Thursday, March 20, 2014

Are You A Triple Threat Professionally? - Lessons From March Madness

Used with permission:
 #22- My Nephew - Devin Monore
It's officially March Madness and I am so excited! Here's where I believe some of the best and most exciting basketball is played. We have the favorites, we have the sure to wins and we have the underdogs. All of those present the opportunity for exhilaration, upsets and heartbreaks.
This level of competition always causes me to reflect on what it takes to be a successful athlete and it takes me back to my days as a college athlete. (My sport was volleyball. I had a killer serve I must say.)
In college I also attempted to play basketball and I remember in early trainings the coach would say, "The key to being successful in your basketball career is to focus on becoming a triple threat. If we all achieve that level of play, we'll be hard to beat." For those who don't know, the triple threat encompasses shooting, passing, and dribbling. My young freshman brain said, "Sounds simple enough. We can all do that." Rrrrgiht.
Whether it's collegiant or professional ball the triple threat is not easy to achieve. There are those who are skilled in one or a few, but all three?  Taking it to an even higher level, fewer have really even mastered it.
So what does achievement at that level take? Well I think talent and certainly being tall helps, but even tall in not necessarily a shoe in.  I think it takes what it does in any arena of life -- a few key essentials.  Here's my list:
1. An understanding of what's needed in the arena in which you choose to play. Many people professionally don't really understand their arena, starting with their team, department, company, and more broadly their industry. They just go to work. Understanding your arena and what's really needed to compete effectively is crucial to being successful in it.
2. Discipline.  It's really exciting when your team wins the game, you get to be interviewed or appear in one of those preview promos holding the ball in cool poses. Yes, it all looks so fun and sexy.  But you know, being disciplined - holding to the discipline of developing a skill can be far from sexy and cool. Actually, it can be boring, monotonous and sometimes flat torture.
3. Focus. Sometimes I just don't know how athletes do it with all the off court distractions. There are interviews, media hubbub and oh yeah there's still studying to do. Laser focus -- being in the zone is crucial to channeling all that talent, time, planning and practice into a winning score.
4. Desire. I think desire fuels focus. Some people might use the word motivation, I like the word desire. Desire just sounds as if it comes from a place way down deep.  And that is just where you have to go when you're in the last few minutes of a game and the win could go either way. In those moments of complete exhaustion, where no physical energy can be found, a team can be carried to victory on the last remaining fumes of desire. I believe I have observed on many occasions (my summation) the team that wanted it the most is the team that won.
There are certainly a few more, but for the most part I believe these four to be essential. So in your professional life are you a triple threat?  Do you know what it really takes to be and do what's necessary to get successful outcomes? What would the "triple threat" concept look like in your profession?
I know what looks like success for each of us will be different, but to get there will take the same key ingredients for everyone.

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

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