You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
It may not seem like it when your alarm goes off at 5am. When it seems like you are the only one lacing up your shoes to go train. When it’s the middle of the night, you are up studying, and you glance over to see your roommate peacefully sleeping.
You arrive at a place where you get to do what you love, and somehow wish you weren’t there. You wish for the simple. To sleep in. Eat whatever, whenever. Yet…if you were granted that wish, you’d be miserable. Because the passion in your heart to compete is more powerful than the pleasure of temporary satisfaction.
So how do you deal with the mental ping-pong of those thoughts?
Embrace your platform.
You’ve been given athletic talents. You have an opportunity to use them to help others. You are living out your calling, & inspiring countless others to do the same in the process.
Progress doesn’t come without struggle. Success doesn’t happen without sacrifice.
So the next time you feel like giving in, give more. When it feels like you’ve reached a breaking point, think back to where you started, and use it as the motivation you need to make this an all-in launching point.
You were made for this.
For such a time as this.
The air smells different the higher you climb. Not everyone is made to thrive in that climate. But you are. You are hard-wired for it. You thrive on it.
That is your gift.
You know the difference between thriving and surviving. The stark contrast between creating and caving. The clarity as to what it takes to achieve greatness, and the easy path to laziness.
You’ve got this…even when it hurts. You’ve got this…even when others don’t understand. You’ve got this…even when doubt tries to push you down.
And lest you think the only result that matters is…
The lowest time.
The best score.
The gold medal.
The top platform.
Those will never determine the end result. That is for you, and you alone to say.
Don't get me wrong...I'm a competitor through and through. I don't like to lose.
I'm not minimizing the effort that goes into winning, or the pain you experience as a result of losing. I've been on both sides of that coin, many times.
What I feel like you need to hear...deserve to hear...is that as time passes, the lesson of competing as a student-athlete has roots that run far deeper than one moment in time.
You'll begin to ask yourself these questions. And if you can say yes, you'll have gained far more than momentary recognition.
Did you give your all? Did you honor every person on the journey? Did you show humility? Did you act gracious to your competitors? Did you sacrifice your personal preference for the betterment of the team? Did you come a little early, and stay a little late?
Would you do it all over again?
If for no other reason than the relationships you made along the way.
Just to spend those long hours training with them. Just to ride the bus with them again. Just to laugh together, cry together…experience all of it together…again.
Because at the end of the day…
That is the truest definition of winning that I know.
Make the decision to be intentional about building relationships, so that you create a team of influence.
When that is seared into your soul,
you can do far more than win a sporting contest.
You will be ready to change the world.
So please don't throw in the towel when it gets hard. We need you to learn every lesson you can along the way. For the calling that is on your life will be accomplished because of what you learned from them. Without them, life on the other side of sports gets harder. With them you are equipped to take on every challenge thrown your way, in a way that only you can.
Because of that...
You ARE ready to change the world.
No time like the present. Lord knows our world so desperately needs it. And you?
We...those you know, and so many you may never meet...
WE. BELIEVE. IN. YOU.
For it's in the lessons of competition you will begin to understand your calling's destination. And when that happens, run in that direction with every ounce of passion your heart can muster.
You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
Now, and in the future.
You, student-athlete, were made...
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
Someone is always hurting worse than us.
Someone is always in a place of pain we can't imagine.
We demand the world owes us something.
We share our opinion because somehow we feel the world needs to "hear it".
We'd reach out beyond our religious, political, fill-the-blank-with-whatever-it-is-you-think-needs-to-be-said, so that someone else can be cared for with our actions instead. We'd hit pause on our opinion, so that the facts of someone else's dire situation can be shared and heard. We'd stop, take a breath, and hit the delete button on the post we are about to make, so that the world will see less of our selfish desires.
The accountability we have to one another in this thing called life is like a braking system. Without it, and without one, we are going to continue to unnecessarily hurt one another...as we spiral out of control down a path we are sure to regret. Making sure our brakes are in solid working order, assures safety. It works the same way with a guarantee of accountability.
As we go about our day today, this one question will help all of us determine if what we are about to say is something that needs to be said...or better yet, never uttered.
Will it bring a positive & tangible life change, or is it destructively life-altering?
One builds relationships based on honor. The other is an opinion being shared that very well overshadows the greatest opportunity all of us have.
To love one another...daily.
To be grounded, is to stay connected.
To a source, not a whim.
To a vision, not a version.
If we are ever going to be able to start saying "no" to the things that we need to, it'll start by committing to a well articulated vision.
Here is what I mean...
Have a filter.
Making decisions without one is emotionally, financially, and culturally dangerous.
It's hoping to get lucky.
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
You'll base decisions on who you are and why you exist.
You'll build relationships with people who are willing to sacrifice their personal preference, so that something bigger than themselves can be created.
So how do you know if you are making solid decisions?
If you are alone, you are much more likely to make a call you'll regret later.
If you have a team of people to walk with you, you've got what we all need.
You'll stop running in 101 directions when you have a relational connection.
You'll replace chaos with focus.
If you are trying to move the needle of change in your organization,
it's very likely someone else is trying with everything they have not to.
It's human nature for some to fear change.
It's also human nature for others to embrace it.
So how do we bridge the gap?
Realize that for many, the word change is the same as the word risk.
Read these two thoughts...
The reason change doesn't look attractive,
is because the status quo is so addictive.
The reason risk doesn't look attractive,
is because the status quo is so addictive.
To the person who doesn't want change,
those two sentences mean the exact same thing.
4 things you can do today, to open the conversation for change.
Implement the acronym, and you'll see the needle move.
Continue to insist your way is better, and everything just needs to "get on board", and you'll find yourself frustrated and exhausted.
Moving the needle is about building relational equity.
One last thought...
Did you notice the brake light is on in this picture?
Maybe the first step for you isn't stepping on the gas. (faster change)
Maybe you need to get your brakes looked at first. (hit pause)
Maybe you need to value slowing down & take care of a more pressing issue.
Maybe your braking system isn't healthy. (your culture)
Maybe if you get your way and you get to 60 MPH too quickly, you won't be able to safely slow down, and that will cost you far more than your opinion. (your team)
Maybe your team's safety is where you need to start. (again...your culture)
Create a safe environment where people are heard, valued, and cared for.
You'll be amazed how fun the ride towards change can be,
when you offer a safe and healthy way to get there...together.
Fix the brakes, and then hit the road.
Once you do...
Enjoy the journey!
Today alone, I have been in contact with Universities that have the following titles on their leadership teams...
Director of Student Success & Retention
Director of First Year Programs
Director of Campus Life & First Year Experiences
VP of Student Success & Calling
Dean of Student Success & First Year Experience
Director of First Year Experience
When I hear these titles,
I can't help but get excited.
This is educational leadership at the highest level.
They are recognizing that the world of higher education is changing...
and doing everything they can to lead the way.
These titles tell me that campus leaders are willing to do whatever it takes to meet students where they are at. By doing so, they are walking with students on their journey, to get them where they are called to go.
It doesn't get any better than that!
It's an honor and a privilege to be part of that process.
The 2015-2016 academic year is going to be EPIC!
Buckle-up and enjoy the journey!!!
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.
Both tossed aside quite often, but why?
Think about the end of a typical day.
You empty your pockets.
A few coins are placed in a jar, a dish...or land on the dresser.
No big deal.
But at some point, it dawns on you that what used to be nominal has become rather noticeable.
Change is piling up.
You've got something of value.
You've got something to cash in.
You've got some serious currency.
You've got the ability to turn your spare change
into life change for others.
And it's no different with cultural change.
It starts with the intentional decision to "make a deposit" daily into building healthy relationships. Whether it's in the workplace, at home or in the community. At first it doesn't seem like much, but eventually it will create the end result you've wanted all along.
Take the time to make a positive emotional deposit into the lives of the people closest to you.
And start looking at cultural change as essential change.
When you leverage spare change you will bring life change.
When you leverage cultural change you will bring life change.
Pair those two and you'll be surprised at what you and the people closest to you will accomplish.
Have a great day...
I hope it's full of all sorts of beautiful change.
From your pocket.
From your head.
From your heart.
For the rest of the world.
The need to be "right", or the need to make progress?
We can dig our heels in, and debate until we feel we've "won", or make an intentional effort to hear someone else's point of view and see that as the win.
Confrontation vs. Conversation.
The former chooses sides,
the latter builds a relationship.
Which one do you think has a better chance of making progress?
Passion: If you aren't bleeding the vision of your organization, how can you expect anyone on your team to? Actually…I once heard it said that "the leader has to hemorrhage in order for the people that follow to bleed". Sounds kinda gross…but makes a great point. You can't sit back and send your team to the front lines to fight for you all day as you sit in your silk robe in a castle far away. Roll your sleeves up…teach them, speak into them, go with them…show them the way.
Patience: There will be days when it feels like you are on a treadmill instead of an actual run where you can see progress. Everything seems stationary at best. If you lose your noodle in frustration in this moment, you'll lose your people in indifference soon. Instead, realize that the "treadmill days" are still doing something very important. They are creating a culture of endurance. Even though you can't see progress today, you are preparing people who are willing to keep running anyway. That is a culture that will be ready for a marathon on a moments notice.
Persistence: This is beyond treadmill time. This is when the treadmill is broken, coffee pot breaks, half your team is late and the other half is playing candy crush on their phones. If you get to this point, it's time to hit mental rewind as the leader. Go back to day one and ask yourself "WHY did I start this?" Not in a pity party kind of way, but in an honest, heart-level look at your purpose. Once you've dialed into that, go back to leading with passion and preparing to be persistent to do whatever you need to do to get your team back on track.
These 3 leadership reminders aren't magic fairy tale dust. Leading always requires hard work, consistency, transparency, authenticity, and a willingness above all else to be teachable.
Grab on to these 3 things as a quick mental exercise to see if where you are, is where you should be. If it is, way to go! Keep at it! If not, now you've got a little nudge to take care of what needs to be fixed. Get at it!
As always…thanks for stopping by! It's always humbling to know you chose to be here. I appreciate your time, and wish you all the best as you lead your team…wherever you may be!
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.