The “madness” is gone.
I must admit – I miss it. Even though my bracket blew up the first weekend, I enjoyed watching the games. I’m probably rationalizing the time spent, but I learned a great deal during those exciting weekends.
My Lessons Learned:
1. Play with Passion
Their love of the game is palatable. It isn’t million dollar contracts, it’s a genuine desire to win. Passion is such an important part of work. Do you still have passion? It really isn’t “work” when you do. Even if you aren’t in love with your entire job – find an element, cause, project or team where your passion is high. Spend as much time as possible in those areas.
Play with passion – without it, you’re just working!
2. Allow Yourself to be Coached
Those kids pay attention during time-outs. They glance to the sidelines for input and suggestions. They demonstrate deference when called out for bad behavior. I love that! Never be too old to be coached. Never be too cocky for input. Never reach a point where you know all there is to know. Always seek out someone with more knowledge, skill or experience and listen to his/her wisdom.
A day without feedback is a lost 24 hours!
3. Don’t Read your own Press Clippings
Poor Kentucky! So many said they were the best and would win it all – they believed it. The look of shock when they didn’t was priceless (I’m not a Kentucky fan!). They were too surprised and confused to regroup, dig in and win. While I hope you are good at your job, don’t rest on your laurels. It’s great to have a positive reputation and be the “go-to-gal,” but don’t stop trying. Be humble. Be hungry.
Don’t be a know-it-all – you are dangerous to yourself and your Company!
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Athletes practice 90% and perform 10% of the time. Conversely, at work – you perform 90% and practice 10% of your time! No offense to basketball players, but it’s just a game. What you do has far bigger consequences. How can you expect greatness if you rarely practice? The complexity and challenge of leading, influencing and working is huge. You too must practice. While you won’t ever get 90% of your time to do so, you must make time. Reflect at the end of the day (or a big event) – what went well or not so well? Keep a journal and look for daily lessons learned to track. Ask for feedback – heck, I encourage Leaders to video tape themselves in action – video is amazing for playing Monday Morning Quarterback and finding areas to improve.
Never stop improving your skills if you want to get ahead!
5. Remember David can (and does) beat Goliath
In the first two weeks – we expect an underdog to break through. We believe a “Cinderella” team shall make an appearance. Don’t lose that expectation in your career. Try for that stretch assignment; ask for the big promotion; apply for the job you don’t have the experience for; leave your secure job and try something new; pursue your dream job. Success stories are everywhere – stop the self-doubting voices in your head and give it a try!
Believe in your self – it is half the battle!
6. Anything can Happen on any Given Day
I love how many games come down to the last shot. The heavily favored lose; the freshmen hit buzzer-beating 3-point shots. You never know. For you – awareness is key. Never stop watching, observing and adjusting. Be open to opportunities. Be agile. Observe your surroundings, adjust to changing circumstance and look for contributions – you can turn bad to good. You can find the “shot” that makes the difference.
Chance favors a prepared mind – watch, adjust, initiate.
7. Teamwork Trumps Superstars
There is always the “go-to-guy,” the “can-do-no wrong lady” and the “smartest guy in the room.” That’s fine, but remember – you don’t win alone. Organizations are too complex for any one person to carry a Company to a championship. You need a collection of talent, perspective, personality and skill. Gifted people who recognize the role of their co-workers go far. Always work to improve your ability to work with others, make collective decisions, solve problems as a group. Participation is the new norm. You need to be a team player.
Groups that play together – win together!
Call to Action:
I challenge you to be a “Freshman” again. Let 2015 be your first “tournament.” Set your sights on improving for next year.
- Take the two Lesson’s Learned above that are hardest for you.
- Create a plan to improve over the next 10 months.
- Set expectations and indicators for success.
- Allow Nike to sponsor your efforts and Just Do It!