If someone asked you "Who are you?", could you answer it in one sentence? If they asked you "What do you do?" could you do the same?
That first question made you pause and think. The second rolled off your tongue with ease.
Interesting, isn't it?
Those two questions are not the same thing, yet we treat them that way. We identify WHO people are by WHAT they do.
Not sure you agree? Fair enough. Let's look at a common scenario we find ourselves in from time to time.
We enter the room at a gathering. A party. An event. A BBQ. Wherever we are, the next thing that happens is commonplace.
We introduce ourselves.
By name, occupation, and location.
"Hi, my name is Brett. I'm a life coach. Our family lives in Fredonia, NY."
Someone else responds with their name, job, and domicile residency.
And the dance begins...
Do I ask them more about their job? Should I ask if they have kids? I could just go to the standard weather chat. Is that pulled pork over there? Wait...what did he say his name was again? Ughh...
I'm going to introduce myself again.
"Hi, my name is Brett. I help people discover WHO they are, so they will know WHAT to do."
I'd bet you are more interested about who I am now, than before. Why is that? Because in my first introduction I told you WHAT I was called (a life coach). In my second one, I shared WHO I was...AKA, my calling (to help people).
One is a task.
The other is inspirational.
That's precisely the point that I believe we are missing the mark on when it comes to raising up our kids, the next generation, a team, or our employees. We are teaching them that WHAT they do defines them as individuals.
What they do, is simply ONE expression of who they are. But it's not actually WHO they are.
Don't believe me?
Ask Millennials if they think they will have the same job for the next 30 years. They will either spit their drink through their nose laughing, or look at you like you've lost your mind.
Because the model of WHAT is broken. And I, for one, couldn't be more excited about it.
Because at the heart of real change is a foundational shift. From asking someone what they want to do when they grow up, to helping them discover who they are now.
Help someone discover a clear vision for their lives, based on a core set of values they truly believe in, and everything changes. Multiply that by a large group of people who share those beliefs?
Look out. You've just found a healthy culture of game-changers.
By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. I have a strong sense they will be considerably more concerned about making a difference based on WHO they are and WHY they exist, than anything else.
Oh, they will work. They will have jobs. They will lead. They will do amazing things. But again...I sense it will have way more to do with purpose than profit.
Because at the end of the day...
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
So...can you answer it without hesitation?
Who are you?
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do. You'll spend your time, energy, and resources walking out an outward expression of your inward vision.
We'll talk more about that, soon.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Settling is stopping short.
To settle in is being content.
In either case, where you are may not be where you thought you'd be by now. It may not be where you want to be right now. And it may not be where you know you could be by now.
All of that can either paralyze you, or propel you. It can hold you back, or launch you forward. It can frustrate you or remind you.
Wait...remind you? Of what?
Your past may have played a part in your present, but it doesn't have to determine your future.
There isn't one of us, myself included, that doesn't need to hear this from time to time.
There is value in a little self-reflection, to provide new direction.
It's at those moments that we have to decide if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, and start settling for less than our full potential. Or...take a deep breath, settle in, and see things from a fresh perspective.
Be fully present where you are, who you are with, with what you have.
And when you start moving forward, bring contentment along for the ride.
Stop settling today for what your past is lying to you about. Stop settling today for who others say you are. Stop settling because the obstacles in front of you seem like they are too big to take on.
To believe your past is your launching pad, because it was your learning ground. To believe who you are isn't determined by the the insecurities of others. To believe your future is what you make of the opportunities you leverage today.
And when you do...
Enjoy the contentment you find when you settle in, because you've committed to stop settling.
Part of what I have the honor of doing as a Perspective Coach is working with athletic teams. To be able to speak with, come alongside, and encourage coaches and their student-athletes is something that means a lot to me.
This post is for every level of athlete, the coaches that lead them, and the administration and parents that support them.
3 things to keep in front of you to be successful as a team...
1. On the field: Your opponent. Be aware of your surroundings. Know where they are. Anticipate so that you can create. Momentum over time is born from taking advantage of every single moment right on time.
2. In the classroom: Your books. Get your hand in the air. Ask questions. Be engaged. Soak up as much wisdom as you can, so that you can apply it to make a difference around you.
And that leads us into the last one...
3. In the community: Your opportunities. Look around. Be mentally present, as well as physically. See the need. Anticipate it. Step in to do something about it. Make a difference in someone else's life today.
Here is the "secret sauce"
The key ingredient that holds these 3 things together...
I said it the other day on Twitter (HERE)...but it bears repeating.
Not for what you can get from it, rather what you can bring to it.
Do that, and watch how fast your #culture changes.
I hope this does encourage you today.
Whether you are an athletic administrator, coach, student-athlete, or parent.
Keep your opponents, books, and opportunities in front of you...so that your experience on the field, in the classroom, and in your community is better because of you.
Honor every relationship you've been given.
If you'll do that...results follow.
And as always...enjoy the journey!
Have you ever heard this quote...
"Stand for something, or you will fall for anything." (-Rosa Parks)
Most of us have.
But that is usually where we leave it.
I was reminded of that this morning as I read a blog by Jessica Bealer, where she shared the rest of the quote...
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
And then I did a little digging of my own. (Pun not intended...but amusing nonetheless).
According to Wikipedia, this is part of the definition of an Acorn...
"It usually contains a single seed (rarely two seeds), enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad. Acorns take between about 6 and 24 months (depending on the species) to mature."
This is what hit me.
And then I started thinking about how this applies
to building a team with a purpose.
Look at the three items I mentioned about the acorn. Ask yourself...honestly...if you have a plan in place to get the seed of who you are to become the oak tree you want to be as a team. If you aren't focused at the highest level, you'll fail to reach your intended and desired goals as a team. That isn't meant to scare you, but it should remind you...that without a plan that is clearly articulated day in and day out by every member of your team, you aren't implementing anything...you are hoping to get lucky.
The process of turning the single seed of an acorn into a massive oak tree requires the decision to be intentional. It requires that you care for the seed regularly, including protecting it from outside forces that could take it down. All of this so that one day it will stand as a reminder of it's influence on it's surroundings.
I'd encourage you to look at where you are today with your team.
Your heart is probably in the right place.
But unfortunately, heart alone doesn't get the job done.
I can walk out the door and toss an acorn in the ground,
and wait to see an oak tree pop up.
But it doesn't work that way.
Go spend 5 minutes reading THIS ARTICLE and you'll understand the real process required to prepare an acorn to be planted and nurtured to full maturity.
It works the same way when it comes to creating a successful team.
When you are done, sit down and ask yourself a couple of questions...
Is my organization just in love with ideation (thinking about it),
or busy doing the hard work of implementation (doing something to make it happen).
We all love the idea of becoming the oak tree. BUT...are we doing what is necessary to sow the seed that gets us there?
There is no shame in asking the hard questions, and getting the help to implement an actionable vision. There is, however, regret later if we don't do it now. That's just real life. Being able to say "no regrets" after the fact, starts with knowing we did everything we could before the fact.
I'm hopeful this post was a source of encouragement to you today.
Reach out to someone who knows how to help you through this process.
Your team needs you to lead at the highest level. Sometimes...part of leading, is leaning on someone else.
It starts with the commitment to reach out.
Some people will think you are nuts for asking.
That's when you know you are about to create something of significance.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
Too many organizations are treating social media like a digital lottery ticket.
What does that mean?
Exactly what this picture says.
You are as likely to grow your business by random social media activity as you are to pick up a lottery ticket off the ground and walk away with millions.
So what is the answer?
Building a story that your current customers see as worth telling and sharing. I said it the other day on Twitter..."If it's not #sharable it's #forgettable." Try equipping those that already interact with your brand to be able to have an impact on those you'd like to be part of your brand.
When you are looking down in search of the digital lottery ticket,
you are ignoring your greatest asset.
Identify it. Tell it. Share it.
Build everything you do around it.
Equip others to brag about it.
Lottery tickets are transactions.
Stories are about relationships.
Guess which one matters more.
Yet...too many organizations still treat social media like digital lottery tickets.
So you might be thinking..."should I still use social media then?"
Replace random with relationships.
With intentional story.
Go have a conversation with a customer. Share your story with them.
And do the same thing in your social media posts.
Stop scanning the ground for luck, look up, and see that you have everything you need.
Story and relationships.
More on the images you see in a minute.
How does this word feel?
If you have ever tried to recruit anyone to anything, that word makes you cringe.
In four simple words, this is what it means.
Attrition is frustration that could be avoided.
Think buffet vs. steakhouse.
"Eyes too big for your stomach" is how most recruiting works. We pile on the plate, and toss out what we don't want later. Lots of waste involved in that process. Everything looks great at first, and then slowly we lose our appetite for it. Quantity rules the day, and waste is considered a necessary evil.
Be specific, clear, and say no to most options so that you can get the best fit for you. Be patient...it takes longer to prepare a better product. Time, seasoning, careful attention to detail. Quality is what we are after. Quality food. Quality fit for our taste buds. Waste is considered insane. It's too good to leave anything on the plate.
When we recruit like a buffet we end up losing people because "they can't cut it". The real truth? Them not cutting it later says more about the recruitment process than it does about the person leaving. When we recruit like a steakhouse we end up building an amazing culture that attracts the very best. The right fit means the best experience.
So the million dollar question...
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Here are 5 things to get us thinking
about how to fix the process,
and recruit like a steakhouse.
1. Culture - Is there one where you are? If you don't have a clearly articulated vision and core set of values that EVERY SINGLE DECISION is based on, you don't. A culture is a group of people with a common set of beliefs, expressed through a common language. BOTH. Not one part. BOTH. And if you do have a culture now...who buys in? Who doesn't? Separating those two camps will tell you what your organization has to build on, and what it needs to politely excuse itself from. (P.S. That's not a bad thing. Holding on to staff that doesn't buy in not only hurts your progress, it robs them of the opportunity to link up with a team somewhere that they are sold out to. Life's too short. Help them find their team...and yes, that means some will have to be let go from yours).
2. Themes - Look at both ends of the spectrum. Those that are clicking on all cylinders within your team. What drew them to you? What drew you to them? Those that are constantly in a state of friction within your team. What changed for them since they started with you? How have you changed since they came on board? Find the themes...and you start to find a path to repeat. One for people who love who you are and why you exist and want to sell out to your vision. One to be able to refer people away from your team as early as possible. It's important for you, so that your team stays on point. And it's equally important for them, so that they can keep moving to find the team they were called to join.
3. Scarcity - If you aren't willing to be exclusive, you are leaving value on the table. And let me be VERY clear about this. This is not being exclusive at the cost of inclusive. It's a "both-and" posture. Very simply put...you need to be exclusive first, so that you can be inclusive later. If you let every person join your team...regardless of their vision, you'll have a massive disaster in short order. If you are diligent about selecting those that believe what you believe, care about what breaks your heart, and are willing to go all in for your values...the conversations later can be 100% inclusive of every person's opinion in the room. Why? Because you will have already separated personal opinion and preference from the process. Why is that important? Because the vision leads, and every idea tossed on the table goes through that filter. Without that filter, you have a mess on your hands. Think back to the buffet example at the beginning. Lots of waste. Translated to what you do? Waste of time, energy, and resources. And bluntly...A TON OF MONEY! According to the people at SHRM (really, super-smart HR professionals)...It costs about $3,500 per year to recruit, hire, train and retain an $8.00 per hour wage employee. And those numbers are from 2006! So that figure has to be conservative. Still don't think it's important to get it right up front?
4. Invites - Start life earlier in the process with your potential new recruits, and you do a few things really well. You start to develop a relationship with those you want on your team. You honor the time of those who won't ever be a fit on your team. And the third reason is HUGE. You begin to create a culture of brand ambassadors that will cast your vision as well. It's like having a seas of sales reps on the road. You won't be the only ones telling your story. It will reach more. When it reaches more, the quality goes up. More people fight for the top spots. It gets harder to get in. It becomes a little more exclusive. And when you reach that tipping point? You'll have a dream team that is explosive for all the right reasons. Momentum and progress unlike anything you've ever seen.
5. Net Casting - This will allow you to go further than ever before, differently than ever before. Think digital. Virtual. Instead of waiting to get a sense of who someone is when they meet you in person, you'll have already begun to develop a relationship from a distance. That allows a free-agent to sign on the dotted line on a first visit. It implores a college student to make their deposit on the day they meet you in person, on your campus. You won't lose that rock-star employee to your competition, because their first in person visit with your team confirms they are "home". Skype, text, email, and video vs. job and career fairs, table set up in HS hallways with free pens (because that's unique), etc... When you cast your net(s) intentionally where the fish you want are you stop dropping a net for sheer volume not knowing what fish are even there.
Those 5 things start the conversation. The one thing that weaves them all together is the secret sauce that makes the meal undeniably created by you and your team.
Culture. Themes. Scarcity. Invites. New Casting.
Learn from those 5, and let them inform your story-telling process.
Every great book, movie and experience is re-told for one reason...
I hope this has jump-started some brain-storming juices for your team. If you are stuck, don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you. I'd be honored to work with you. It's why I do what I do. Your recruitment is a reflection of your commitment. I know your heart is in the right place. Sometimes it's just hard to get the story to match. I'd love to help.
I exist to help other people discover WHO they are, so that they will know WHAT to do.
And I'd love to help you articulate your story, so you can dominate your space.
Let's have one last look at the pictures we started with...
Is there really any doubt which experience you want your recruiting, hiring, training and retention process to resemble?
The "attrition special" on the left is cheaper. But something tells me the cost of the "choice culture cut" on the right is worth every penny you'll invest in the process.
If you leave enough change behind...
eventually you'll hand your future to someone else.
Small change becomes a sizable deposit at some point.
Change is here. It's all around us.
It's either going to be in your future, or someone else's.
What change will you make, based on the challenge(s) you face?
Don't leave your opportunity on the table for someone else to take.
Invest in yourself...your team...your future.
Start your week with a purpose...on purpose.
Embrace the change that is in your hand,
instead of leaving it behind in fear.
Your future will thank you for it later.
Want to be more productive?
Here's a little trick to make sure we are ready to go, not on the sidelines...exhausted.
It all depends on what we choose to engage, activate, and launch every day.
Which way we flip the switch matters.
The direction that keeps us on point with who we are and why we exist is what we are looking for. That's a lights-on situation.
The one that tries to impress others, will exhaust us...because very simply put...it's tiring trying to be someone we are not. That's a lights-out, bad choice.
So think of a light switch today.
Every decision we make is like flipping a switch.
It'll brighten the room every time we choose ourselves.
It'll darken the room every time we try to be someone other than us.
Choose the activities and make the decisions that engage, activate, and launch the very best part of who you are today! The world needs it, and you deserve it!
Plus...it's no fun wandering around in the dark, bumping into stuff.
Have a GREAT day...and an AMAZING weekend!
Take a good look at this picture.
In a minute...I'm going to ask you to look at it again.
For now...let's talk about the title of this blog post today.
How do you handle a question you don't have an answer to?
Questioning and doubt aren't a sign of weakness,
they are an indicator someone on your team is searching for their purpose.
You can either embrace them in that moment,
and encourage them to seek,
or become their weakness by dismissing their feelings.
It won't be good enough to say later (when they've left)..."I had the best of intentions".
I'm asking you as a leader, to choose intentionality.
Choose to live in a space where you may not have an immediate answer, but you can offer immediate comfort and encouragement by simply listening.
When you place the value on relational connection, you see the value in the question.
And when the timing is right the question will get answered. For both of you.
Their doubt isn't a weakness, it's an opportunity for you to lead well.
Choose the person. Embrace the question.
Trust the journey...and the timing of an answer.
Then...and only then, will you see the question mark as a footprint.
Look at the picture again.
Do you see it from another perspective, now?
The willingness to walk with your team when they question, rather than walk on them because of your need to be right...be in charge...snuff out all questions.
That makes you an authentic leader...
who will earn a devoted following.
So you have a vision for something. You see something that others don't. Part of you is excited about it, and the rest of you is petrified as to how to make it happen. Congratulations, you are normal. You are staring risk in the face, and asking yourself if you want to take it on. If you do, and it's a huge win, you look like a generational hero. But...it's never that simple, is it? Most of the time walking out a new vision comes with bumps, bruises, failures and setbacks along the way. Not that they always knock you out of the game, but they generally don't feel great.
So why in the world, knowing all of that,
does this vision still consume your every thought?
Let me encourage you today as you wrestle with that. (I can't answer it in a one-liner, and no one else should try to do that for you either. I'm just glad you are feeling the itch to make a difference in the world)
New paths blazed don't come with paved roads, stop signs and traffic lights. So when you feel like you are bushwhacking with a flashlight in a jungle in the middle of nowhere, take heart. It's a path no one has taken before...but the work you are doing may open it to countless people behind you that desperately need to travel on it.
Going first brings more briars and prickers across your skin, so that it won't for others. Leading the way inspires others to do the same for their teams. It stirs the heart of people who want to be there for you on the journey. It builds healthy culture. It makes a difference.
So as you move forward today,
don't judge progress by setbacks...rather focused bushwhacks.
One step at a time. One day at a time. Keep moving in the direction of your vision.
The clearing is just ahead.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.