If you are a sports fan, autumn is a great time of year.
The 2014 Major League Baseball season is hitting its homestretch and the World Series is on the horizon.
College and professional football is in full swing and basketball is just around the corner.
I have been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember.
Growing up in New England my seasons were filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics games. When I moved to Seattle I took my fandom with me, punctuated by the name I gave one of my dogs: Fenway.
My leadership style has been influenced a great deal by sports. My team at Porch.com, a home-improvement network, often hears me speak through sports related analogies and examples. While none of us can throw a football 50 yards or dunk a basketball, in our own way we are “corporate athletes.”
Related: Motivate Your Employees in 3 Steps
For those who need a little extra spark of inspiration, here are five quotes from legends of their field that can be used to motivate the corporate athlete.
1. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
When it comes to the “greatest NBA player of all-time” debate I live squarely on the side of it being Michael Jordan. Part of what made Jordan so great was his passion: It was contagious. He wanted to win championships and it was only when he surrounded himself with great talent was he able to accomplish that.
The office environment is no different. For a business to be successful it takes a team of highly equipped and exceptional individuals that know how to work with each other.
2. Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.
– Vince Lombardi
I recently posted a piece on “7 ways to make good managers great managers.” One of the premises here is that it takes a lot of work to be a GREAT manager or leader. As with everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. You don’t need to look much further than one of the best coaches of all time to validate the time it takes to build an exceptional leader.
3. If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.
– John Wooden
If you are not trying new things, then you aren’t really pushing yourself. That means you are playing it safe.
For a business or individual to really succeed, they should be pushing the boundaries. Embrace failure and the learning that happens as a result. It is okay to make a mistake -- especially if it is one you really learn from.
Basketball coach John Wooden won an unprecedented number of championships at UCLA. Part of what made him a winner was his ability to innovate and try new things.
In the workplace the same principles are present. Don’t always follow the status quo. Try something new and discover new ways to do it better than it has ever been done before.
4. My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.
– Hank Aaron
One my favorite mottos is “chopping wood.” If you want the tree to fall, you need to keep chopping wood until it comes down. Some days you swing the axe all day and the tree doesn’t come down. You need to come back the next day and pick up where you left off.
Mr. Aaron’s approach at the plate was the same. When things are down and you are not performing your best, sometimes all you do is keep on swinging.
5. A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.
- Mary Lou Retton
Many of us spend more time with our co-workers than our family and friends. If you are working with people you enjoy being around, you are blessed. At the end of the day we all work too hard to not enjoy the journey. Whatever you are doing right now, it will eventually become a memory. The Kodak moments that exist during your workplace journey are what you will carry with you forever. It’s not the trophies or awards you win, but the people you are working with when these moments occur.