March Madness was born on March 27, 1939. The record for the most successful team ever is still held by UCLA with eleven championships. How many of those were directly under the leadership of legendary basketball coach John Wooden? An astounding ten. Still amazing. Pat Summit’s record is also one for the history books with six championships for Tennessee (and 1,098 career wins!).
As someone who collects inspiring quotes, there is an unending supply of great ones from outstanding players and coaches.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Quotes from Basketball Greats
“Confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed.” –Pat Summitt
Do you want to motivate your staff and be a more effective leader?
Rhett Power is cofounder of the toy company Wild Creations, named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing companies. He is a speaker and author and has written for numerous publications from Time to the Wall Street Journal. I recently spoke to him about his research on success.
As a busy entrepreneur, with multiple conflicting to-do lists, how do you prioritize personal development? Why is this critically important?
In my first business, I learned that if I didn’t take the time for personal development, then my business would suffer. I buried myself into making that first business work. I worked 20 hours a day seven days a week. After two years, I was nearly bankrupt, and I was physically and emotionally wiped out. I wasn’t reading, eating well, exercising, or spending time with family and friends. When I stopped to reevaluate my life and made significant changes, I saw dramatic results.
I started taking more time out of the business. When I was well rested, I made better decisions. When I started exercising, I had more energy and was more productive. When I started to take time for personal and professional growth, meaning spending time reading, researching, and planning, my business took off.
“Constant self-improvement is as important as a physical workout.” -Rhett Power
Let’s start with overcoming fears. You faced some seriously challenging days and, in the end, you now say that facing a fear helps you gain strength. What practical tips can you share for someone who feels paralyzed with fear?
I have always believed I would rather have my fate in my own hands than in someone else’s. That is why I kept going even when times were tough, and I was scared we were going to fail. It’s important to understand that significant fear cannot be overcome overnight. That’s why it’s significant. To effectively deal with this kind of fear, it’s helpful to break down the object of your fear into small, more manageable parts. One of the benefits of breaking down a task that you fear is it can provide you with some insight as to what, specifically, about the task causes you to have fear.
The other thing that always makes me less fearful is preparation. Everyone remembers the feeling of confidence you get from being ready for that school exam. You also know the feeling of not being prepared. I find being over-prepared makes that feeling of fear turn into confidence.
Each time you face a fear, no matter how small, and overcome it, you gain great strength. That strength turns to courage and that courage to confidence in the doing–no matter what “doing” you might be called upon to do.
Reward and Recognize Good Work
You share the importance of valuing employees. As an entrepreneur, you also know that resources are often a challenge. What creative ways have you seen to accomplish this goal on a limited budget?
Even on the tightest budget, you should recognize and reward great work. Here are some things I do in my businesses:
Ask staff to post recognition notes to each other on a bulletin board. Add testimonies from external customers.
Give people time off. Time is the most precious gift, and people will always remember that afternoon or day to do what they love.
Send a letter to the employee’s family, telling them why their loved one is so important to the company’s mission.
Do one of the employee’s least favorite tasks.
Give a coffee or carwash gift card, sports or movie tickets.
Allow people to work from home or present them with a “flexible day” certificate.
Give departments their own week: Accounting Week, Programmer Week, etc. Recognize the contributions made, take them to lunch, make certificates.
Create opportunities: to be a mentor, chair a committee, do research.
Celebrate birthdays, babies, weddings, graduations, and any happy time.
Establish a “Wall of Fame” for photos and clippings that recognize outstanding achievements. Mention staff in the company newsletter, too.
Say, “I’m glad you’re here,” and “Thank you.”
Bring people together for cake and socializing or a meal like a potluck lunch.
It seems like a silly question since dozens of factors contribute to a brand’s success or failure. It could fail because of bad service or bad products, or maybe the business is just in a bad location.
7 Brand Components
1. Be enticing. 2. Be unique 3. Be timeless. 4. Be new. 5. Be simple. 6. Be consistent 7. Be adaptable.
These factors fuel a common misconception that only “bad” brands fail and “good” ones thrive, but that simply isn’t true. You could have a good idea, but it will still topple if an investor pulls their support. You could have good service, but it won’t matter if nobody knows who you are.
That second example is key: many new companies fail because nobody knows who they are. To that end, one of the primary responsibilities for every entrepreneur is to create a strong brand identity.
“Every great brand is like a great story.” -Kevin Plank
Creating a brand identity—with ad campaigns, content marketing, a corporate voice, and so on—can be daunting even for experienced entrepreneurs. That’s why it’s better to start with smaller branding tools such as a powerful logo. It may not seem massively significant, but a good logo can create brand awareness and give you a platform from which to launch the rest of your brand identity.
Just like any other part of starting a company, your logo’s ability to resonate with customers will help make or break your business. Whether you work with a logo design professional or design it on your own, be sure to include these 6 necessary components for a successful logo.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” -Jeff Bezos
Leadership is not a position. It’s not a title. It’s not a job. Leaders are people who make an impact, influencing others to action.
That’s why I was intrigued to read a new book by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch. Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success recognizes that leaders are found almost anywhere in the organization. I recently spoke to Sean about their new book. He is a senior consultant at Lead Star and specializes in designing and delivering leadership programming. He holds a BA from Yale University and served as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.
“A leader is someone who influences outcomes and inspires others.”
A Spark is someone who doesn’t just accept what is given to them. Sparks realize that they can do things differently to create the change they’d like to see. Sparks understand that they have both the ability to influence and inspire, and they look to influence and inspire those around them. Sparks create their own opportunities and are identified by their actions, commitment, and will, not by a job title. Sparks choose to lead.
“Credibility is the foundation of your leadership style.”
At times, we place leaders on a pedestal. We think they are larger than life or different from us. But leaders are people. We have relationships with people, and trust is a foundational component of all relationships.
We can all be better leaders in the various roles we fill. Leaders influence and inspire others to work together toward a common goal. In order to be influenced and inspired, we must trust the leader’s competency, character, and intentions.
“Leaders influence and inspire others to work together toward a common goal.” -Sean Lynch
Character and credibility are two keys to creating trust.
Character is important because, before we can lead others, we must lead ourselves. We must get in touch with our most deeply held values and intentionally act in accordance with those values. If we talk about work-life balance, and then regularly call co-workers after hours and email them on weekends, others will see that our actions are at odds with what we say we value. People will question who we are, how we might act in the future, or how we might act under pressure. They will lose trust in us.
Determine your most closely held values and what matters most. Honestly assess where you have compromised your values, and identify ways to lead more consistently with your values.
“Character and credibility are two keys to creating trust.” -Sean Lynch
You can’t force people to trust you. You have to earn trust in ways that are meaningful to others. Credible performance builds trust. Here are some examples.
Start by understanding and meeting the standards of others. We usually strive to meet standards that we think are important. Yet, every time we interact with others, we are being judged. And the standards others judge us against may be very different from our own standards. If timeliness is important in your organization and you are constantly late for meetings, you are not meeting the standards of others and demonstrating credible performance.
Maintain a narrow “Say-Do” gap. Keep the difference between what you say you’re going to do (or what you are supposed to do) and what you actually do as narrow as possible. Be consistent. When you promise the report by Thursday, do you follow through? Or do you let it slide and hope no one will notice?
Clearly communicate intent and expectations and ensure people understand. Often we assume that people know what they are supposed to do. Don’t assume. Communicate what to do along with expectations and intentions. Bring clarity and focus by constantly, continuously communicating expectations and intent. Ensure everyone is on the same page so that people can act in ways that are consistent with intent even when you’re not around.
Finally, hold people accountable to those clearly communicated and well understood standards, intent, and expectations. Holding others accountable isn’t personal. With clear, well-communicated standards, intent, and expectations, holding people accountable is merely comparing their performance to the standard, intent, or expectation.