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Data, Big Data, & Really Big Data…

I attended an Executive Roundtable sponsored by Webolutions in November.  Webolutions (https://www.webolutions.com/ ) is my preferred “Thought Leader” when it comes to what’s going on in marketing.

John Vachalek and his team (including Mike Hanbery, John Brackney and Cindy McGovern) have addressed several key topics in their 2017 Round Tables: “IoT and the Impacts on Your Organization”; “Developing a More Engaged and Productive Workforce”.  November’s topic – one of my favorites – was “Effectively Using Data to Drive Organizational Success”.

The discussion centered on Key Performance Indicators; leading KPIs; lagging KPIs; sales KPIs; operational KPIs; customer KPIs; KPIs for everyone and anything.  And, how can a round table discussion about KPIs be held without including the systems and technology that store all of that data?  It’s been stated about Google:

Google tracks everything; and everything is a lot. 

Unknown Sage

Mike Hanbery and John Brackney led a stimulating, 1-hour discussion on KPIs, data, and big data.  Webolutions does a great job of getting past systems hype and really focusing on the strategic thinking necessary for today’s technology to be used effectively.

On my left was an industrial engineer.  I believe he and I found agreement:

Machine-generated data is precise; People-generated data is messy.

Across from me was the CEO of a regional eye care center, who stated all the data in the world doesn’t help him convince one of their doctors to consider changing his or her practice habits:

Conventional IT Wisdom:

A good idea is no match for a bad habit. 

Frank Hayes

When Mike noticed I had been quiet he decided to ask for my opinion.  Mike knew what he was asking for – I have attended many of his company’s meetings and taken their “Join the Conversation” invitation literally.  I doubt he was surprised when I offered the position that data has no value.  Then, I expanded and said data is actually worse than that.  That stimulated the conversation!

When challenged, I first clarified that my views are solely based on the sales profession and data, even big data, might be terrific in the engineering and medical professions; marketing too.  But in the sales profession, data typically just drags people down to the bowels of CRM “administrivia”, which according to Wikipedia:

Administrivia: 

Administrative details that must be dealt with in order to do more interesting work.

Too much attention to CRM data and administrative details prevent sales people from doing “more interesting work”, aka selling!  And don’t even get me started on predictive analytics (which I have addressed before http://thequoteguys.com/2015/02/self-obliteration/ )

Yet here we are often citing CRM systems in our examples of all the data that can be harvested for KPI purposes.  But at what cost?

According to Integrity Solutions (aka a “data” source), who cites CEB’s research (aka “big data”):

The number and diversity of buyers involved in a typical B2B purchase has increased to 6.8, according to CEB data.

Integrity Solutions then coupled that data and big data with LinkedIn (aka, “really big data”):

Based on reports from LinkedIn, 20% of the people involved in a purchase change roles every year.  In other words, the person you’re selling to today may not be in that role when you have your next meeting.

Yep, we’re tracking data that will likely prove to be entirely useless.

I favor Vince Gatti’s view about using CRM for personal coaching of our “future-self”.

In the sales profession, I’ll vote for “next step action” over KPIs every time; how about you?

GAP

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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 6 2017 by in True North with 2 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “How will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today, tomorrow, and every day.  Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day.

On December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good – Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annals of bloody combat, or even the bloody headlines of 2017, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary and the word “Post-truth”:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Their definition continues:

‘It’s not surprising that (this word in 2016) reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  With the difficult events that have occurred almost daily throughout 2017, we certainly hope so.

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world.  The 2017 Houston Astros won the first World Series for a city that earlier in the year was devastated by Mother Nature.  Were the events related?  Only God would know.

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs continuously crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple rose to dominate personal, technology devices and the way we all consume entertainment and information today.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights.

“ADVERSITY”:

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. 

Horace

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the wounded; the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done. 

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  What lessons have we learned?  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December in the face of our many common enemies?

In every community, there is work to be done.  And in our hearts, we all have the power to do it!

GAP

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Exceptions…

I have been leading in a major training initiative for my company’s re-sellers this year.  We are making significant changes and we’d like our partners to adopt these changes in their approach, too.  That way the customer has a consistent experience across all of our channels.

Seems logical, doesn’t it?  Yet, with but a few exceptions the majority of our partners offer resistance during the training sessions.  They cite all sorts of exceptions (real and imagined) that suggest our new methods aren’t as good as their existing methods.  Sometimes they even suggest that our new methods flat-out, won’t work.

It reminds me of my Father-In-Law.  He was a carpenter and a true “master mechanic with the tools” (as they say in the trades).  In the 1960s and 1970s he trimmed million dollar mansions in suburban Chicago when million dollar mansions were rare.

When my wife and I bought our starter house in 1978, we had a whole list of home improvement and remodeling ideas.  Champagne taste; beer money (as they also say in the trades).  It was natural to turn to Dad for a little help.

My wife would show him what she was thinking for remodeling the kitchen; building a deck with a clubhouse for the kids; changes to the living room; bathrooms, too; the list went on.  And his initial response invariably was, “That won’t work”.  We heard the phrase “that won’t work” so frequently that we carry his legacy in our life to this day.

You see, when he said, “That won’t work” he didn’t mean it couldn’t be done.  What he meant was it actually could be done, but he would have to do it differently than the way the idea was initially laid out.  He did remodel our kitchen, living room and bathrooms.  We did have a deck and a clubhouse.  The clubhouse was built so well that we relocated it to our next backyard when we moved up from our starter house.

Fast forward to my training classes this year.  Every time a partner says “That won’t work” and cites an exception that doesn’t fit with our new and improved engagement model, it triggers old behaviors.  My knee-jerk reaction is to engage; to argue; to discredit the cited exception as some fantasy.  Then, after I regain my composure I remember my Father-In-Law.  I smile and think that’s what they said but that’s not what they meant.  At least I hope so.

I understand exceptions, I think.  I agree with Malcolm Forbes:

There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be the exception to the rule. 

And I’m no exception – just ask my wife when she says we need to remodel thus and so.  I give it the old, “That won’t work” try.  Then we smile and realize my will power will wilt in the face of her vision.

The opinions expressed by the husband do not reflect the views of the management of this household. 

Unknown Sage 

We all deal with exceptions throughout our day; at work; at home; in the community.  I believe our views about exceptions are grounded on our individual perspectives:

Nothing makes me more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. 

Franklin P. Adams

So this year I’ve been trying.  I’ve been learning how to address exceptions.  I’d prefer such cited exceptions to fade in the face of our training, but I understand Malcolm Forbes is probably right.  Then I remember my Father-in-Law.  And then I’ve learned to smile.

GAP

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Thank you again and always…

‘Tis the season of thankfulness.  Not that we should wait during the rest of the year to say, “Thank you”, but certainly November and December remind us of our blessings, don’t you agree?  So before going any further – permit me to say, “Thank you”!

Thankfully, I am blessed with family, friends, clients and colleagues who enrich my life beyond count.  Thankfully, smart people have put counting in the proper perspective:

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. 

Albert Einstein

Thankfully, I have readers who accept my periodic posts and reciprocate with responses of appreciation towards my little ditties.

I can’t count all that I am thankful for; nor all of the times I have wanted to thank someone for their kindness.  But I am thankful for sure.  I’m thankful for living in Denver – most of the time anyway:

Welcome to Denver:

     The morning rush hour is from 5:00 to 10:00 AM. The evening rush hour is from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.  Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday.

     Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere.  Denver has its own version.  The car or truck with the loudest muffler goes next at a 4-way stop.  The truck with the biggest tires goes after that.  Blue-haired, green-haired, or cranberry-haired ladies driving anything have the right of way all of the time.

     North and South only vaguely resemble the real direction of certain streets.  University and Colorado are two boulevards that run parallel.  Geometry evidently not working at altitude, these streets intersect south of C470.

     Highway 285 runs North, South, East and West and every direction in between; it can be found in every section of the Denver area making navigation very interesting.  You can turn west onto southbound 285; you can turn north onto westbound C470; and you can drive southeast on the Northwest Parkway.  This is why Denver uses the additional driving directions of “out”, “up”, “in”, “down”, and sometimes “over”.

     Construction barrels are permanent, and are simply moved around in the middle of the night to make the next day’s drive more challenging.  When you see an orange cone, you must stop and then move ahead slowly until there are no more cones.  There need not be construction, just cones.

     If someone has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been accidentally activated.

     If it’s 70 degrees, Thanksgiving is probably next week; if it’s snowing, it’s probably the weekend after Memorial Day.

     If you stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended or cussed-out.  A red light means four more cars can go through.  Not three; not five.  Four.  Never honk at anyone.  Ever.  Seriously.  Never yield at a “Yield” sign.  The yield sign is like an appendix; it once had a purpose but nobody can remember what it was.

     Just because a street on the east side of town has the same name as a street on the west side of town doesn’t mean they’re connected. 

Unknown Sage

Thankfully we will spend time with family, friends, food, and fun with a little football during the Thanksgiving holiday.  We will take a few quiet moments to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, too:

Thank you Lord.  I may never have a lot; but I have always had enough. 

Gary A. Pokorn

Thankfully we have the opportunity to experience the peace and power of a positive perspective this Thanksgiving.

GAP

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What’s the answer…

I have a training class next month.  Classes afford me the enjoyment of a little intellectual sport.

When conducting class for our resellers I insert a variety of exercises designed to strengthen our problem-solving “muscles”.  A lot is being studied and a lot is being published about how technology is actually reducing our ability to think.  I mean, is artificial intelligence making mankind’s intelligence artificial?

I have contributed to the conversation myself (see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/02/self-obliteration/).  Instant messaging; email; social sites; et al, are contributing to the weakening of our intellectual capabilities; dulling our minds; making us stupid!

Sorry, I inserted that last phrase of hyperbole to catch your attention – odds are you’re reading my little ditty from a cell phone or a tablet while having additional devices and screens open; multi-tasking.  If you are driving – please close my post and keep your eyes on the road!  Please drive defensively against those around you – who are ignoring my plea and reading my post!

But I digress…

As I work with my partners on problem-solving exercises; constantly competing for their intellectual attention in the face of continuous multi-tasking; I get their frustration and their preference – “Gary, just give us the answer!”  In my last class, one participant Googled for the answer to the opening exercise (which was a 3rd grade math problem from the year 2000).  He didn’t even try to think.

I understand.  We’re all busy; we’re all stressed; we’re all distracted; we’re all connected every waking minute of every waking hour.  If you believe that such behavior has very negative impact on our intellect, it begs the question, “So what?”

To me, our value in the workplace of today and that of the future is based on our thinking abilities.  Simple jobs are being automated; employers are hiring robots; employees who can’t think will be left with the leftovers of the jobs machines won’t do, true?

So how do we gain or maintain our intellectual strength while avoiding Donsen?

Donsen’s Law

The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.

We are on top of the animal kingdom because of our minds aren’t we?  We can trace this fact all the way back to the invention of the wheel.  But what if they we’re distracted back then?  What if the invention of the wheel was overlooked due to the dulling that comes with technology?                           What are we not inventing today because we’re overly dependent on machines that may decide to overlook solutions to problems that impact mankind, but not machines?

I remain hopeful that we can snap out of our social media induced; cellular technology driven; Siri mind numbing; drone sleep-walking environment.  I believe we can reverse the trend and regain our intellectual strength:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience.

Robert Fulghum

I enjoy Robert’s expressions of hope.  Here are a few more; https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/robert_fulghum

I understand.  Problems are hard; answers are easy; can’t we just get to the easy without going through the hard?  I don’t think so.

In class I try to offer a little fun in the pursuit of the “answers” because getting to the “answer” is grounded on the strength of our “thinking”.  The mathematical solution comes from the accuracy of the formula.  From the caveman days forward, it always has – don’t you think?

GAP

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Traveling, revisited…

To support a corporate initiative, I have been traveling a lot in 2017.  The phrase, “traveling a lot” is relative.  I’m traveling a lot more than I have in recent years; but I’m not traveling nearly as much as my boss or the other true Road Warriors.

Of course, none of us business types travel nearly as much as my friend Monica who is a flight attendant for United Airlines.  With her seniority, Monica has a degree of control over her travel schedule.  As such, she occasionally encounters a passenger that takes the same flights for business purposes.  One such passenger gave Monica a compilation of travel humor that she in turn shared with me.

In 2017 we know that the skies may not always be “friendly”, but we can fly with a smile on our face nonetheless.  I mean, a plane flying in the air is by itself an amazing feat:

So when you’re on your next late; cramped; bumpy flight, here are a few tales to help your disposition, all courtesy of Monica and our favorite Unknown Sage:

Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles.”  Delta 351: “Tower, give us another hint.  We have digital watches.”

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.  While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC ask, “What was your last know position?”  The student replied, “When I was Number 1 for takeoff.”

Taxiing down the tarmac, the DC10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate.  After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.  A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What was the problem?”  “The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine”, explained the flight attendant.  “It took us a while to find a new pilot.”

The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a .38 revolver.  He placed it on top of the instrument panel, then asked the navigator, “Do you know what I use this for?”  The navigator replied timidly, “No, what’s it for?”   The pilot responded, “I use this on navigators who get me lost!”  The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table.  The pilot asked, “What’s that for?”  “To be honest, sir,” the navigator replied, “I’ll know we’re lost before you will.”

A DC-10 had an exceedingly long rollout after landing with his approach speed a little high.  San Jose Tower, “American 71 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if able.  If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101 and make at right at the light to return to the airport.”

After waiting what seemed to be an interminable amount of time taxiing, an unknown aircraft complained, “I’m f***ing bored!”  ATC responded immediately, “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself!”  Unknown aircraft replied, “I said I’m f***ing bored, not f***ing stupid.”

The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 downwind to make a three-sixty, a move normally used to provide spacing between aircraft.  The pilot of the 727 complained, “Don’t you know it costs us two thousand dollars to make even a one-eighty in this airplane?”  Without missing a beat the controller replied, “Roger, give me four thousand dollars’ worth.

O’Hare Airport Control, “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one-o’clock, three miles, eastbound.”  United 329, “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this – I’ve got that Fokker in sight.”

Here’s to getting home safe, Road Warriors – not everyone can do this for a living.

GAP

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Big hats…

2017 has been an “interesting” year – to say the least! It might be more accurate to say it has been an “extreme” year. Lots of alterations occurring all around us, true? Sometimes transformation is a good thing; sometimes seemingly not.

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Ellen Glasgow

When displacement occurs in the corporate world, employees spook easily. We want to know what this switch means to us; our role; our department; even the company itself. Leaders prefer we not spook so easy; leaders prefer we accept, rally around the differences. They’d like us to follow John A. Shedd and his big hat:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

I believe we’re willing – but need a little help – a little, well… leadership.

There has been such significant conversion occurring at my company in 2017 that I was recently invited to participate in a feedback session to help my company’s leaders ascertain what impact all of these modifications are having on employee engagement.

It was fascinating to hear the responses from my fellow employees of their opinions and reactions to the “adjustments” we have gone through (with the promise of yet more “improvements” to come). There were a wide range of views (some positive, some negative) on how assimilation has influenced our jobs; our daily routines; our future; our engagement.

For my part, I’ve been focused on our leadership’s approach to communicating shifts to the rank and file throughout 2017. This year has afforded me a bird’s eye view of who is stepping forward; who is wearing a big hat as all of us go through a time of revolution. Big hats are always in the spotlight during such times.

I pontificate about leadership often. I sometimes put on a big hat, myself. In his book Tribes©, Seth Godin offers these thoughts about leaders and leadership:

My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no more…

Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Change is frightening, and to many people who would be leaders, it seems more of a threat than a promise. That’s too bad, because the future belongs to our leaders…

And leaders must put on their big hat to lead change.

I believe we all experience significant change throughout our life. Maybe not each and every day; but certainly throughout each year. When we are the ones to stimulate the change, we feel good about what’s now new. We wear our own big hat and lead those around us that this change will be good.

On the other hand, when we are the recipient of unrequested change our reaction to the event can be quite different. In the corporate setting such change albeit inevitable, is still challenging:

As one IT Professional put it; “We’ve been reorganized, restructured, re-engineered, right-sized, down-sized, up-sized, TQM’ed, and MBO’ed, and if I hear the word empowered once more, I swear I’m gonna scream!”

Geoffrey James

During times of change followers look to leaders for continuous clarification. Leadership communication separates the true leaders from the imposters, or as it is said in the south;

Big hat; no cattle.

When our companies are going through cycles of uncertainty, I believe employee engagement is tied directly to the frequency, clarity and effectiveness of leadership communications. In absence of continuous word from the top, we look for our own big hats, yes?

GAP

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Makin’ stuff…

We live in an age of wonderment and among awesome people, true?  I mean just look at the inventions; the technology; the science; the creativity; the Shark Tank presentations.

Though not everyone reaches fortune and fame from awesome, we can still lead average, ordinary, common – fulfilling – lives.  I especially enjoy people that find fulfillment makin’ stuff.  Nice stuff; pretty stuff; practical stuff; if not some break-through-leading-to-fortune-and-fame stuff.  Stuff not presented on Shark Tank.

If awesome is reserved for the few; average; ordinary; common; are the adjectives applied to the many.  We benefit from the work of the awesome, to be sure.  But most of us lead a very average, ordinary, common, life.  Which is better?

It’s OK to day dream of fortune and fame.  We might day dream of riches associated with winning the lottery; picking the trifecta; making the big discovery; creating the next great invention; getting a “Shark” to invest.  But let’s not quit our day job in anticipation.

In fact, in their book Startup Opportunities Know When to Quit Your Day Job © the authors, Sean Wise and Brad Feld offer this opening chapter guidance:

Trust me; your idea is worthless.

They go on to articulate why mere ideas are worthless.  As successful venture fund founders, they don’t invest in ideas.  What attracts their money (and the money on Shark Tank) is people who can execute on ideas; people who are makin’ stuff.

We participated in the 2017 Tulsa Oklahoma State Fair – “11 days of awesomeness!”  as it was promoted.  And it was awesome!  Not just the midway; the events; the entertainment; and the critters.  It was the people – average, ordinary, common people – that made an awesome impression.

Some of these awesome people were vendors vending at the fair.  There was one vendor in particular that stood out above all others.  We passed them every morning on our way in at 9:00 am and they were working; makin’ stuff.  We passed them every evening on our way out at 10:00 pm and they were still working; makin’ stuff.  Two chainsaw carvers from Missouri turning logs into art and furniture.  Awesome!

I stopped by the morning of the last day to compliment them on being the hardest working artisans I have ever seen.  (We made a modest purchase too.)  The response from these average, ordinary, common men?   Just a shrug of modesty and the prideful perspective that often goes with makin’ stuff:

I can’t sell it if I didn’t saw it.

Chris Gagnon

My wife’s company takes equal pride in makin’ stuff; in her case, designer pet-wear for dogs, cats, and horses.  She even mixes in embroidered people-wear on occasion.  She too takes great pride in her work.  She too feels great fulfillment in makin’ stuff.

Beyond the financial remuneration, the worth from her business comes from interacting with all of the people that bring pictures and stories of their pets – more than simply pets – they’re their furry family members offering loving companionship.  And the joy her clients get buying that little special something for their critter matches the joy my wife gets in listening to the love of their pets they relate to her with each purchase.  Awesome!

I receive great fulfillment being around her, her clients, and their pets.  Reminders for we average, ordinary, common types:

Lord, help me be the man my dog thinks I am. 

Unknown Sage

Makin’ stuff – I don’t; and we won’t appear on Shark Tank.  But fulfillment surrounds those that do.  Awesome!

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior”

If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control”

The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time”

Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff”

The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management”

Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader”

A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy”

To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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High School Sweethearts…

Posted Oct 4 2017 by in True North with 2 Comments

Fall; October; football; high school; Homecoming – do you remember your first high school sweetheart?  High school is a very special and memorable time for teenagers; it certainly was for me.  And I always enjoyed the autumn season when I was in high school – Homecoming; Halloween; dating; parties (most chaperoned, some not).

Forty-seven years ago, this very time of the year, I asked the prettiest girl in my high school out on a first date.  I guess it went well enough because here we are forty-seven years later and I’m still awe-struck by the glow of her beauty.

I hope you enjoy this opening to Chapter XII True North, of my book, The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective © as much I enjoyed writing it:

Dedicated to… a crisp night in October; with a slight breeze blowing through bare trees – waiting for the coming winter.   Close your eyes.  Can you smell remnants of autumn leaves burning?

To winning the homecoming football game.  To being carefree. To a Saturday night party at the teenager’s house whose parents are away.  Can you hear the kids having fun in the kitchen; the basement; and the backyard, all to the beat of the Rolling Stones?

To couches, blue jeans and sweaters.  To the floor lamp reflecting on her blond hair making it shimmer with silvery streaks of light.  To the nervous small talk of a teenage boy in the presence of a varsity cheerleader.  To the patience of the teenage girl sitting on the couch with the captain of the varsity basketball team.  Can you remember when you could actually hear your heart throbbing?

To throw pillows, which come in handy when the small talk runs out – what else can a young boy do?  And to playful pillow fights; which lead to gentle wrestling and ultimately to that first kiss. Remember how delicate she felt in your arms – the hint of her perfume – the taste of her lips?

To first dates – dinner and a movie.  To the movie Catch 22 and the Oriental Theatre in downtown Chicago.  To dating the prettiest girl in your high school; to falling in love; to asking her father’s permission for her hand in marriage.  Were you ever so nervous?

To the tears welling up in my eyes even as I write this short memoire.  To all those emotions; all the happiness; all those hopes and all those dreams; some fulfilled, some yet to be; and all that I can remember today as if it just happened yesterday – that I will remember everyday, as long as I live.  How can someone be so lucky?

To 1970 – and that Saturday night in October in Elmhurst where I kissed Debbie for the very first time.  And to the friend’s house whose parents were out – to their couch, their floor lamp, to their throw pillows; and to the Rolling Stones music.  Can you imagine being so young, so infatuated, and so in love?  I still am.

Gary A. Pokorn

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