Have You Watched Your “Game” Film Lately?

Working an an article for VisionRoom.com about the power of TNT (it’s probably not what you think), I was reminded of this post from a couple of years ago. Since we’re in the middle of football season this time of year, I thought it would be appropriate to bring it back again.

There are a few scenes in the movie “Remember the Titans” in which “game film” plays a critical role: the school’s math teacher breaks down an opponent’s plays; one coach’s daughter loves watching game film with her dad while the other coach’s daughter thinks it’s silly; by the final game the reluctant daughter has come around and joins her new friend watching the team’s film every week.

It’s a great film with lots of leadership lessons – one of which is the importance of leaders watching their own “game film.

Seeing the movie reminded me of a great article by Dan and Chip Heath (authors of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive). Published in Fast Company magazine, it’s entitled “Watch the Game Film.” You really need to check out the whole article, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Football coaches use game film to spot things they’d never see in real time. They have an entire week to review a 60-minute game.
  • In the business world, every day is game day, and leaders don’t take the time to “study the film” of their activities. It’s unfortunate, because studying game film can yield unexpected results.
  • Doug Lemov, a consultant to school districts, utilized film of top-tier teachers in the classroom to train other teachers – resulting in raising students a grade level and a half in one year.
  • It doesn’t have to be film – Jump Associates, a strategy consulting firm, uses trained observers to record client meetings. After the meeting, the Jump staff holds a debriefing, modeled on the Army’s after-action reviews.

What insights might your team be overlooking because no one is observing carefully enough?

Maybe it’s time to press the PAUSE button and start screening some game film. There are some things you’ll never see unless you look.

Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and being Ridiculously in Charge

In the end, as a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: what you create and what you allow.  – Henry Cloud

According to clinical psychologist and leadership consultant Henry Cloud, boundaries are made up of two essential things: what you create and what you allow.

A boundary is a property line. Boundaries for LeadersIt defines where your property line begins and ends. If you think about your home, on your property, you can define what is going to happen there and what is not.

As the leader of an organization – a small group, a team, a department, maybe even the whole organization – you are responsible for the boundaries of that organization:

  • The people you invite in
  • What the goals and purposes are going to be
  • What behavior is going to be allowed – and what isn’t
  • The culture
  • The agenda
  • The rules

The leaders’ boundaries define and shape what is going to be and what isn’t.

In Boundaries for Leaders, Dr. Cloud leverages his expertise of human behavior, neuroscience, and business leadership to explain how the best leaders set boundaries within their organizations–with their teams and with themselves–to improve performance and increase employee and customer satisfaction.

In a voice that is motivating and inspiring, Dr. Cloud offers practical advice on how to manage teams, coach direct reports, and instill an organization with strong values and culture.

Boundaries for Leaders contains seven leadership boundaries that set the stage, tone, and culture for a results-driven organization, including how to:

  • Help people focus their attention on the things that matter most
  • Build the emotional climate that drives brain functioning
  • Facilitate connections that boost energy and momentum
  • Create organizational thought patterns that limit negativity and helplessness
  • Identify paths for people to take control of the activities that drive results
  • Create high-performance teams organize around the behaviors that drive results
  • Lead yourself in a manner that protects the vision

Boundaries for Leaders is essential reading for executives and aspiring leaders who want to create successful companies with satisfied employees and customers, while becoming more resilient leaders themselves.

 

part of the BookNotes Series – brief excerpts from books I am currently reading

Living on the Digital Divide

My parent’s generation viewed office paperwork in terms of duplicate copies made by using carbon paper. Correcting mistakes was a laborious process of erasing the original, erasing the copy (messy), and then correcting the mistake.

carbon copy typewriter

I’ve been around to experience the same thing, but not for long. In graduate school I can remember writing and dictating research papers while my wife typed on an IBM Selectric with self-correcting type. We thought we were in heaven!

My first position out of graduate school came with my very own workstation, part of a network of 20 staff positions, with the wonderful world of word processing. We all used a central printer for the output. Like Henry Ford said, we could have any color we wanted as long as it was black.

Through several church staff positions, then as a consultant, and now as the Vision Room Curator at Auxano, I have come to accept the digital universe as normal. I’m typing this in one of my dozens of field offices around the region (Starbucks, for appointments of 1 or 2; Panera Bread, for 3 or more). My laptop is my assistant; I carry a printer around in my 4-wheel office, along with just about anything I would need to talk with a client. I can produce anything from my files in full color, customized for the client, in minutes.

And yet, there’s something gratifying about sketching an idea on a napkin (literally; I do it all the time). And I have several “theme” notebooks that I jot ideas, quotes, and the like in. Sometimes they make it into my digital files; sometimes not.

My world is a digital divide – I can’t do my work without all the innovative developments of the last couple of decades, but I’m drawn to the “old-fashioned” way of writing, in ink, on paper pages.

I’m looking around at kids (anyone under 35) flipping through a tablet, typing on laptops, talking on cell phones, texting on their mobile phone and wondering: Do they have this same feeling? Or are they over the digital divide, living on the next level, moving forward?

Then I think about my granddaughter, who wants to Skype with my wife and me via her parent’s phone almost every week, and my grandson, who makes a beeline for my wife’s iPad whenever he visits. At the same time, our fridge proudly sports the latest fingerprinting, crayon, and marker artworks from these two. For at least awhile, they seem to be comfortable in both worlds.

How long will that last?

Just wondering today…

 

Read Wide, Lead Deep

Just returned from my weekly trip to the library; also in the stack are a few new acquisitions to my library.

books032813

It’s a varied list that’s for sure, but I believe that wide reading develops deep leading.

Look for a few short ideas from these books in the next few days.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

–Haruki Murakami

How to Be Like Walt, Part 1

Growing up in the 60’s, my earliest memories of Walt Disney came through his television shows and movies. Only decades later did I experience the magic of one of his theme parks. Looking back over all those experiences, I realize that in some sense, Walt Disney’s creative genius was equal, if not superior, to another genius of our time – Steve Jobs.

My curiosity led to ongoing research about the man called Walt Disney – and is producing some amazing lessons from his life that are powerful leadership lessons for today.

Walt Disney was more than a man. He is a symbol of the values he represents: imagination, honesty, perseverance, optimism, and vision. He was a creative genius who could visualize a future found only in his dreams – and then make those dreams come true.

Pat Williams

Walt Disney’s life provides powerful lessons that can be applied in any leadership position. Author Pat Williams recognized this, and went behind the legend to discover a man every bit as fascinating as the world he created.

How to Be Like Walt is the result of thousands of hours of interviews of the people who knew Walt best. In addition to being a fascinating life story of one of our nation’s most creative minds, the author has distilled Walt’s life into 17 lessons – lessons that we all could learn from.

Live the Adventure – Walt’s boyhood on a farm near Marceline MO inspired a sense of wonder and imagination that stayed with him throughout his life. He also experienced treatment from his father that by today’s standards would be abusive. Yet he didn’t let those memories dominate; instead, he shaped his life around the warm, nostalgic memories of his boyhood. It doesn’t matter where you came from, or who your parents are, or what happened when you were a child. All that matters is that you are willing to live the adventure and dream big dreams, them make those dreams come true.

Be a Salesman – A deeper look at Walt’s life reveals that from the beginning of his career, he was a salesman – one of the greatest salesman the world has ever known. He worked hard and sold his ideas from the earliest days of his career. Walt had the right idea and the right spirit, and he was willing to go out and sell his ideas, even when faced with huge challenges. A great salesman can’t be stopped. Be honest, enthusiastic, confident, courageous and persistent. Sell your dreams, and make them come true.

Dare to Do the Impossible – Walt returned from France after WWI and believed that anything was possible. He was audacious enough to believe that an 18-year old with one year of art school could go to a newspaper and get a job as a political cartoonist. He was brash enough to believe that he could teach animation to other artists – after learning to animate after reading two books checked out from the library. He was reckless enough that, after going bankrupt in Kansas City he went to Hollywood to start over in animated cartoons when all the animation studios were in New York City. Dare to do the impossible. Dream big dreams, and don’t be surprised when your impossible dreams come true.

Unleash Your Imagination – After losing the rights to his first cartoon creation (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), Walt responded with imagination. In effect, he said “I’ll solve this problem by creating something new, something the world has never seen before.” So Walt created Mickey Mouse. Walt had an astounding creative awareness. He not only stored up ideas and material in his mind, but he was alert to ideas from the world around him. He had the ability to expand a good idea into a spectacular idea.

Tomorrow: How to Be Like Walt, Part 2 

My favorite post from July, 2012

My Big Toe, I Corinthians 12, and the Body of Christ

You’ve seen it hundreds of times in spy movies, or read about it in a book. The hero, after fighting off dozens of bad guys, is finally knocked unconscious, awakening in a dimly lit, cold, dank dungeon. A truly evil face is staring at him as he regains consciousness. “You think you can resist us, but you will change your mind once we begin pulling out your nails, one by one.”

Okay, maybe a little heavy there.

For the last two weeks, I have been self-treating an ingrown toenail on my big toe. Over the past weekend, the pain began to override the every four hours of Advil, and my OTC meds weren’t making a dent. I called my doctor Monday morning to see if he would refer me to a specialist. “No problem,” his nurse said, “He does these all the time. We can see you tomorrow.”

With only a little trepidation (especially after almost passing out this morning after bumping my toe on the bedpost), I greeted my doctor and showed him the toe. With a sly grin that masked the truly evil person he is, he barely touched the toe and said “Does this hurt?” After coming down off the ceiling, I managed to nod. (The preceding sentence is just hyperbole – my doctor is a great guy, has been for the 17+ years I have known him, and furthermore, is my age. Somehow it is comforting to know your doctor really understands what’s going on in your middle-age body).

He then said, “That nail has got to come off so we can treat the whole problem, not just the pain. Are you game?” (Flashback to all those movies)

My reply? “As long as anesthesia is involved, and the end result is the pain going away, I’m good for whatever you recommend.”

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (I Corinthians 12:12-26)

It might have just been a pain in my big toe, but one thing led to another, and before long my whole body was involved:

  • Shifting weight off the front of my foot caused my heel to hurt
  • To relieve the heel pain, I altered my stride while walking
  • Before long, my back began to ache
  • With an achy back, I could not sit in my usual work position
  • With the toe sensitive to even the lightest touch, I did not sleep well
  • Taking 400mg of Advil every 3-4 hours around the clock for 2+ weeks eventually has its own issues

Who knew what big problems a little toe could cause?

In a sense, that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about in the passage above.

The gathered believers are the Body of Christ, and like the human body, have different roles to play in a healthy Body. When everyone is doing their part, the Body is functioning as it was intended.

But when one part of the Body is not working as it was designed, the whole Body suffers.

God created each believer with as specific role and gifting. If you are not fulfilling that role and using your gift, the Body suffers.

What’s your role?

What’s your gift?

Are you contributing to a whole, healthy Body? Or is your absence causing the Body to suffer?

Welcome to Readers Week, 2012!

This Might Work cover

Today kicks off an annual tradition: taking a look at why reading is important for leaders, hearing from leaders on reading, and announcing my version of the best books of 2012.

And there’s no better way to start it off with a little make that a lot of Seth Godin…

Yesterday I met our mailman at the door with a not too happy look on his face. In addition to the increased volume of holiday mail, he was straining to carry a large, heavy box – one I have been anticipating since mid-summer:

Seth Godin’s latest work, This Might Work, is a huge behemoth of a book weighing in at 15.4 pounds and measuring 15x11x3 inches. It contains Seth’s incomparable blog posts from 2006-2012, curated by his most avid follower, Bernadette Jiwa. Jiwa is an Australian writer and Seth’s only choice to undertake this Herculean task.

She succeeded.

Here is her choice for the opening page, from Seth’s blog on May 20, 2004:

Five years from now…

Assume that:

Hard drive space is free

Wifi like connections are everywhere

Connections speeds are 10 to 100 times faster

Everyone has a digital camera

Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny

The number of new products introduced every day is five times greater than now

Wal-Mart’s sales are three times as big

Any manufactured product that’s more than five years old in design sells at commodity pricing

The retirement age will be five years higher than it is now

Your current profession will either be gone or totally different
What then?

Classic Seth Godin…

Also in the package was Seth’s latest normal book, The Icarus Deception, due out on 12/31. Continuing with the theme he first introduced in Linchpin, Godin shows how we can thrive in an economy that rewards art, not compliance. He explains why true innovators focus on trust, remarkability, leadership, and stories that spread. And he makes a passionate argument for why you should be treating your work as art. A review will be coming soon!

In a few sentences above, this is why leaders read..

And why you should, too.

Next: Thomas Edison on Reading