Truth. Although all of us need support systems and motivation to come from empowering others, the real change begins from within.
As a follow-up to our previous post (How to Change When Change is Hard), I thought I would expand by sharing a quick story about what happens when we refuse to change - or rather to mindlessly continue with what has been done...just because.
An American military officer, just prior to World War II, is visiting a British counterpart to review and learn from their maneuvers. The two watch an artillery battalion deploy from their trucks and prepare their cannons for a mock attack. The American leans towards his counterpart and inquires why seven men are assigned to each cannon when there are only six active positions - the seventh man just stands at attention without assisting the others prepare the cannon. The British officer quickly responds by sharing that there has always been seven-man teams. He follows by vocalizing that he is not quite sure why the seventh man is just standing at attention but ensures he will look into it.
Several days later, the British officer meets the American to detail his findings. "There has always been seven-men teams. The seventh was responsible for holding the horses."
How many of us, on our teams and in our communities, continue to engage in the same practices and procedures simply because 'that's how it has always been done'? In other words, the deeply-rooted culture has become so engrained in what we do that we mindlessly continue without thinking about the implications. How many of us have 7th men/women - standing at attention - that aren't assisting in any meaningful way?
Take a moment to think deeply about your team or organization. Where do you have a 7th? What can you do about it?
Now that we’ve had several blog posts, we want to mention a couple things with regard to our intentions with The LEAN. First, we hope that this is a place where you can get a look into the world of tilt. What we are doing, thinking about, learning, researching, creating, working towards in both our personal and professional life. Also, some entries will bring you down the road of evidence-based research in the field of athletic and life excellence. Before too long you will definitely get an idea of who we are and what we at tilt have decided to spend our days thinking about.
The title of this blog comes from the subtitle of the book, Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath. I have been elbow deep in this book for the past week. It is a great read that will help you navigate through change. The authors speak to change on many different levels… easy or difficult, small or large, societal, personal or organizational. Change is hard. It often brings with it a great deal of uncertainty. It demands that we check in with ourselves to make sure that our intentions are in line with our actions. And for those particularly tricky situations it calls for a check-in with those close to us for assurance and/or advice. Creating a new thought or behavioral pattern for yourself or your team takes a considerable amount of time and energy. So naturally, us humans don’t do well with change. You heard it before and it is true... We ARE creatures of habit... In Switch, through a plethora of examples, the authors describe change rather simplistically even though we all know it can get extremely complicated, they say:
To boil it all down for you, First, reflect deeply about your change. What does it mean to you or your team? Why do you want to change? Is it consistent with yourself (or your team’s) ultimate vision? Then, let everybody involved in the desired change know EXACTLY what is wanted and needed with crystal clear direction.
We're now a couple of days into The Olympics and the Medals Count is in full swing. I find this to be such an interesting phenomenon. In no way is it part of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Charter. The Charter proclaims that Olympic events are opportunities for athletes to complete against one another, not countries. Yet we find that the the news media emphasizes a more dramatic approach to the Olympics. One in which countries are pitted against other counties in order to attain the most medals. On NBC's Sochi website (http://www.nbcolympics.com), they have an up-to-the-minute medal tally highlighting the accomplishments of the represented countries. More so, they have a Medal Count from 2010 as well as an 'all time' medal standings. In stunning fashion, they avoid listing the names of the medal winners - focusing solely on the country count.
Maybe NBC can help us return to the heart of The Games - the games themselves...
Per the official Sochi Olympics ticker (http://www.sochi2014.com/en) the 'Games' begin in 1 day, 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 48...47...46...45...44 seconds and counting. NBC Primetime will air the official Opening Ceremony tomorrow night (Friday, February 7th) at 7:30pm. This got us thinking - what pre-game or pre-performance rituals enable athletes to to get in the right mind-set? Here is some of what we found:
Although there is a great chance that these rituals, in-and-of-themselves, create the conditions for success, we believe it is more about mental conditioning. By preparing mentally - engaging in these conditioning rituals - athletes are able to focus energy on their performance rather than being consumed by limiting doubts, fears, and attitudes.
What pre-game or performance rituals are part of your bag-of-tricks? Comment below to continue the conversation.
The National Football League (NFL) just concluded its 2013 season. And with it, came the annual awards ceremony. Charles Tillman (Cornerback - Chicago Bears) won the highly coveted Walter Payton Man of the Year award. This particular award is presented to an NFL player who contributes his time to volunteer and charity work, as well as maintaining stellar play on the field. Since 2005 Tillman's organization, The Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation (http://www.charlestillman.org) has impacted the lives of over one million (that's 1,000,000+) Chicago-area children.
tilt is an organization that celebrates service to community. As important as all the other awards are, this one takes the cake! Congrats Charles and the other finalists! Check out the emotion on display as he accepted the award: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000321596/article/charles-tillman-chosen-walter-payton-man-of-the-year
We thought that it would be important and informative, as our initial blog post, to provide a brief overview of our leadership and performance philosophy. What is provided below is the skinny on where we focus our energy when creating learning and training experiences. This also happens to be where we navigate our attention when creating blog posts...
Leadership is relational. Leadership is about creating change. And leadership is is value-laden - it is for good. In one sentence, leadership is about engaging synergistically with others to create positive change. In order for that to happen, three pillars are critical. Leader-Athletes:
(1) Balance reflection and action.
(2) Match personal passions with community causes.
(3) Promote the three ‘Ss’ of service; systems, synergy, and strengths.
Our leadership experiences are built upon these three pillars in order to create the conditions for synergistically-fueled positive change. This is what we mean:
(1) Balancing REFLECTION and ACTION:
Leadership is a delicate balance and continual oscillation between reflection and action. Effective leaders spend time analyzing and observing themselves, their situations, and their teams. That knowledge is then utilized to act in meaningful and appropriate ways. All of our programs engage participants in harnessing the power of both reflection and action.
(2) Matching PERSONAL PASSIONS with COMMUNITY CAUSES:
Leadership is predicated upon first uncovering and then matching our personal passions with the needs of our community or team. By recognizing our personal passions and community causes, we shift the focus of leadership from power, position, prestige, and personal reward to a more honorable perspective - leadership rooted in the person (who am I, what are my values, what is my vision?) and the purpose with which I lead (how can I create positive change?).
(3) SYSTEMS, SYNERGY, & a STRENGTHS-BASED style of SERVICE:
Leadership is first and foremost about service – What can I do to create positive change in myself, my team, and my community? We believe that leaders are most successful at serving when the ‘S’ trifecta is in play – systems-thinking, synergy with oneself and others, and a strengths-based approach work.
- Systems-thinking is seeing the interconnections and interrelationships that exist and making healthy changes at the root-level.
- Synergy is about being in flow (in the zone) with myself and the team.
- Strengths-based approaches to service capitalize on harnessing our talents, skills, and resiliencies rather than being overcome
by our flaws, flubs, or failures.
Performance training undoubtedly enhances skills for competition. But our belief is that performance training goes well beyond practice or game day. Performance training is designed to enhance every aspect of our life - within sport, within ourselves, and within the community. We focus on three pillars of performance training. Leader-Athletes:
(1) Endure - operate from a resiliency mindset.
(2) Evolve - grow through experiences; both challenges and celebrations.
(3) Execute - act their best when it matters the most.
Our performance training experiences are built upon these three pillars in order to establish the conditions to succeed athletically, personally, and communally. This is what we mean:
In all aspects of performance, we need to take what life hands us (both good and bad) and not get side-tracked. We stay focused and resilient. 'It is not about what happens to us, but how we react and respond'. By enduring, we recognize that rarely (if ever) do we perform they way we expect to. By enduring, we act in ways that empowers us to keep crushing it and attacking the future regardless of the obstacles. Endure is about functioning in a way that those obstacles are opportunities for improvement.
When we learn from our experiences, we evolve. Our performance is enhanced when we 'grow' through our experiences - both challenges and celebration - rather than just 'going' through them. Evolving is adapting to the ever-changing demands of sport and life. During pressure-filled situations, leader-athletes must master the ability to ground themselves in effective thought patterns. This “growth” mindset assists athletes in developing a healthy sense of self. The challenging nature of sport serves as a holding environment for evolution as athletes and leaders.
Those who excel at the highest level of performance know what it takes to perform exceptionally. They execute. They capitalize on being their best when it matters most. Even while under the greatest pressures leader-athletes are consistently connected to and are in control of their bodies and minds.
We envision a world