I remember my first day of 7th grade at Sherwood Junior High in Memphis, Tennessee like it was yesterday. That was the day I met Bud Garrett. Coach Garrett was the coach at Sherwood and he coached baseball, basketball and football. I remember walking past this tall, imposing man and him saying to me, “Boy, you need to go out for football. Be at practice after school today.”
During this time of the year we tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that surrounds us. It’s not only the end of the quarter but also the year, which makes it even more imperative to tie up loose ends and meet those last, remaining deadlines. For some it seems that the last few weeks of the year tend to be the most stressful—and that’s why I’m writing this blog. When things are most hectic is the right time to step back, take a deep breath, and set aside some time to just think.
Thanksgiving comes but once a year and for most people, it is quite a cherished time. We often get to spend time with our families and friends, feel the power of love and connection, and receive a genuine sense of belonging. Thanksgiving is almost always an uplifting time and it seems a shame that we can't have these powerful feelings more often. I’m not sure that we need a Thanksgiving Holiday each month or each quarter but I do believe if we spend more time being thankful for our blessings, our loved ones and our friends, we could connect more often with those powerful feelings that lift us (and them) up.
There’s a saying in sales that’s been proven true throughout the years—people prefer to do business with those they like. Not surprisingly, people have the same feeling about their leaders—they want to like them. Not only are likeable leaders more popular but they are also prone to outperform those who aren’t—and by a wide margin.
I’m a big advocate of “small”. I believe that small changes can lead to big results. That it’s better to ask for a small commitment than a large one. That it’s easier to take small steps than large strides to reach your goal. Usually small is better—but not always, as a recent study confirmed.
Contrary to the advice Robert Fulghum gave in his book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, what you learned in kindergarten just might be working against you. First, let me emphasize that I’m a big fan of this book. I love Fulghum’s advice about sharing, playing fair, and cleaning up your own mess. But I’m also a believer of the points that Seth Godin makes in his book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. Godin states that what you learned in kindergarten about following the rules can prevent you from being remarkable.
“I put five people on your drug…and four of them died!” That’s what one of my customers told me when I was a sales rep for a pharma company. Those are words that no one wants to hear—regardless of your situation. What could I say? What this physician said was certainly inflammatory. The way she said it put me on the defensive. But I’ve learned that when we react emotionally, it is seldom wise or effective.
When you hear the word “coach”, your first thought might be about your favorite sports team. However, coaches are not limited to sports—you find them in all walks of life: sales managers, teachers, volunteers, etc. They are people who are vested in helping others get better. As with all jobs, you’ll find that some coaches are better than others. Regardless of who they are coaching, I’ve learned that winning coaches tend to share certain traits that set them apart from others.