Bring Along One Person
My summers in Oklahoma City would hit a narrow focus around this time of year. The office was quieter than usual as athletes and coaches traveled for paddling competitions. The air-conditioned office was an appealing alternative to the scorching hot summer days common to the middle of the country.
These long days with fewer interruptions made it easier to focus my attention on one of the most important documents for which I was responsible each year.
During my time leading an Olympic and Paralympic sport, our organization was required to submit an annual “High Performance Plan” to the United States Olympic Committee. Think of it as a child making the case to a parent for how much allowance he or she should receive and why. Written out in 75 pages. Only in this case, the parent already had a good idea of how much allowance would be paid.
We submitted the document anyway.
The exercise was interesting. It required the various stakeholders — leaders, coaches, athletes, staff, and volunteers — to consider how to grow the performance of athletes. Such consideration facilitated conversation, plenty of conflict, and often, resolution.
In my five years in this particular job, the opinion that people wanted to share with me, far more than any other, was how to grow the sport — which ran a wide spectrum in technique but was similar in spirit.
Of course, this is not unique to just canoeing, or sports. Growth of any activity we enjoy strengthens an emotional connection. Today my ears perk up a little bit when I hear bluegrass musicians, rowers, church-goers, charitable causes, gamers, cyclists, and political advocates (to name a few) talk about growing the base. Such discussions about how the base must grow bigger seem to be exhaustive and emotionally charged.
Every Person Brings Along One Person
These were the wise words spoken by one of my teammates years ago during my competitive days: “If everyone just brought along one person, we’d double our size.”
This is a simple high performance plan that builds culture, is affordable, and requires action. Talking about it will do nothing.
One writer brings along a new writer.
One leader brings along a new leader.
One customer brings along a new customer.
One instructor brings along a new instructor.
One participant brings along a new participant.
Even better — and perhaps the most overlooked ingredient in building a culture of excellence — is that mentoring forces you to break down the basics in a way a complete newbie would need in order to understand, enjoy, and want to come back tomorrow to try again.
What’s the best part? The freedom of trying to bring one new person along beats the prison of asking for allowance.
I, then, transfer my Olympic Gold Medal performance strategies that streamline decision making and actions when engaged in complicated life currents with an aim towards the freedom of playing your own.
Step Up Your Game — On & Off The River…
Over the past six months, Sunday Morning Joe readers may have noticed a number of posts where the central idea originates from the concepts and lessons I’ve learned from 40 years of navigating whitewater rivers.
Now, I’m excited to put the those words into action through experiential signature programs that invite leaders like you onto the water with me. We break down fundamental strategies of paddling rivers and transfer them to skills and mindsets that help you perform better in business, and in life.
As you learn, you will discover new ways to challenge yourself, meet great people, and have a lot of fun in the process.
My next signature program takes place July 23–24, 2017 at Riversport Rapids in Oklahoma City. Learn more about the program HERE and click on the image below to watch a video.