UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Permission to Fail

Enfante Terrible

Legendary college football coach, Bear Bryant, quipped, “The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.” Why would a competitor give up when the thrill of victory is possible? Most likely, he did not quit because the desire to win was missing. That quitter accepted permission to fail! The offer may or may not have been extended. Regardless, quitting is the final step toward accepting responsibility for not contributing. But, why would anyone withhold their talents and gifts from a noble cause? Why give up on the team?

Authority
Typically, an authority figure is in position to grant permission. A parent permits a teenager to take the family car. However, a contributor, like the previously mentioned athlete who chooses to quit, has abandoned protocol. Their needs supersede the needs of the group. Essentially, a pompous act of selfishness leads to quitting. The act represents a total disregard for authority.

More importantly, the quitter is being selfish with their gifts. All teammates and participants have skills and talents to contribute. The individual that hijacks authority by withholding their gifts essentially limits the entire group. Authority weakens and all members are penalized. The selfish contributor has passively extended permission to fail for the rest of the team. Quitting becomes an option. The weakest element has now assumed authority. The group suffers because of one member’s selfishness.

Victory
Nevertheless, permission to fail is not a decision to fail! Strength in numbers still holds possibilities. Furthermore, superior leadership can reverse the trend toward defeat. Most importantly, cooperation by the group has the ability to rally success. Permission is not a proclamation. Failure is not final. No one needs to replace the quitter. Everyone else jointly contributing more to the cause will more than compensate. Simply rally the troops.

Besides, victory results from a process, not just an event. Because a selfish individual usurps authority to the detriment of the team, that does not guarantee sustained poor performance. Teamwork genuinely uplifts the group’s capability. Subtracting the selfish individual who undermined morale opens the opportunity for superior performance for the survivors. Better performance results from the group seizing the opportunity for excellence. The projected permission to fail has become stripped of its power.

Permission to fail is a singular decision in a long-suffering process. Successfully pursuing victory requires endurance. In fact, failure is part of the longer process. According to Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” So, iterate and improve. Jettisoning dead weight is actually part of the bigger process. Persevering together is too. Let the loser claim permission to fail. His self-centeredness will comfort him in his loneliness. Conversely, champions are built on comrades uplifting each other toward a common goal. Dismiss the losers’ authority over very little. Kick him out quickly. Then, together accept authority over very much, resulting in permission for success.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

 

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Better Community | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outwork The Next Guy

running uphill

Two hikers walking in the woods come across a large bear playing with her cubs. Mama bear roars at the hikers! While both hikers try to remain calm, one hiker reaches into his bag and slowly pulls out his sneakers. Mama bear roars again while deciding whether to maul the intruders or just scare the people. The second hiker whispers, “You will never outrun that bear.” As the first hiker finishes tying his second shoe he quietly responds, “I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only need to outrun you!” The first hiker clearly understood what many competitors miss. He does not have to defeat all competitors, he just needs to outwork the next guy.

Be Prepared
“Fortune favors the prepared mind”, according to Louis Pasteur. Preparation comes before success alphabetically and procedurally. Who really packs tennis shoes to go hiking? Preparation is not a singular event. It is a habit; a mindset! Obsessive preparation halts progress. Everything is planned and nothing happens. But, purposefully planning to win works.

Effective preparation begins with the end in mind. Defining goals is a great start. Defining success is another essential element. If the plan is weight loss, then identify a target amount. If the goal is to earn a million dollars annually, then personal results dictate earning $500 per hour for a plan to work 40 hours per week and enjoy two weeks vacation. Setting goals, creating a plan, and executing that plan is essential to success. Unfortunately, performance does not occur in a vacuum. Achieving lofty goals demands outworking others.

Get Started
“A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.”, according to Lao Tzu. So, what’s the first step? In academic settings, students receive a syllabus which outlines class expectations and guidance for how grades are calculated. Reading the syllabus is a great way to get started toward earning an A. Competitive athletes start preparing for the next season after a brief period of rest and healing, by targeting specific skills to improve. At that performance level, the competition is particularly fierce, leaving little room for backsliding.

But, preparation is just the start. Next, repetition becomes the focus. Identifying areas of improvement is useless without dedicated skill development working toward progress. High performance results from preparing, starting, and executing. Each step closes the gap toward the goal. Measure progress. Keep score. Tenaciously work toward specific metrics to stay ahead of the competition. And, if progress is unsatisfactory, then reevaluate preparation and the plan. Confirm that the stated target is the desired outcome. Changing routines for better results is allowed.

Back to the hikers, packing sneakers in the bag was a great idea. However, if the hiker was grossly out of shape, escaping the bear is futile. Good preparation without dedication toward improvement leads to being mauled by a bear. Prepare, start, execute! Regarding results, consistency applies equally to collegiate athletes and second grade students; the same for social workers and CEOs. Most importantly, collaborating with the other guy that you outrun, elevates both of your performance. Iron sharpens iron. And, if you are both prepared, then get started, and execute with excellence, you both may outrun the bear!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run To The Battle

David_and_Goliath

“He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.” This is undoubtedly the most idiotic advice ever offered!! Never, is the point to reward cowards. To the contrary, in combat or conflict, preparation and bravery are typically rewarded. In the epic battle of David and Goliath confidence and belief won the fight. Whether the battle is physical, emotional, or spiritual, strength begins within each individual fighter before engagement starts. What happens before the battle is equally important to the results, as what happens in it. So, what happens when someone runs away?

Feel the Fear
Upon entering a conflict, fear, apprehension, and anxiety are normal emotions. Once the clash starts, managing those emotions are very important for success. When the choice is fight or flight, flight does not end the skirmish. Once you begin running, there is a good chance you will never stop. Very little keeps the aggressor from chasing.

The alternative is to acknowledge the fear, embrace the fear, feel the fear. Labelling FEAR as False Expectation Appearing Real is comforting. In the heat of battle when the aggressor is displaying superior firepower, “True” takes over “False” in the acronym! Nevertheless, proper preparation and training before engaging in the battle offers certain advantages, particularly mental advantages. Feel the fear is accepting the reality. Preparing ahead to be aggressive and to plan contingencies creates a competitive edge. “Fortune favors the prepared mind!” is legitimate advice during conflicts!

Do It Anyway
Regardless of the fear, the time for battle arrives. Another comforting thought is that the other party may be fearful, as well. Nevertheless, a better tactic is to assume the role of aggressor. In boxing, this approach is known as “a puncher’s chance”. In academia, the term is “lucky guess”. In all cases taking action at the point of conflict provides an opportunity for victory. If nothing else, try!

Most importantly, prepare for the possibility of competition. Have a plan just in case. The element of surprise is a powerful ally. Take a chance. Above all, take action! When the threat becomes imminent, attack.” Do it anyway”, naturally follows “feel the fear”. Prior preparation facilitates the courage necessary for winning. Preparation also strengthens the element of surprise. Doing it anyway quickly seizes the advantage and takes the fight to the opponent!

Running to the battle means the threat is in front. It demonstrates assumed confidence. It leads others to feed off that confidence. It does not guarantee victory. Chances are the other guy can fight, too. But, when running to the battle, a sudden, surprising show of courage can be disorienting. Opportunity emerges to dictate terms of the conflict. As Edgar Albert Guest’s poem, “See It Through” says, “When you’re up against a trouble, Meet it squarely face to face; Lift your chin and set your shoulders, Plant your feet and take a brace.” Seize the moment. Take the fight to the competition. More than clichés, these tactics are engrained in winners. Claim the victory before the battle starts. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare to Win, Perform to Win

allen-iverson practice

“We’re talking about practice. Not a game!… We’re talking about practice.” Hard core professional basketball fans still love quoting Allen Iverson’s practice rant from 2002. Iverson was making a point about the importance of performing even at the risk of minimizing preparation. Despite being an exceptionally unique and productive performer, history argues that he may have benefited from better practice habits. Unsurprisingly, in other competitive arenas, like business or entertainment, that truth regularly faces performers. Yes, we are talking about practice!

Preparation
Preparation for superior performance is not a singular act. Musicians practice regularly regardless of immediate performance obligations. Likewise, highly accomplished business professionals routinely identify opportunities for additional training in their areas of expertise. In fact, over-achieving professionals, will take time to train others in order to sharpen their own mastery. The preparation involved in their presentations promotes peak performance. The process clarifies their best thinking so that they can effectively provide maximum value to their audience and marketplace.

School children learn that practice makes perfect. Athletic coaches are fond of saying, “Perfect practice make perfect.” The truth about preparation regardless of the field, is that it is a necessary part of the process toward excellence. The more repetition endured in preparation, the better prepared the competitor will be to maximize their performance when the stakes are highest. Undoubtedly, talent provides several advantages. Yet, skill can be developed and improved. Preparing to perform is a skill that in turn enhances skill. This two-step tactic delivers superior results.

Performance
So, what happens when it is time to perform? And, how important is experience? Simply put, more experience produces better performance. When stakes are highest, no professional performer really wants to be searching for a solution. More practice, more preparation, and more learning activities eventually result in better equipped opportunities for superior performance. “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

Skills and knowledge necessary for peak performance have typically already been explored. Perhaps a coach is available to share their experience in managing potential situations. Perhaps the repetition of intentional and intense practice included multiple scenarios expected to occur in competition. Successful sales professionals consistently rehearse and refine their pitch so that they can effortlessly overcome objections and conquer competitors. “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”, according Louis Pasteur. Take the time to prepare in your area of expertise so that your knowledge and discipline are engaged to propel you to targeted success.

The benefit of practice is that the prepared mind secures the advantage. In any competitive endeavor, the competition most likely expects to win, also. The nature of competition demands outperforming an opponent. Practice provides the edge. Structured and disciplined practice provides a bigger edge. Regardless, of the field, winning through competition produces rewards. Generate more sales, score more points, raise more money, discover a cure faster, save more souls. Winning is not an event; it is a process. Target the results. Prepare to win. Perform to win. Embrace the rewards.

 
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get An Old Man

Two Men Talking 2

“You have to get an old man” advised the half-crazy upperclassman tutor to a group of freshman trying to survive their first term at an elite university. The freshmen were baffled how an old man could help navigate their coursework. Then, the tutor elaborated that the old man was for wisdom, not education. This was real-world knowledge. In any complex organization, success requires more than raw, intellectual firepower. Negotiating cultural landmines and systemic distractions requires understanding and revelation that only comes from wisdom. Figuring out any large institution demands more insight than any one individual can acquire in a few months. It takes scar tissue to navigate the intricacies of complex systems. Why not benefit from someone else’s wounds?

Wisdom
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”, according to Vernon Law. Wisdom comes from learning the lesson and surviving to tell the story! Lessons are not simply endured, they must be learned. Old men have already learned the lesson. Imagine the advantage of having the lesson before the test. Youth involves absorbing experiences for the first time. The advantage of maturity is knowing that someone’s first time, is most likely not the first time something happened. Youthful exuberance does not provide that perspective. Every old man was once young. Identify one that has walked the trail that youngsters are preparing to walk. Realize that the old man does not just know the challenges, they know how to avoid them.

Results
Another benefit of old men is that they have seen great ideas come and go. They have seen talented people long on vision and short on execution. They understand that results matter! The upperclassman had personally witnessed brilliant students that struggled because they had always excelled alone. They had never needed help, so never learned how to ask. Corporations, academia, bureaucracies are full of these types. The wise old man knows what newbies need before they do. He is not competing for a grade, or a promotion. He wants to be part of their success. Wisdom will be shared with someone and it will be valuable. Get in line and receive it.

The most fascinating part of engaging an old man is what he gets out of the deal. Some youngsters avoid bothering an old man because they have nothing to offer back. Their intelligence blocks their understanding. They assume they cannot reciprocate, then applaud their brilliance. Old men vary; often relevance is all they seek. Other times it is repaying an internal debt from when they finally accepted wise counsel. Occasionally, they see the greatness in a potential protégé that the youngster is afraid to embrace. Regardless, seek wisdom. Wisdom does not follow age. But, wisdom ages well. The old man does not have to be old. It does not have to be a man. Mentors only require understanding that can guide toward a desired result. Get an old man. Then later, remember to find a young person!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning?? What’s my Grade!!

dunce-cap-2

What do I have to do to get an “A”? This refrain echoes throughout classrooms everywhere. “What do I need to know to get my certification?” is another version of the same song for the professional learner. Unfortunately, learning is not embraced, nor respected in neither case. Students want to benefit from presented information as painlessly as possible. The act of learning is just a necessary evil. Too often, learners in classrooms at any level are so eager to swallow and regurgitate information that they never digest the lesson. They fail to grow. They do not progress.

The Journey
The process of learning multiplies value through connections to more information and skills. Too often students simply give correct answers to get to the next lesson. Then, they can ace that part, too. Learning’s real value involves applying acquired knowledge in new, innovative, and more beneficial ways. A student masters algebra, in order to conquer calculus, then get their diploma. Except, the diploma is not the end. Learning to process information with multiple variables is the point. Then, understanding more complex processes to explain them to others creates the most value. Do not be shortsighted. The student who learns, applies, explains and contributes knowledge to a group becomes the boss and eventually benefits more. Every student moaning, “Why do I have to learn this; I’ll never use it in the real world” deserves the harsh response, “You are right. You never will use this information or any other new information with that attitude!”

The Destination
While the journey is important, the destination facilitates growth. The journey features a finite set of instructions. But, the destination continues to evolve and expand. More learning results in more questions, which results in more innovation, which results in better answers. Acing the test and advancing short circuits all the compounded, long-term benefits. The worker brags about getting a great review. Meanwhile, the leader focuses on solving problems that significantly improve the enterprise and team member’s personal well-being. Rank and file mindsets complain that leaders have enough money and they do not need more. Therefore, she does not need the worker’s best contribution. The leader simultaneously thinks that this minor contributor is hurting the team’s efforts. Then, she searches for a replacement so that all can achieve more. Next the leader resumes planning to groom her successor, then charts a path to the next adventure. Mindsets of poverty fester and deny growth. Mindsets of prosperity continue to reset destinations and promote opportunities. Acquire and develop more resources to keep pursuing additional horizons.

Ultimately, “What do I have to do to get an A?” is the wrong question. “What do I have to do to pursue my destiny” is much more satisfying. Learning is more than acquiring facts. It is acquiring new ideas and constructing them creatively. Students who only want to learn familiar material in the same way are starving themselves. Permit multiple teachers to feed your curiosity. Learn, then spread, ideas across the landscape. Let losers argue and manipulate their grade in one class. Take new knowledge and apply it with innovation toward the next learning experience. Incorporate feedback and insight to create more value. Enormous value results from pursuing destinations that continue moving just beyond reach. So, “What do I have to do to get an A?” Who cares! “What do I have to do to maximize my value?” Keep learning! Then, share the lessons with others to help everyone involved benefit more.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Badly Do You Want It?

how-badly-do-you-want-it

What do you want to be when you grow up? The question is a painful cliché. The only thing worse than the question, is the person who dismisses the response! If a kid wants to be an astronaut who really has the right to tell them “no”. Consider that one current generation observed the first lunar landing. The very next generation most likely will travel on lunar shuttles. One generation! Tomorrow’s reality far exceeds last year’s impossible fantasy. Thanks to Amazon, artificial intelligence is delivered by a drone in time for this year’s Christmas. And yet, parents try to stop kids from reaching for the cupcake on top of the cabinet?

Process
Authority assumes the role of protector. That responsibility includes keeping those under care from harm. The process is to pursue new opportunities, only using current skills to manage the unexpected. With age, authority figures claim that they understand risk. Well, experience does help responsible people understand what can go wrong. But along the path to safety, authority figures forget what can go right. Progress is a byproduct of risk. Otherwise, Europeans would have never sailed west as a result of fear they would fall off the edge. Risk is to be managed, not eliminated. Eliminating risk stagnates knowledge to the present state. Managing risks allows conquering new worlds. The process requires trying, failing and improving. Without young men taking a chance to kiss the girl, the species would perish. No one wants to be slapped, but if she kisses you back it just might be worthwhile.

Goal
The goal has to be more valuable than the risk to proceed. Actually, that is just a start. Courage is necessary to pursue the goal. Someone has to want the goal bad enough to endure pain. Risk is simply acknowledging the possibility of pain. Risk poses no problem until something goes wrong. Pain typically only tests one’s resolve. In reality the test may limit the desire, but too often quitting happens before remotely approaching the limit of their resolve. Successful goals are measurable and time-based. Consequently, achievement has thresholds. And, the ability to surpass the thresholds ultimately reveal how badly anyone really wants it.

The solution is to be bold! It is easy to say that if the benefit outweighs the risk, then take the chance. The easy way does not lead to success. Really extend for the goal. Make the hard choice. If the benefit is remotely close to being equal to the risk, do it! Flex the risk muscle. By building that muscle with wins and losses from narrow margins, the big wins get easier, then bigger. Be the kid that grabs the cupcake off the top shelf. Even in falling the pain becomes less traumatic and accepting the risk gets easier. Furthermore, that kid naturally grows and attaining the top shelf gets easier! For the kid who never tries, success still gets easier, but they will never know. By not participating in the activity, they experience no achievement, nor improvement. So, how badly do you really want it? The answer comes down to, how often are you willing to try… and then try again?

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Players
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?

Thinkers
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!

Doers
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

First, Pass the Quitters

running by sunset

 

“Success is a statistical event”, according to Dr. Dennis Kimbro, business professor, author, and wealth expert. Athletic events, business ventures, academic competition all result in winners and losers. While winners achieve success in several ways, certain fundamentals are consistent. The actual contest does not determine the winner, but multiple processes and activities along the way do! Furthermore, executing these processes with focus, commitment, and timeliness create eventual champions. Recognizing that champions are the last contestants standing, let’s mark the path leading to the winner’s podium.

Quitters
First, you must pass the quitters! Just because a competitor arrived at the event does not mean that they came to win. A practical example is a business participating in a competitive bidding process for “the experience”. They never planned, nor expected to win. And, they don’t. Essentially, they quit before the process started. Serious competitors must get past these quitters without hesitation, nor distraction. Exhaustive preparation and training is the separating factor. Consequently, in athletic competition quitters often accept their futility during warm-ups. More serious, inspired contestants eliminate quitters in order to focus on the rigor and requirements of competing for the top prize.

Competitors
Even among serious competitors, winners must advance among this shrinking field. The steps begin with the planning. In the corporate arena, developing a strategy to lead a specific marketplace begins well before the product actually launches. The same is true in sports. Coach Vince Lombardi’s classic exhortation, “Gentlemen, this is a football!” set the tone early at the first practice for his championship teams to embrace basic fundamentals on their way to historic excellence. Getting beyond rival competitors requires attention to detail, superior strategy and relentless execution. Correctly stated, perfect practice makes perfect. And, perfect practice is a daily aspiration. To defeat legitimate competitors, all preparation, practice, and performance happens at an elite level at all times.

Champions
When champions are finally crowned, they appreciate that success requires a bit of luck. However, they fully realize that luck is where preparation meets opportunity! All the skill development, all the strategy, all the planning, all the performances culminate at the moment of battle. Whether it is a sales presentation, a golf championship, or the national spelling bee, the totality of every progressive step emerges to the forefront at the end. And remember, every competitor to this point has demonstrated the same process of skill development through peak performance. Now, execution makes the difference. The competition’s conclusion declares the champion. But, champions earn their rewards away from the accolades and adoring crowds. Champions result from the lonely toil when their competition is the highest standard and the opponent is an unquenchable desire for greatness. If you arrive at the championship level expecting to add the final touches on your performance, then you have already ran out of time.

Champions do not have a purpose. For true champions, winning is THE purpose! Each opportunity to get better is valued. Practices are competitive. And, the ultimate competition is a repeat of previously practiced mastery. Champions are the last person standing because they prepared and persevered and performed. They followed a superior plan to deliver a superior performance. Successful execution was simply a byproduct of all the work, progress, and repetition endured along the journey. But first, champions must quickly pass the quitters. So, identify your ultimate prize. Outwork everyone else. Let’s go now!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Better Person | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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