failure to success

From Failure to Success: How Sharing Your Missteps Can Help Build Rapport

During the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I heard a lot of failure to success stories. Whether they were in an LTD speech or on a podcast, these talks always had a way to motivate me to want more. However, when sharing these stories with others, I would have trouble conveying the messages in a way that motivated them as they motivated me.

 

Later, I heard John Maxwell talk about what might be the reason for this. And as I dug into it more, I realized that what he said made a lot of sense.

He said that many times, when we’re trying to encourage people with these awesome stories, we’re actually discouraging them.

Why?

Because they’re simply hearing too much about success. They’re comparing their own lives to these amazing people and “emotionally disqualifying” themselves.

But here’s the thing. All real success in life has a huge component of failure. When I was in academia I didn’t understand this. I couldn’t afford to fail my classes. So I did things I look back at now and realize it wasn’t part of my character.

Likewise, when people are in the corporate world, they’re afraid to lose their jobs. So they’ll avoid confrontation with their higher ups. The problem is that being a “yes man” might actually hurt the company in the long run.

 

Building Hope in Others

When we’re telling our stories to attract others to what we’re doing, we naturally might feel that it’s necessary to illustrate ourselves in a way that we’d perceive an “expert” would.

The problem I’ve seen several entrepreneurs make in their media, posts, or other messages, is that they rarely embrace the hard times. In fact, you might know some folks where all they ever show is their awesome toys – the results of their success.

Those of us who have seen success though, know what it took to get to where we’re at. In fact, I always think of a certain illustration when asked about “what success looks like”:

failure to success

 

 

When we embrace our failures, it makes us seem more reachable and it makes those who we’re influencing more teachable.

Or, in short,

People are impressed with success but impacted by our failures. – John Maxwell

 

Investing in and Learning from Failures

When I was going to high school, I remember someone (probably a guidance counselor) asking me a random question. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question too:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

I remember answering this question would motivate me to think about the future and what I wanted to do.

But there’s a problem inherently wrong with this question. In the long run, it’s not possible to be successful without having that element of failure.

So a better way of asking this question might be something like:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you WOULD fail, but you knew you would learn, grown, and get better?

 

Adjusting on the Fly

One of the most successful coaches in NFL history has been Bill Belichick. Love or hate the Patriots, you have to admire how they’ve been able to win as much as they have in the last two decades.

Many people attribute their success to Bill’s ability to make appropriate adjustments at halftime.

In contrast, as I’ve previously mentioned in this post, the 2017 Colts were notorious about losing games in the second half. While many times they seemed to come out with a lot of energy, inevitably halftime would come.

While most teams would change things a bit, they didn’t seem to change their game. In fact, if they were leading at half time, they’d play far more conservatively.

They were playing not to lose.

The difference between these two coaching approaches is jarring. The Colts coaching staff knew they were playing for their jobs. And subsequently, they feared failure.

On the other hand, the Patriots are willing to change things up during the game. Sure, they don’t want to lose, but they’re in a much better place to succeed with all the adjustments they make. Plus, if they do lose, they put even more time in the film room to figure out how to improve.

 

Seeing Failures as Learning Experiences

So how do we go from “playing not to lose” to “playing to win”? Again, it’s all about seeing failure as a means to success.

That said, there’s a handful of small tweaks we can make in our perspectives if we really want to make a change:

 

Get More Optimistic

There’s always ways to get better. Whether it’s through honing your own skills or helping others get better at their strengths, there’s always a chance to improve.

 

Take More Responsibility

When I think of the poise that Peyton Manning had and now Andrew Luck as leaders of the Colts, I can’t help but notice how much responsibility they’ve taken. Instead of blaming others for their loses at the post game podium, they’d always respond with “That’s my fault. I could have played better.” or “There’s things we all need to work on. I didn’t help the situation today.”

Even in a win, their response was/is always predictable “Yeah, we’ve come pretty far and did really well today. But there’s some things that we can definitely clean up a bit more.”

Though they might not have been the sole reason for a loss, they took responsibility of the failure. And it’s through this simple perspective tweak that they felt the need more to learn and improve on their own performance while inspiring those around them to get better.

 

Be a Bit More Humble

Another thing that Peyton and Andrew noticeably do is praise the members on their team. Peyton was always praising his linemen, and Andrew always talks about how it was a team effort. This rubbed off on their teammates quite noticeably. In fact, there’s some Colts who were players during Peyton’s time that today put in personal time to mentor and coach the new players.

So if you’re praised for something a team did turn it around and appreciate the team. If you’re in a position where you can help others be more successful in their work, help them. They might pay it forward.

 

Build Your Resilience:

Another thing I’ve noticed about successful sports teams is that they tend to have a short term memory for wins or losses. Regardless of the outcome, they always seem to look in the rear view mirror for a day and move on.

That said, a losing mentality can be contagious. So as previously mentioned it’s important that when players fail, they actually look at why they failed and learn how to improve. They simply can’t brush it off. In fact, on successful teams the better players will be wanting to get to the film as quickly as possible. Not so great players will shy away from seeing the film of their performance.

 

Embrace Challenges

Let’s face it, challenges will come up in our lives. It’s how you choose to respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

In sports, successful teams always “look forward” to playing the next team on their schedule. Sure, it’s easy to say this when you’re going against a team that barely knows how to win, but it raises your character a bit more when you’re saying the same thing about a team that has repeatedly beat your team in recent years.

Here’s another example.  In college, I learned that this approach really helped me study because I’d take the homework just as serious as the tests and exams themselves. Without the time trying to actually understand the homework, I would have been doomed for the tests. (This is completely different than how most people approach studying in high school.)

 

Action Steps

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering “why am I having problems connecting with my audience (or coworkers)?” ask yourself if you’ve been attempting to connect with them by sharing your own flops.

If not, see if some of these tactics can help you make more of an impact.

The better you become at embracing your failures, the deeper connections you’ll find yourself building with those around you.ii                                           

best coaching

Coach Krzyzewski’s Best Coaching Practices for Sports and Business

When many people think of coaches, they automatically think about those who coach in sports. However, those of us who are entrepreneurs know that there’s all kinds of coaches. Back when I first published this post on December 18, 2011, I had recently done a comparison of sports coaches and whether or not their practices transferred well to professional coaches. One such comparison I think transfers well was “Lombardi Time”. Today I think of it as “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”

So, to make sure you’re on time ALL the time when you’re trying to make a good impression – set that clock for 10 minutes ahead!

Another sports coach that we can get a lot of takeaways from is coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke Basketball.

There’s been a number of people through the years who have studied the mindset and habits he forms with his players.

Here are a few that I think are notable.


Coach K’s Practices:

Overall Mindset:

“Why do you play a game? I play a game to see how good we can be.”

Slightly different than the mindset of coach Herm Edwards who responded to this question with the infamous quote “You play to win the game!”. One might think that these are the same thing, but they’re slightly different. Personally I would mix these two quotes into something like “I play a game to see how good we can be in winning the game!!”

Why is this first part of important? Because if your foundation isn’t strong, then winning games becomes almost luck at times. Other times you might try and win by not being completely moral about the way you got there. Many believe that as long as you’re “winning” it doesn’t matter how you get there. Heck, that might as well be a Charlie Sheen quote.

Interestingly, that’s probably why his whole situation was amusing to all of us. It showed us as a society that “winning” is almost cliche. That we all, at one time or another, don’t care how we win – just as long as we do.

On Defense:

A sign prominent in the Duke locker room: NO ONE PENETRATES OUR DEFENSE.

In the world of college basketball, defense is key to winning games. If you build your team based on playing good defense, then you won’t be scored on and you won’t give the opposing time at the line throwing free throws. Defense is more important than offense, it would seem.

“He’s coaching like he’s defending the most precious thing in the world to him, and he does everything with the passion you would as if your were defending the most precious thing in the world to you,” said Steve Wojciechowski, a former Duke player (1995-98) and now a Krzyzewski assistant.

And they are – they are defending the standards of their program. Chances are when they lose games, it’s probably that they were beat by a better team and/or they didn’t play good defense. The Blue Devils place equal stress on keeping opponents off the line. Krzyzewski considers that a “critical” aspect of playing intelligent basketball. His teams practice situations in which they have six fouls and must strive to play tough defense without incurring a seventh that would put the opposition on the line with a one-on-one opportunity.

On Offense:

Duke is known for getting to the foul line on offense, often attacking the basket with dribble penetration. For many teams that they face, this is probably a great concern. But that’s just scratching the surface. Coach K. says, “I have a plan of action, but the game is a game of adjustments. Our offense is based on thinking. If you can really think on the court, then you have as much freedom as your abilities will allow you. What you try to do is create roles for your players. Not numbered roles or titled positions, but you try to say, ‘Look, here is where you’re successful, now in this frame of reference you can do whatever the defense allows you, so read the defense.”

In true leadership, this is knowing what the strengths of your players are and putting them in the team accordingly. Put them in a position where their natural abilities let them excel. As a coach/leader, we need to recognize these natural talents early on so we don’t waste time forcing a square peg in a round hole. However, there’s nothing wrong with rounding the edges of the square peg just a bit to help them be more flexible. Just don’t expect them to be as good as a natural in that position.

On Recruiting:

That last point brings up another good one. Back in my LTD days, I remember my upline Greg and the other Diamonds on the team talking about how they got the chance to watch Duke practices on an annual basis. One thing that stuck out to me that Greg mentioned was that the best coaches aren’t necessarily the greatest at coaching. They’re just really great at recruiting. Great coaches find talent that want to get to the next level. It limits the amount of conflict that occurs between the “players” and the coach. “I don’t need to necessarily be a great coach to my players,” said Greg. “I just got really good at picking good talent that make me look good!”

Other Quotes for You to Think About:

Here’s a few handpicked quotes that I think are pertinent to building a winning mindset and positive habits.

“I don’t think we surprise people. We try to out-execute them.”
-Coach K

“Last year, I said I wonder where we’ll put the second banner. We’ve got to find out, don’t we? I’m probably stupid for saying this, but I wonder where a third one might go.”
-Coach K

“The best teams are teams in any sport that lose themselves in the team. The individuals lose their identity. And their identities come about as a result of being in the team first.”
-Coach K

“You can’t defer if you’re the person who’s in the leadership position.”
-Coach K

“I think leadership is never singular. In a good organization, it’s plural.”
-Coach K

 

Action Steps

Love him or hate him, you gotta admit that Coach K is a great coach. He’s written several books that I’m a fan of. If you want a good book of his that I read a few years back, check out Leading from the Heart. If you liked the quotes, I got them specifically from a book called Coach K’s Little Blue Book. While it’s an older one, I highly recommend checking it out if you’re a sports fan and like applying successful principles into your life.

I’m not the biggest of basketball fans, but I really respect Coach K’s philosophy. To me it seems that having the structure that he gives his teams is the number one reason they do so well. I think that any coach that takes some of his style of coaching is setting their players or clients up for success.

If you’re a coach, how could you implement this into how you interact with those you’re working with? If you’re already having success as a coach, what kind of success principles have you been using to get your people to perform as well as they have?

surround yourself with good people

Finding Your Success Board – Why It’s Necessary to Surround Yourself with Good People

Have you ever thought back to a time where you met someone super intriguing? Someone who simply made you feel better about the world? And all you had to do was be near them? Maybe you met them when you were in school and they gave you a certain attention that others didn’t? Perhaps it was a colleague you gave you some career guidance?

Hopefully, you’ve lucked into one of these people in some way in your life.

They’re a complete joy to be with.

 

John Maxwell says that people are like elevators. Some bring you up, and others bring you down.

Personally, I’m all about spending time with people who bring me up. In fact, I try to have a core group of around 5 people in which I bounce ideas and concerns off of on a regular basis.

Why 5? Because Jim Rohn once said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you’re looking to get somewhere in life or with your business, you need to make sure that those people are people YOU’VE chosen and are not placed there randomly by the universe.

 

YOU have to seek these people out.

So here’s the question – how do you find these people? Well, here’s a few ideas to help you start a process to find these right folks.

 

Define Your Influencers

Here’s the thing. The 5 people on your Success Board – your Influencers – they need to be sought after and chosen by you. Your immediate family members don’t really count because they’re family and you’re stuck with them. There might be some bias there and there’s a good chance they might not have the life that you’re looking to have someday.

So who does that leave? You’d think the rest of the world, but that’s simply not the case. I wish it was as simple as that!

No, what you and I both have to do is have a way of sorting out the folks that we want in our life. We want to find those that take us up, not down.

How do you do that?

By defining a list of characteristics that you want in those people!

If you take the time to define the vision and the attributes of your inner circle, you could discover those folks who embody those attributes are probably not far away from where you’re at today.

When it comes to those that I surround myself with, here’s a list of characteristics that I thought was important.

 

Authentic

No one wins when people try to be someone they’re not. Not the person themselves, and certainly not those that think they’re that certain kind of person. Who you are professionally should be a better representation of who you are, but not completely alien.

 

Intelligent

For me, up til grad school, I knew I always wanted to be around people who had completed their bachelors. The reason I believed I wanted this in my friends and spouse was because for the longest time, academic achievement was how I measured intelligence. (Unfortunately, that’s how it is in most of the world yet today!)

However, when I did get into grad school, I had many huge revelations. One was realizing that there are people who have degrees that aren’t that intelligent (they do whatever they’re told). There’s also those that don’t have degrees who have been super successful in life.

So how do you recognize intelligence? It’s simple. Look for thinkers, dreamers, and people who want to do great things.

 

Creative

There’s a lot of problems in the world that need to be fixed. We need more people who want to fix those issues themselves or be part of a group that’s making great change. Personally, I don’t have time for people who think “someone should do something about that…”. Do you?

 

Growth Mentality

It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Or, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Either way you look at it, to move forward you have to grow. And to grow, you have to learn.

When searching for people to be part of my Success Board, I like to find out what they are currently learning about. If they’re not learning about something or aren’t readily willing to share what they’ve learned, they might not be the best folks to work with.

I also like to look for people who aren’t happy with where they’re at in life and are actively trying to be more, earn more, and help more.

 

Aware of Meaningful Current Events

I don’t understand people who live vicariously through others. Watching reality shows has never really been of interest to me. Why? Because I feel that it’s not fair for someone to devote their emotions to an event that doesn’t affect them one way or the other.

When I was younger, I did this way too often. Heck, I’d have a bad week when the Colts lost – but if they won, it’d be a great week! (And of course, those were the weeks where I’d wear a jersey with pride!)

A lot of my friends were the same way about their favorite NFL teams.

However, when they finally won the Super Bowl back in 2007, it got me thinking: how did this affect me personally?

The best response that I came up with was “Well, I guess I can tell future generations that ‘I was there.’” When in reality, I saw it on TV.

Today, anyone can watch that same game on YouTube. It’s not that big of a deal.

What’s going on with the Kardashians or the Royal Family? Who cares? How does watching their life help yours?

What’s going on with your family or the people around you who you care about? What can affect those people? That’s what really matters.

And just for clarity, I’m not saying that you and the folks you surround yourself with should not pay attention to pop culture at all. What I am saying is that we all need to find the things that are interesting to the REAL us. If you’re a bit dorky like I am, then enjoy your Sci-Fi. But ask yourself why you liked that series or movie. Was it worth the time you put into it?

Are you really into music? Why are you into that particular song or group?

These aren’t just questions we should be asking ourselves, but also those who we surround ourselves with.

 

Sense of Humor

One thing that irritates the heck out of me is when folks are constantly promoting a politically correct agenda. If you want to be, that’s great. If you want to be the next Donald Trump, I’m for that too.

But sometimes, you need to look around and see things for what they are and have a chuckle. While I might not have had the same views as George Carlin on a lot of things, I did appreciate his genius in finding the humor in just about everything. And when he did, there was always a bit of truth to it.

There’s a place and time where humor is needed. Heck, even Avengers: Infinity Wars used it for plot gaps!

 

Civilized

As much as I hate to admit that I have certain standards, I do.

I like being a person of the people. I believe that everyone has potential. It’s just that they have to see it in themselves before they can act on it.

So sometimes, I find myself interacting with people who others might think are a bit shady on the surface. But the truth is that if I see they’re trying to be better (see above), then I’ll help them along the way.

However, if they’re not interested in improving themselves, are vulgar for no reason, and just down right crude – I’ll typically not be interested in spending time with that person.

Same thing could be said about how they achieve what they want in life. Are they grateful for what they have or are they trying to knock everyone else down?

Even taking care of themselves. Do they practice good hygiene regularly or only when they have to?

If you have certain standards, why surround yourself with people who don’t? They could easily become a distraction or even worse, a downer!

 

Action Steps

So the above traits are a few simple examples of traits that people in my Success Board have. You might have a longer list than the one above – which is just fine.

In fact, using a list like this can be a great way of finding a future spouse. (It’s how I realized Maria as wife material! However that list was much longer as it was more of an itemized list.)

The sooner you have a list like this, the sooner your subconscious will start seeing disconnects with those who are bringing you down but you just weren’t aware of.

Are you thinking of adding any other traits to your list? Maybe you have already. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

uncertain future

Dave Sanderson – Moments Matter: Why Being Certain about an Uncertain Future is Necessary to Your Success (AoL 120)

It’s been said that real leaders step up in challenging moments. In fact, that’s one trait that professional sports players have to possess in order to win close games. Even us creatives need to be able to give clients what they need when they need it. We also need to be able to do well under fire during negotiations as well.

Unfortunately, life can be a little more complicated than playing games and making business deals. In today’s world, we’ve become all too familiar with crisis. And those that can help cope with these traumatic times, can quite possibly save lives.

That’s exactly what today’s guest, Dave Sanderson did.

In this interview with Dave, we find out what he’s learned from the Miracle on the Hudson and how he’s using that to empower people around the world.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Who was Dave before the “Miracle on the Hudson”? 8:37
  • How does a sales guy become the head of security for someone like Tony Robbins? 9:54
  • Where did Dave get the skill set to handle the plane crash? 11:47
  • How did the plane crash affect him emotionally? 13:34
  • What made Dave that he should write a book after the event? 15:05
  • How does the lesson Dave learned on the Hudson about leadership translate to everyday entrepreneurs? 17:38
  • What are a few common traits that Dave sees in successful people he meets around the world? 20:30
  • How can someone “do the right thing” when they’re not a decision maker in an organization? 24:09
  • How did Dave finally get over his fear when it came to doing his own thing? 27:18
  • What kind of individuals is Dave currently working with who deal with PTSD? 30:15
  • What’s he looking forward to in the future? 5:05
  • 3 Influencers who have helped get to where he’s at today? 36:52
  • What’s the best advice that he’s ever received? 37:26
  • What’s something that more people should be talking about? 37:49
  • How can people be a difference maker in their community? 38:23

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

KMTV “The Morning Blend” Interview

Tony Robbins Giving Props to Dave

Dave’s TEDx talk

Titania Jordan Interview

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

professional etiquette

15 Professional Etiquette Tips to Help Your Business Blossom

You know that feeling. When someone doesn’t quite live up to your standards. It’s hard to describe that particular feeling though.

Do you feel let down? Sure.

Maybe a little bit of shame because you feel you might have dropped the ball somehow? Quite possibly.

Maybe, it’s neither. Maybe you just brush it off and place a label on that person as “not up to par”.

Well, having grown up in a old patriarchal family that was HUGE on manners, I can tell you a thing or two about how it’s helped me throughout the years.

I remember one particular instance where I reached for food in a wrong manner, and was stabbed with a fork.

It taught me a lesson in being polite at the table. Reaching for things across other people – not a polite thing to do.

Today, however, stabbing someone with a fork (or most discipline for that matter) is not acceptable in our PC liberal leading world. In fact, I’m sure it would be considered child abuse.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there practicing business that might not have been taught how to be polite growing up themselves.

Quite regularly, for example, I hear the question “does profanity bother me in business?” Well, that’s kinda like asking “Does nudity bug you in public?”.

I mean, of course they’re not the same thing. But the same principles of self control are used in both.  

Personally, it’s hard for me to trust people who don’t show self control up front. It makes me wonder if they’ll show self control in the rest of their life and business.

 

Manners Matter!

That being the case, what are some ways of making sure that people don’t get the wrong impression of you when you first meet?

Of course the answer is being mindful with your manners.

Manners are a great way to illustrate that you practice self control. And self control is one of the keys in building long lasting trust.

You want a good working relationship, that first impression (as well as your 2nd, 3rd, and etc.) is huge when it comes to self-selecting yourself when it comes to opportunities.

Likes attract likes. If you want to attract Gary Vaynerchuk type folks in your life, work it like Gary. But I’m not saying just be crass – I’m saying have people skills and know how to get the job done. Otherwise you might end up like looking like a try hard Jesse Pinkman type of character.

So here’s a few things that I think many of us online business folk should probably get a little better at:

 

First Impressions

First impression is the best way to start building good moral right away. Besides not swearing as if you’re beer buddies, it’s also good to present yourself in the manner you want to known. Sure, you can dress like Elliot Alderson if you want or you can suit up. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Few more pointers include:

  1. When meeting someone, always shake hands firmly while making eye contact. No wimpy hand grabs. And make sure that if you’re sitting, that you get up to shake their hand when you first meet them. Note: It’s ok to sit while shaking hands when you’re agreeing on something!
  2. Pay attention to their name and use it as frequently as makes sense. Up to a point, the more you use it, the more they feel important. (Just don’t use it in negative examples.)
  3. Besides learning their name, give other cues that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Repeat what they say sometimes.
  4. Use your inside voice. Sometimes people are obnoxiously loud when meeting new people. Might be because they’re over-excited. Might be because they’re not aware that their voice carries as well as it does.
  5. Put away any digital devices when meeting someone. Better yet, put it on silent or turn it off completely so that you can have a good uninterrupted conversation.

 

Communication

Speaking of turning off digital devices, there’s some things that you should probably think about with communication etiquette:

 

  1. When it comes to a phone in particular, maintain your usual speaking volume. Also, if you’re speaking with someone on the speakerphone – let them know. This might actually keep them from looking like a tool… or both of you if they drop something on the line that might not be the best thing for people near you to hear.
  2. When it comes to email and other online messages, you can never be too cautious. Generally speaking, in person, we all have an easier understanding of what others are trying to say. But if you use too many exclamation marks, reply in all caps, or use too many emoticons.
  3. Also, when it comes to emails – use professional email addresses. At one point, this meant just not using names like “[email protected]…”, “[email protected]…” or other cute or fun names. That still is good rule, but we live in a time where if you have a business, you should have a business email. You can get up to 10 of them for free at zoho.com.
  4. When it comes to messaging people, whether it’s on Facebook or through texts, try to keep the conversation short. Also, don’t be a negative through messages. Important conversations need to be had on the phone or in person.
  5. If you miss someone’s call, get a text, or an email try to respond to them promptly. In a world where ghosting is a thing, you don’t want people to get the idea that you’re avoiding them on purpose.

 

Other Stuff

A few things that don’t necessarily fit above include:

 

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A good rule of thumb is to not disrupt the ways of the locals. Whether that means keeping your space tidy or labeling food in a refrigerator  in a coworking space or knowing a bit about the language.
  2. Be timely. Be on time as much as possible. End meetings on time and never use more words when you could use less.
  3. Unless someone is volunteering information or you have their permission, don’t brain-pick! Always ask permission to get someone’s advice or when you want to be direct with them.
  4. Be strategic when choosing meals. You don’t want to order anything that splatters with new people. If you can, only do meals with people you feel comfortable with.
  5. Might be a little old fashioned, but handwritten thank you cards go a long way. Pat Flynn has a wall where his fans’ notes end up! Also, when not handwriting, make sure you always use spell check!! 🙂

 

Action Steps

That’s a good list to get you started. I’m sure there’s plenty of pointers I’m missing, though. What are some things you’ve noticed people have done that left a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments below!!

teambuilding

Putting People in the Right Place – A Teambuilding Case Study

As I’ve been going through all of the emotional ups and downs with losing Sadie, there’s been a number of things that have been keeping me optimistic about the future.

For one, there’s a ton of things going well out at Collaborate 317 that I’m glad to hear about. We’re really starting to be recognized by folks in the community. In fact, a nearby town recently contacted us in regards to helping them start their incubator. Oh, and another event that was hosted by HB Bell went pretty well last week. It was called the Community R.U.L.E. Nonprofit Jazz Network Mixer. I got to spend a bit of time at that event after doing last week’s Junto Show with Harrison and Ping. Lots of interesting nonprofits were featured.

Another thing that I’ve been paying close attention to are how the Colts have been dealing with certain events in their organization.

Many of you know that I’m a fan – as I can be found wearing Colts gear pretty regularly. But there’s a reason for that: the team has integrity as a whole. All the way from the top at Jim Irsay (who loves his organization and wants to win) down to the newest members of the team

So when I wear the gear, sure I’m relating as a fan, but I’m also giving myself a reminder in how I need to act.

 

Recent Examples of Colts’ Integrity

 

Caring About Others

You might have heard about one of our players getting killed in a drunk driving related accident in early February. The player’s name was Edwin “Pound Cake” Jackson. And he had really only contributed to the team for a year and placed on injury reserve for all of 2017 (meaning he wasn’t able to play even though he was still part of the team).

Even though he hadn’t really been here that long, he was still considered part of the family. Not only did Jim pay for his and his Uber driver’s funerals, but he also set up a scholarship fund in his name.

Not every team would do that.

 

Sometimes the best Solution isn’t the First Solution

Then there was the recent signing of the Colts’ new head coach.

If you’re familiar at all with the NFL, you know that the Patriots have been doing very well during the last 15+ years. A big part of that success has been their coaching staff – and one of those members was supposedly going to be our new coach after this year’s Super Bowl.

For whatever reason, at the last moment, he decided to go back on his word on becoming our new coach. Needless to say, that angered a bunch of people around the league. For many, it also confirmed that the Patriots have some internal issues with character. As long as someone can do their job when they’re supposed to, they’ll have a place.

Well, we scrambled to find a coach to fit. And let me tell you, our new head coach, Frank Reich, fits the bill of what it means to be a Colt – he has integrity.

Not only was he loyal to his old team throughout the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl by not interviewing with other teams were looking for their new head coach (he was missing the bus on getting one of these positions), he has fully taken on all responsibilities for working with the team as a part of leadership – not the main guy.

The Colts, especially their new General Manager, Chris Ballard, know what it takes to put a winning team together. And I personally believe that the biggest part of that is knowing if and where people fit into an organization.

 

Failure in Realizing Talent Leads to Bad Results

I think this was the biggest issue with our last coach and GM combination. They simply had a team where many of the parts didn’t fit quite right. While Grigson would find talent to plug in, Pagano’s job was to help that talent excel.

Apparently they didn’t communicate much on what the vision of the entire team was and that’s where they failed. Specifically, they failed to communicate on the talent of the players and matching that with the three Rs – what’s required, what provides the best return, and what is the greatest reward.

Without having that feedback, the team was set up for failure.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter how good the talent is – no team is going to win if they’re out of place.

 

How to Put People in the Right Place

In John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, there are three laws that we can zero in on when it comes to building a team:

  1. Niche
  2. Chain
  3. Bench

Based on what I’ve seen by our new GM Chris Ballard, I believe that he understands these laws quite well. Let’s take a look at them and how the Colts have or have not utilized these laws appropriately.

 

Law of the Niche

All players have a place where they add the most value. If you were to look at a typical NFL team, this is super obvious. Lineman wouldn’t be great ball handlers and visa versa. Even going deeper, you could say that many quarterbacks wouldn’t make great running backs.

And even another level – not all players fit all schemes of playing.

For example, there was a player a few years ago who people loved when he was coming out of college. His name was Trent Richardson. Unfortunately, his career didn’t pan out as many people would have expected it to.

Why?

For one, we have to realize that the college game doesn’t always translate directly to the professional level. Not all great college players excel in the NFL. In fact, there are times when lesser known college players will be better in the NFL. In a few subtle ways, it’s a different game.

Trent’s strengths that led him to his success in college didn’t translate directly to the success in the pros.

Also, it didn’t help that he missed a good part of his transitional season due to injury. And when it was time to perform, he wasn’t as fine tuned as he could have been. (It also didn’t help that the leadership of the Browns is known for destroying potentially great players.)

When he got to the Colts, he still looked good on paper. So we were excited to get him. But as a fan base, we realized soon why the Browns allowed him to come.

Besides not having his skills fine tuned for the league, the scheme that he was a part of in college wasn’t the scheme that he had in the pros. Eventually, our leadership let him walk because he wasn’t doing what was expected of him.

 

Law of the Chain

You’ve heard the saying “You’re only as strong as the weakest point” about teams, I’m sure. And as we’ve seen in the example above with Trent, one could say that he was a bit of a liability to the teams that he was on and to himself.

But is it fair to put that responsibility on his shoulders alone?

Personally, I’d say he got screwed over by being in several systems who didn’t know how to place him correctly. We know he was gifted, so obviously the problem had to be placement related.

The evidence of this is that this past year he bounced back a bit in the CFL. I really think it’s because they knew what they were getting when he got him. Plus, he didn’t have all the weight on his shoulders that he did here. In the NFL you’re expected to be able to perform from day 1. People didn’t really ask why he was not performing to level he should. But had they, they would have realized that he needed more time.

In Maxwell’s book, he says that there are 4 questions to ask about a weak link:

Are they weak because they’re new?

If so, give them some time. (I argue he never had this time to adjust with him missing out on training camp and preseason).

 

Are they weak because they aren’t growing?

Find out why and help motivate them through the issues. In Trent’s case, he wasn’t growing because he had all the weight on his shoulders from having to perform to support friends and the teams he was a part of. He was being forced to be the answer for everyone’s problems.

 

Are they weak because they lack people skills?

Help them understand how they’re screwing up. Teach Trent to say no to his “friends” who were using him.

 

Are they weak because they lack giftedness in this area?

If they’re not meant to ever be in a particular position based on personality or giftedness, don’t push the matter. For Trent, what seemed like a gift issue was actually the other 3 problems.

 

One last thing to note about this law. Stronger members will tend to pick up the slack of weaker members. In our Colts example, Andrew Luck, (who’s a solid 9 when it comes to leadership qualities) many times had to over exert himself to make up for the lack of offensive effectiveness on the field. I believe that’s one reason, in the long run, the team imploded when he got hurt and had to miss time on the field.

 

Law of the Bench

When it comes to winning games, the 4th quarter is where it’s at. In 2017, the Colts lost most of their games in the 2nd half. Had the game ended in the first half, the team would have made the playoffs no problem.

But because the team was incapable of playing 4 quarters, they won all of 4 games.

Sure, you could say that it was because coach Chuck Pagano played too conservatively in the second half. But I think that the biggest issue was that when people went down to injury (which we had tons of injuries this year!), there was poor talent to back them up.

Heck, you might even say that in many of our positions we didn’t have the right talent in the first place!

What’s great about having our new leadership, is that they’re righting the boat. They realize that recruiting is just as important as training and dropping the wrong people.

Instead of keeping mismatched players around to fill the roster, I think Chris Ballard realizes that when you spend time with the best people, you don’t have time for the worst.

I mean, he seems to take a Jack Welch strategy to the team. Jack was known for getting rid of the bottom 10% on a regular basis during his time at GE. This made that company so much better during his time there. I think Chris understands the power of dropping people – especially for the right reasons. In the end, he gets stronger and stronger players which gives the team more options.

 

Action Steps

What a difference a change of leadership can make. To be frank, I’m kind of interested to know what Jim Irsay saw in Coach Pagano and Ryan Grigson when he initially brought them on. One thing that definitely was surprising when they first arrived on the scene was how they removed all the players from the previous team – even those that were actually good.

In hindsight, I’m not sure what to make of that. It doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out the same way with our new leadership – at least not quite yet.

Anyway, when it comes to your organization or small team, I want to make sure you have 4 takeaways from this post:

 

  1. Hire for strengths and natural gifts.
  2. If people aren’t performing to the level you’d expect, ask why. This is key. Maybe you can actually help them improve.
  3. If you believe they no longer express the gifts that you brought them in for, feel free to remove them. In the long run, it’s for everyone’s best interest.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look for team members who are better fits for where your organization currently is. Teams are organic and sometimes someone who was a perfect fit last year, might be in a different place this year than last.

 

Below, let me know what you think about these laws. Do they apply to anything you’ve had experience with? How so?

great leaders

5 Characteristics of a Builder: Why Builders Can Make Great Leaders

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. As many of you know, Maria and I had a wedding to attend in Honduras. So after the last post, the rest of the week was geared towards getting there while at the same time releasing the last podcast.

That’s why you might have noticed the last podcast was released a couple of days early.

Anyway – as we were there in Honduras, I met several guys (including the groom) who were really wanting to improve life down there. Not only their own, but the lives of their neighbors in their city – San Pedro Sula.

For much of the western world, when we think of Honduras, we think of a place that drug lords have called home to and they have no shortage of violence.

While this used to be the case, I was told by the guys that this really isn’t how they see it.

They see a lot of opportunity for truly building something.

While we were having our fairly deep discussions (especially for a wedding!), I got to thinking.

How can these guys be more of an influence in their own town? Then it came to me.

They can become great builders.

Let’s take a minute to dive into some builder characteristics.

 

1. Builders are Results Oriented

When I’m talking about becoming a builder, I’m not talking about just construction builders. While Honduras definitely does need an updated infrastructure, there’s other jobs that these guys could excel at – in which they CAN make a difference.

When I was speaking with the groomsmen, this is one thing I noticed they all wanted to do.

Not only did they want to make a difference for themselves – but for their countrymen as well.

While they wanted to know the inner workings of our government here in the states, they also wanted to make sure that I knew the results that their work was accomplishing.

The thing about builders of all types is that they’re numbers oriented. I mean, when you think about it, people who are numbers oriented are usually builders of some sort. Engineers are a great example. Local government members can be another.

One thing to note though. These folks might fudge their numbers a little bit. Sometimes it’s not a big deal. Other times it can be a huge issue. So make sure if you’re planning on being a builder, set a good example and always be transparent with your results.

 

2. Builders are Hardly Ever Satisfied

When it comes to builders – the reason they build is because they want some sort of change in the world. But even when that change occurs, there’s a big chance that they’re not going to stop there. If they’re an entrepreneur, there’s going to be another product they’ll want to make. If they’re an engineer, there’s another project they’ll want to work on.

One thing to think about is that builders feel like they have to be productive each day. They feel like those who aren’t naturally productive might have something wrong with them.

But, in reality, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s simply the fact that everyone is different. While builders are task oriented, those “non-builders” are probably people oriented.

Both are needed in the world.

So instead of worrying about what others are doing, we should be concerned about whether or not we’ve been meeting our own standards.

 

3. Builders are Comfortable with Uncertainty

You’ve heard the saying before “Ready, Aim, Fire!”. Well, a common saying in the online entrepreneurial community is “Ready, Fire, Aim!”. In fact, in my conversation with Andrew O’Brien (founder of the Vetrepreneur Tribe) he said that when starting a business, people need to think about it as a 50 caliber machine gun instead of a sniper rifle.

That said, snipers have to consider the wind when taking shots. In other words, they have their own kind of uncertainty.

So us builders, even though many of us are ok with rushing into uncertainty and finding an answer, it might be best to think things out first from time to time.

 

4. Options are Desirable

When it comes to being successful, many would say that an abundant mindset is key to reaching that success.

Why? Because having an abundant mindset gives you lots of options in any givien situation. On the other hand, a scarcity mindset prevents many of those options from ever presenting themselves.

Successful builders realize that having more options to tackle a problem is better than having just a few.

To a successful builder, there isn’t any one particular right way.

 

5. A Builder’s Drive is Contagious

A final characteristic about builders is that their plans are contagious to others. For one, builders learn more from other builders. But another thing is that when builders get around other builders, they feel like they can do anything.

So if you’re a new builder yourself, ask yourself, “Am I contagious?”

Do people feel that way when they get around you?

If the answer is yes, then you’re going the right direction.

If not, it could be a number of things. So feel free to contact me if you feel you don’t quite have a magnetic personality yet.

 

Action Steps

Anyhow, there’s just a few characteristics of builders. Whether or not you’re looking to improve your local government, start improving your town’s infrastructure or make your business better, these are some things you might want to consider if you feel that things aren’t going the way you’d like.

If that’s the case and you haven’t plugged into a group who supports each other, then you’re invited to join us in the Junto!