Building Community Through Better Relationships

Do You Play or Do You Do?

Sushil of India celebrates his victory over Gogaev of Russia in their 66 kg men's free style gold medal match at the World Wrestling Championships in Moscow

A major highlight being in the sports media business is watching various athletes perform. A question came up recently, why do basketball athletes play and wrestling athletes wrestle? They don’t play wrestling; they wrestle! Wrestlers are a proud, fanatical group. Their sport is not merely an activity, it is a verb!

In managing Mo Patton Sports, the same question echoes: are we playing or are we doing? Like any business, it is important to know the product. Ours is sports reporting on local high schools. We know our audience. It is local high school athletes, fans, and the communities they represent. We require absolute clarity to our customers’ needs. We tell stories that ignite the passions and foster relationships with our audience so that we can connect our sponsors to them.

While better athletes bring determination, discipline, and passion to their activity, it is still identified as play. A school of thought exists that high achievement can occur when your work is your play. Another school of thought says, nothing substitutes for hard work! Entrepreneurs and other professionals can enjoy their work immensely. They can be unreasonably passionate about their companies. But until they are grinding at it relentlessly, they cap their success. Study your craft, analyze your competition, practice your presentations, get expert coaching to prepare for victory, then prepare some more. Players get this. But, does this approach maximize performance?

Another way to contribute to an organization or endeavor is by discovering great ideas. Deploying talented people to come up with smart ideas is a long-established exercise for businesses to chart a path to success. However, the ideas are not the secret to profits. Execution is. The road starts with ideas. Then, intelligent planning needs to happen. But value only results from doing! The most brilliant thinkers cannot predict every contingency. But, the person who acts and delivers results is the one that makes the difference by actually creating value. Do something to get something!

Like the aforementioned wrestler, the performer and the performance are inextricably linked. Wrestling literally involves one performer competing against another performer where skill and competence is singularly exposed. Likewise, doers’ contributions are individually exposed. A seller either closed the deal, or did not. They may achieve another round of negotiations, but business is not consummated until a seller sells and a buyer buys. The performance keeps you employed. Likewise, the individual or group that produces the good or service has to be a doer. Imagine going to a law office and the lawyer tells you I think we should win this case, sends you a bill and heads to the golf course. Clearly, work must be performed!

Doers contributing to an individual mission or organization, own their individual results at some point. While someone may receive the work product and then add additional value to it, for doers, their contribution can be tracked to the source. Once success singularly defines your contribution, you fully understand the commitment and responsibility that you have in personally performing. Athletes that get this, embrace the responsibility to perform as part of their identity. The same is true for professionals. Do not play with the idea that your contribution does not matter, or that it is only a small part of the overall performance. Own your singular excellence and carry that with you in every competitive encounter and the results will reflect your success. Don’t play, do!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Mo Patton Sports, LLC


March 8, 2016 Posted by | Better Business, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leading, Serving and Spoiling


A kid wants ice cream for dinner. Dad says it’s OK. He’s only a boy once. He can eat vegetables and grilled skinless chicken tomorrow. But, tomorrow brings a bigger outburst resulting in more ice cream. The next day is fast food after a late school event. Very soon the kid has obesity issues and subsequent social challenges. And, it all started because ice cream for dinner “is not that bad”. Lack of discipline and accountability, that is what was so bad!

In a business, the organization is an entity to itself. The entity has members and leaders. Leaders are often financially, socially and emotionally invested in the organization’s success. But, the leader is fundamentally a member of the organization and separate from it. In operating a team to lead the organization, it is unhealthy for the needs of one founder, one leader, one stakeholder to supersede the needs of the entity. All leaders must have a contributing role and be held accountable to fulfilling those responsibilities. Dysfunctional leadership that caters to one individual’s specific whims are vulnerable to setting priorities that fundamentally inhibit the organization. “The founder deserves a bigger bonus despite our cash crunch because of all he has done for the organization.” Or, “Let’s approve funding the CEO’s pet project because his ego is so invested, despite that all market research points to the confirmed death of that market.” Coach Tom Landry described, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” Placating a spoiled founder helps no one in the short run, nor the long run for that matter. It simply demonstrates that true leadership failed!

Organizationally, collaboration maximizes value. Several people aligned toward a common goal can do more than one person performing at maximum effort, or many people working hard individually. Effective organizations rely on coordinating efforts such that all contributors have a role and the obligation to perform it. When one individual overrules the group in performing its duty, the dysfunction poisons other leaders, and then other contributors. The organizational dynamics must be in place for correction and clarity. If Dad continues to serve the kid ice cream for dinner, then Mom needs the authority to remind both of them that healthy food choices are a family priority. Let the kid cry. Do the right thing! As leaders, proper stewardship requires making the most intelligent and practical decisions possible to maximize the performance of the entire team’s objectives.

Maximum productivity is most probable when an organization’s leadership prioritizes the value of the entire entity. Of course, leaders have egos. They have agendas. They have personal biases. They also have a responsibility to serving the entire entity. This responsibility includes nourishing, cultivating and maturing the total organization, not just the first among equals. Leaders must lead. Teams better cooperate. The competitive marketplace is hard enough to defeat without internal egos siphoning energy and creating obstacles from inside the organization. Ultimately, the choice is simple. Leaders can work together for the entity’s greater good or they can placate privileged parties while presiding over inevitable failure.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Mo Patton Sports, LLC

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Better Business | , , , , | Leave a comment