Building Community Through Better Relationships

Lets Play Two – Ernie Banks’ Winning Spirit

The world recently observed the passing of Ernie Banks. His trademark statement, “Let’s play two”, declared unyielding optimism among proud Chicago Cubs fans. His optimism was only surpassed by his irrepressible talent. In short, he was great because he was good at his job and absolutely loved performing it. His poor performing teams did not distract from his optimism, leadership, nor productivity. Anyone seeking to improve performance, particularly when facing potentially unsurmountable opposition, can benefit from three key characteristics of Ernie Banks’ success and longevity as a cultural icon.

Take Pride in Your Work
Greatness is a recipe. Longevity does not produce greatness. Skill sets do not produce greatness. Attitude does not produce greatness. But combining these ingredients, then mixing them with personal pride does result in greatness. Serve this mixture with dignity and the result is a legendary performer. Whether you are a shortstop, academician, or CEO, performing with dignity separates you from so-called peers. Furthermore, greatness is not static. Skills must be continually refined and improved. Take pride in greatness and contribute to it daily. A Hall of Fame performer is not based on one game, nor season. It takes an entire career. Icons need even longer.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Winning is a group activity. Even sole contributors need coaches, support staff, and mentors to contribute to success. Regarding leaders, if you don’t have followers, then you are simply someone taking a walk. With a mindset of “Let’s play two”, great leaders demonstrate approaching tasks with enthusiasm and optimism. Persistence pays. The leader’s role is to remind the team and their fans of that fact. Furthermore, in the spirit of contributing to a legacy, the leader may not deliver the desired result, but must undoubtedly sustain progress toward the ultimate achievement.

To the Victor Goes the Spoils
While individual contributions are important, team victories are better! Unfortunately, not every player or leader gets to enjoy the ultimate rewards in their field. So, what happens when winning a championship is not a realistic option? Opportunities still abound to perform with excellence and earn available rewards. While in Ernie Banks’ case the reward of a World Championship eluded him, he did earn a Presidential Medal of Freedom! The medal is presented to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” His exceptional baseball statistics, “Let’s play two” attitude, and assumed ambassadorship for America’s Pastime, rewarded him with national recognition as a hero by contributing to the game he loved and the communities that he represented.

Ernie Banks played on bad teams. In 19 seasons he never played in the post-season. But, his legacy is of a player who played hard, displayed dignity, and produced at a legendary level. Similarly, other professionals have the choice to approach each work day and encounter with dignity and optimism. “Let’s play two” is a simple statement reflecting a champion who loves his work and contributes excellence. Excellence is an available choice for anyone. So, let’s salute Ernie Banks and his spirit of “Let’s play two”! That spirit may not yield a World Series champion, nor guarantee playing for a winning team. But, earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom is a reward that speaks greatly to character and success. He uplifted our world. And, through his example we can too!!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond


January 25, 2015 Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Personal

Transform your business, your career prospects, your community, or yourself. Complacency is the enemy! The status quo emphatically wants to defer change indefinitely because by definition they represent the continuation of the current order and believe that they are in power. But, disruption creates a new order. Unfortunately, it is often painful and messy. Nevertheless, whether disruption involves new technology, innovative client service, more compassionate social solutions, or a new attitude, let’s work toward better opportunities for better people who seek to create a better world.

Today (and every tomorrow), I challenge everyone reading my posts to challenge condescending authority and boldly pursue improving your personal circumstances. With that in mind, to commemorate Martin Luther King Day, below is an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”!

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”


By Glenn W Hunter

January 15, 2015 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Loud Doesn’t Mean You’re Right

My Ethics class recently had a highly charged discussion whether sexual preference is genetic or learned. Considering my Ethics class fundamentally focuses on what is right or wrong, or good or bad, the actual examples aren’t really important. However, the thinking leading to their conclusions is crucial! The brutal honesty of this discussion probably shocked everyone. Considering the shared, individual life experiences on this topic, both sides were emotionally invested in being right. And, the volume kept rising!

In a world where opinions and decisions move faster than facts, making a point clearly and succinctly creates significant advantages. Consequently, people who expect to be persuasive and taken seriously must communicate so that their point prevails. Volume does not necessarily win. Facts don’t necessarily win. Communication to create relationship and commonality with the listener wins. Three tactics for effective persuasion are:

Be Passionate
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. ~Theodore Roosevelt. Successfully making a winning point requires demonstrating that you believe your point. Beyond claiming that you are right, articulate your commitment to your position. Emphasize sincerity. Introduce reasoning that you have considered other points of view. But most importantly, talk to the hearts of your listeners. Sell your point by injecting good feelings into listeners and then, use those feelings as a bridge to your point of view.

Be Patient
Regardless of what mass media or Twitter imposes on us, convincing others of your point does not have to be limited by time and space. Successful persuasion requires patience. Patience is not making points slowly and deliberately. Patience is empathetically listening to the other argument. Whether selling a service or delivering a political point, listen and understand the other side’s objection. Present your response only after they have had their say. Almost as bad as proving you’re right by speaking louder is proving your point by speaking faster. Patience is a virtue that should be offered politely and then demanded in return!

Be Informed
Winning disagreements involve knowing other points of view. Being informed allows better understanding to result in better analysis of a situation. Dots on a page don’t provide the answer, but connecting the dots leads to clearer comprehension. Understand as many facts as available because successful persuasion results from interpreting and presenting facts so that your interpretation prevails. Whether selling, debating, or just plain arguing, effective communication is based on understanding both information and motivation concerning all parties. Then, let your analysis prevail.

Notice that Be Right is not one of the key tactics. Being right is no guarantee that your argument will carry the day. Knowledge is not an absolute. More information continuously becomes available and consequently, more interpretations of truth result. But, presenting beliefs with emotion, patience and understanding can be very convincing.

Regarding my Ethics’ class initial debate regarding sexual orientation being genetic or learned, the class reached no resolution. And frankly, I don’t know either. But, I do know that the louder argument did not prevail. I know that students held tightly to beliefs based solely on individual, anecdotal experiences. And by patiently listening, I know more about my students’ biases and motivations. In essence, I’ll now be able to communicate more persuasively with my students to educate them. I guess, I won!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s RARE: Why Change Has Value!

While mentoring a professional wanting to make a significant personal transition, we focused on the importance of change. The problem involved balancing the difficulty in holding established habits versus achieving improved results. This difficulty is the essence of self-improvement. Trying to remain the same defeats the purpose of change. So to emphasize the value of change, we explored a path. Like any treasure, change has value because it is RARE!

“And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” ~Dr. Seuss. People develop routines to perform simple tasks easily. Problems start when routine tasks are no longer helpful. Then, problems get bigger as more complex tasks are required. Consequently to overcome these problems, routines must be abandoned. “Un-slumping yourself” or changing for the better is uncomfortable. But the sooner you become more flexible, the more easily you can get comfortable adopting different behaviors needed for improvement.

Whether focusing on personal habits, traditions, or choices, you have options. First, acknowledge them. Then, embrace your options and use them! Change your waking time to increase hours for more productivity. Then, progress to spending your leisure time doing higher performance activities. Walk during lunchtime to improve your health, or listen to motivational messages during your evening commute. Next, identify and implement more dramatic habits that you individually connect with success. When you stumble, start again. The point is to keep selecting alternatives until achieving the improved results that you want. The drive to push relentlessly toward ongoing improvement is uncommon. But, success through continuous growth regularly happens. Start the process.

This step is hardest. Relationships are deeply embedded, tradition-bound and personal. The challenge with relationships is the comfort that it provides. Who among us has not remained in unhealthy relationships with friends, relatives, or significant others because they were comfortable or socially expected? It seems unfair, but distancing from comfortable and familiar environments are the root of change. Too often, the closest relationships represents the heaviest anchors to prevent your progress. For personal improvement, evaluate which relationships weigh down your journey and which ones ease the burden. Consciously choose which relationships you will keep and which ones you will jettison. Successful change efforts often sink because toxic relationships are valued more than the opportunity for self-improvement. Too often we let relationships define us, instead of letting our personal aspirations define us. Value empowering relationships.

Winners perform differently than losers. Replicating winning behaviors and experiences clearly separates the two. After identifying the winning behaviors that you aspire to own, engage in experiences that align with your desired success. Visit different places that reflect your improved self. Eat at healthier restaurants. Shop in different stores. Vacation in inspiring locations. Intentionally create experiences that demonstrate the improved you. It may be easy to do the same old things, in the same old places. But, you will get the same old results. And, that defeats the purpose of change.

Consciously, implement your new reality. Most people want to bring their old baggage with them to their new address. But, a new mindset reflects new experiences. That successful transition means work. This is why improvement is RARE. And like most RARE items, they are valuable because few people have them. So, what will you change to become more valuable?

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , | Leave a comment