I have a theory. My theory is that there is an inverse relationship between status/power/rank and open demonstrations of good will. (When I was an engineer we spoke gleefully about inverse relationships as if they were the best kind to have.) In short, the higher we climb in life (status, power, rank) the less we see open kindness within that “elite” community. Life becomes more dog eat dog, me versus you, and good will between competitors (those other leaders in the corporate, non-profit, sports world, or anyone deemed as “on the opposing team”) can be difficult to find. Good will may look like weakness to some, but of course, the opposite is true. However, this notion of weakness can make it more difficult for our young people to understand that good will can be part of a viable success strategy. Plus, it’s free. Doesn’t cost you a dime.
Remember when you were little and learned about George Washington chopping down his father’s precious cherry tree, and then fessing up? This lesson was shared so that we, as kids, wouldn’t tell a lie. I think 200 years from now, in some Ancient American History course, a teacher will tell kids about a Little Big Man and proclaim, “He wouldn’t let anything stop him.” Kids will say, “I won’t let anything stop me, either!”
Recently I was asked by Clint Carlos of Soar.com to tell my “best strengths story” about how I help teams reach their full potential. But I don’t want to talk about strengths. I want to talk about how I build a home for my teams – a place for them to thrive and grow. And, I want to convince you to build a home for your team, too.
I was walking toward Coach Weidenbach’s office when I saw Michael Brown coming off the ice. He had a big grin on his face. I threw him a friendly wave, all the while marveling at his height (6’ 7” without skates and he’s a FRESHMAN). He waved back and then bellowed, “You’re too old!” I wasn’t sure I heard him right. “Pardon me?” I said. He smiled and eagerly repeated, “You’re too old!” Then it dawned on me – he was investing in my success! I burst out laughing and thanked him. Before you dismiss us as crazy, read on.
Whew! That was a close one! The Christmas spirit was nearly crushed by an offensive song written in the mid-1940’s! It leads me to ask the question: Do words matter? They do, and we have cause to be deeply alarmed, but not for the reasons you might think.