Show Up Every Day Like It’s the First Day

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

I was traveling this week, so although I don’t typically watch sports on TV, I did by accident at the hotel gym. The screen was split, showing a basketball coach on both sides coaching opposite teams in the same game. For one coach, it was his first game as head coach and the second coach had hundreds of games under his belt as head coach. Their actions and body language were strikingly different, which had me instantly thinking about how leaders change over time.

The first coach was pumped up, holding a stance like he was in the game himself, and shouting encouragement to his team! The second coach wasn’t speaking at all, in fact he looked kind of bored, and was just watching to see how the game was progressing. There was a stark contrast in the behavior of these two coaches, but I believe we can learn from both of them in this situation and become better leaders as a result.

The first coach was bringing a lot of passion and energy to his team, actively supporting them in making decisions. I think this is great and demonstrates the drive we have on our first day as new leaders to make a difference! Great leaders somehow keep this energy and optimism going throughout their careers and their teams benefit from it, but they also learn to trust their teams to carry out the strategy and vision without the leader constantly managing every detail. This is important and something the first coach will hopefully learn; bring the energy but let the team make decisions. Detach from the details so you can see the bigger picture and create a strategy that fits the environment.

The second coach was definitely detached, so much that the team wasn’t getting any feedback or encouragement from the sideline….. He had let hundreds of games wear him down, and somewhere along the way, lost how important it is to be excited about the things the team gets excited about. The effect of this behavior will be a lack of motivation and end with poor results. This coach needs to reset and remind himself before every game to be present in the moment and provide encouragement to the team to keep them motivated to win!

Each of these coaches were doing some things correctly and some things incorrectly as a result of their personalities and time as leaders. On Monday morning, remember this contrasting tale of two leaders and combine their strengths to encourage and motivate your team to win the game, while doing your job and seeing what it takes to win the championship. Your attitude sets the tone for the team so show up with the energy you brought to your first day as a leader!


Stress Test to Ease Your Mind

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

There’s nothing worse than wondering what unplanned issue is around the corner that’s going to impact your business or life, and for many, it can lead to anxiety and the feeling you’re not in control of the outcome. Given the current hiring situation mixed with supply chain interruptions, this is an all too common feeling among leaders trying to keep it all together. We’ve all come to expect the unexpected but few are preparing for it which sets them up for failure when the next calamity hits.

Rather than wait for the next interruption and then figure out how to react to it, I began performing stress tests on critical areas of the business to see how prepared we were and what steps we would take in each event. This has been incredibly powerful towards easing the anxiety associated with running a business dependent on international supply chains and it’s been a differentiating factor with customers who count on us to perform. I got the idea from the post-recession banking industry which was required to pass stress tests for liquidity in order to avoid needing a bailout in the event of another economic disaster. Given how unstable hiring and the supply chain have been recently, it’s been a lifesaver.

Running stress tests forces you to think about what could happen instead of worry about what might happen, which eases the mind and makes you feel more in control. Stress tests apply to your personal life as well. Looking to retire? Try living on the anticipated retirement budget for a few months to see if it’s feasible. Want to run a 5k in the middle of summer? You better get out of the air conditioned gym and try running outside to see how it feels. Be intentional about planning and preparing for the worst and put yourself back in control today.