Regardless of whether you’re a fan of American football, or even of sports at all, you likely have seen various words of football wisdom appear in various business articles or business books. Coaches inspire players with words of encouragement and motivation that often have equally compelling application in corporate boardrooms as they do in team locker rooms.
As football season starts, it’s appropriate to learn from the coaches. Here are a few inspiring quotes from some of those coaches to inspire you today:
“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” –Lou Holtz
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
For twenty-two years, Robbie Bach worked at Microsoft in various marketing, management and leadership roles. As Chief Xbox Officer, Robbie led the launch of Xbox. He retired from Microsoft in 2010 and now serves on charitable boards while writing articles on various civic issues.
I recently asked Robbie to reflect back on his many years at Microsoft. What he learned provides lessons for us all.
“Without principles, a team has no central rudder to keep it on course.” -Robbie Bach
Robbie, the book is a wonderful read as both the inside story of the Xbox creation and then also about your personal goals in what you call your Act 2. As I reflect back on the entire book, though, one email you included in it sticks with me. It was your “rock bottom” email when you tried to resign from Xbox. Tell us more about that.
The period leading up to the Xbox launch was very challenging on many fronts. I certainly was struggling to provide the right type of leadership; the team was like the United Nations with many differing points of view on important topics, and the mountain in front of us was a difficult climb under any circumstances. Ultimately, however, none of that led to me submitting my resignation. The real issue was the impact work was having on my personal life and my inability to manage that situation. It was just another instance of me being unprepared for the challenges presented by the Xbox project, but this one was very personal and cut to the core of my beliefs. I’m a “family first” guy, and when I realized I wasn’t living up to that, I knew something needed to change.
What strikes me about this email was this: no excuses, no blaming, just pure personal accountability. You outline what you think is needed and then what you don’t feel you can do. Would other executives be served by being this transparent or did it work uniquely within the Microsoft culture?
I am a believer in transparency – it is very difficult to solve problems when you obfuscate the situation with a fog filled with excuses. So I think this is an important skill for all leaders – in business, non-profits, or government. With that said, how you approach transparency and full disclosure absolutely will (and should) vary depending on the situation, the organizational culture, and the personalities involved. I clearly trusted my boss, Rick Belluzzo, to manage this situation appropriately, and he was remarkably helpful during a difficult time. In other circumstances, I might have used a different approach to declare the issues, and I might have pursued the discussion through other channels. Bottom line: being honest with yourself and open to your manager and your team is an important skill to master. Done well, it can fundamentally change the dynamics and attitude of a team in a very positive way.
“If you don’t define your purpose, you don’t know what you’re doing or why.” -Robbie Bach
This is a guest post by Paul Keijzer, CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting. His focus is on transforming top teams across Asia’s emerging markets. Paul provides an excellent summary of the roles of the critical players to create effective employee engagement.
Employee Engagement is Not Just for HR
There’s no questioning the fact that everyone’s involvement is crucial for employee engagement to be successful. Much of the past has been targeted at getting the HR department to successfully drive employee engagement and the subsequent results to the company’s bottom line. Now that the business world has more or less agreed that employee engagement across all levels triggers the greatest business results, let’s take a look at the roles that everyone has to play to make employee engagement a success – and I guarantee you, it’s not just the HR department.
1. The Employee
No matter where you work, the fact is that unless you, as an employee, want to be engaged, no amount of engagement programs and tools are going to increase your engagement levels. Employee engagement is a two-way street and employees must play their part. The key responsibilities of any employee for employee engagement are:
Make Yourself “Engageable”
Being engageable is a mindset which involves positivity, a can do attitude, avoiding office politics and a few more key characteristics. Put yourself in this mindset to get you the opportunities you want.
Understand What Drives and Frustrates You
If you know what drives and frustrates you, the company will be able to help engage you – provided that you share this information.
Pro-Actively Resolve Issues
Nobody is perfect and neither is any organization. If and when your boss makes a mistake regarding your engagement, inform them quickly and provide a solution.
“Unless you want to be engaged, no programs and tools will work.” -@Paul_Keijzer
People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Take it one step further and it becomes, “People aren’t engaged by companies, it’s their line managers who do the engaging.” Some steps that line managers can take are:
Managers must remove barriers which can stop an employee from reaching their desired goal. Meeting weekly to discuss hurdles and accomplishments is a great way to do this.
Encourage Efforts and Reward Results
Rewards set standards for colleagues and promote healthy competition. Of course, every effort and result shouldn’t be rewarded equally; that would defy the purpose.
Identify What Drives Your Team
If employees are expected to share their drives and frustrations, line managers better be providing a listening channel.
“Companies do not engage people, line managers do.” -@Paul_Keijzer
You may wonder how someone who’s supposed to be looking at the overall success of the organization can affect how people work on a daily basis. This is how any CEO can positively impact employee engagement: