomes of their team’s performance would be entirely different, and much more in their favor.

Let’s look at team intimacy from a different perspective. Whether you played on a sports team, or have been on a work team, think about which one of these were the best teams you have ever been on? What were the characteristics which made the team outstanding? If I had to pick one word to represent what is the essence of an outstanding performance team I had been on, it would be camaraderie.

Camaraderie isn’t something which is developed overnight. It takes time, and knowing how to develop it. Unfortunately, very few managers or coaches achieve the level of knowing how to do so. However, there are ones in the sports world that are shining examples of knowing how to develop teams that have incredible camaraderie and intimacy. Alabama football Coach Nick Saban is one example. Scores of content have been written about his ability to develop intimate teams. In the business world, Richard Branson is famous for developing intimate teams via the long list of Virgin brands he has crafted.

What separates Coach Saban and Sir Branson from others? Simply put, they have figured out the formula it takes to produce team camaraderie from leveraging the concept of team intimacy. They are also not afraid of harnessing human emotions to create powerful, high caliber producing teams, and so have I.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have what it takes to create the type of team camaraderie which others admire, and wish they knew the formula for:

  • Do you have emotional based techniques which repeatedly produce high performance results for your team?
  • On a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest rating, how comfortable are you with having emotional conversations with each of your team members?
  • How would you rate your awareness of what truly motivates each team member on a scale of 1-5, with five being exceptional?
  • What was the last conversation you had with one of your team members which caused a conversational breakthrough, and which resulted in that member producing results you have not seen before?
  • Do you know how to influence the camaraderie of your team?
  • What methods of influencing the camaraderie of your team result in sustainable and increased performance metrics?
  • Would you classify your mindset as being self-growth or self-interest?
  • What was the last thing you did to develop team intimacy?
  • What are the systems, structure or processes you have in place to develop sustainable team camaraderie and intimacy?

The questions above are not easy to answer, and chances are you will want to reflect on the outcomes of your responses for a short period of time. If you are not satisfied with your answers, and the results your team is getting, perhaps it’s time to begin considering the importance of leveraging team camaraderie and intimacy in a way you never considered doing. Although there are few guarantees in life, in this case, I guarantee those who have, are the ones who are routinely outperforming your team.

The good news for you? You get to decide which type of team you want to have. I’m guessing I know which type you would prefer to be managing, coaching or be on.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Teambonding #Tipsonhowtobondateam #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Motivation #Success #Nicksaben #Coachnicksaben #Richardbranson

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Sharing. Are you doing this enough?

I grew up with two siblings, and being the oldest, I learned early on that I was expected to share things with them. Sharing wasn’t something I ever thought much about, and it was something I just did. Fast forward to being an adult, and at some point, I realized that not everyone was on board with the same concept of sharing that I was used to.

My first awareness of the fact that not everyone was in the spirit of sharing, occurred when I really needed the person to share some information with me. I asked without considering that the answer could be no, and when I heard the word no, I was surprised. Actually, a bit shocked. I asked the person why they were not willing to share the information with me, and their answer wasn’t what I expected to hear. Their response was that they didn’t feel like sharing the information.

Of course, this person could have shared the information I was asking about, but they deliberately withheld it from me. After this happened, I thought about what would make someone do this? Was it out of spite, jealously or was it a control thing? It turns out it was a control thing, and I did eventually get the person to share the information with me, but this was a good lesson for me.

The best lesson I learned from this experience was that there wasn’t a good reason for the person to withhold the information from me, other than that they could do so. I also realized they may not have had the same experience I had growing up, and which when I shared with others, I felt really great doing so. I can’t tell you that this person felt great or any different when they finally did share the information with me, but I’ll never really know the answer.  However, a small part of me is hopeful that the experience of the person releasing the information to me made them feel better.

I can’t speak for others, but for me personally, I always feel a sense of pride and joy when I can share information with others. The expression that it is better to give than to receive resonates with me, and perhaps you have had this same experience?

As business executive, I came up with a system for determining which people within the organization would be willing to share and help me and others. It was a relatively simple system, and it was always uncanny how accurate it was. My system involved asking a person to share something with me, whether it was advice, experience or perhaps a physical item. If they were willing to share with me, I knew that they would be open to doing so again. If there was any reluctance or hesitation in doing so, I knew the person fell into one of two categories.

The first category was that if someone was willing to share, they were a confident person, and didn’t feel that they would be negatively impacted by the experience. The second category consisted of people who were reluctant or who didn’t share, and I categorized them as someone who thought that their “power” or influence would be diminished if they shared something. Typically, information in this case. The people who didn’t share came across as being less confident, and over time I noticed a pattern with both of the two categories.

The pattern was that the people who were comfortable with sharing progressed much faster and to higher levels in any measurable scenario. Meanwhile, the people who were not categorized as “sharers”, were typically stalling out in their careers, and were also less satisfied in the role they were in. Of course, there were exceptions to the pattern I was seeing, but there was a very strong correlation of this one factor of being a “sharing” person which positively influenced their career and the opportunities they encountered.

Worth noting is that when you begin to study leaders, you will often find that the common thread between them is their willingness to help others. This typically means they are willing to share their experience, network, time and information. They also often do this without hesitation. Have you encountered this type of leader or sports coach?

If you are not someone who currently falls into the category of being a “sharing” type of person, here are some suggestions for you to consider “test driving” to help you lean towards being in this category if you aspire to do so.

  • Without being asked, offer to share something you value with a person that wouldn’t expect you to do so. It could be a physical item or something intangible, but that would be perceived as being valuable to the person you are going to share it with.
  • If you are not accustomed to sharing, you will need to begin slowly, as it will feel very awkward and potentially intimidating for you to do so. Beginning slowly might involve donating your time to a charity to help them with something they are working on.
  • Set a goal for yourself of sharing one thing every day for two weeks, and keep track of what you are sharing. At the end of the two weeks, look back on what you have shared, and think about how it feels to have shared what you have with others.
  • The concept of sharing can take practice, and it does get much easier to share with others, and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t have to take a long time to reach a comfort level you can’t imagine being at currently.  
  • Many of us have too much “stuff”. Instead of sharing it with someone, take it to the next level and give it to someone who could benefit from having it more than you can.
  • Every one of us encountered a teacher, and I’m sure that you could name your favorite one. What was it about your favorite teach that you could mimic and teach someone else by borrowing the attribute about them that you admired?

As the year ends, I am thinking about how amazing our world would be if everyone was able to share with others, or at a different level than they are presently at. Please accept my challenge today of sharing something with another person today, and I’ll look forward to hearing about what you shared, and the outcome of the sharing experience.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Rolemodel #Sharing #Howtoshare #Whysharingisimportant #Careerdevelopment #Sportscoach #Coach #Aspirations #Inspiration #Motivation #Leader #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Teams #HRleader #Talentdevelopment #CEO #Manager #Management #Salesmanagement

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