Potential, Giving Your Best, and Leading by Example

Marine Corps Marathon runners

Marine Corps Marathon runners There is a scene in Facing the Giants that I love. WARNING: inspirational sports clip. It’s about 5 minutes long — go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait right here and sing “American Pie” — it’s about that long.

…jester sang for the king and queen … Chevy to the levy … the day the music died…

Back? OK.

Two great quotes that I want you dwell on for a minute: “I want you to do it blindfolded. … Because I don’t want you giving up at a certain point when you can go farther,” and, “You are the most influential member of this team. If you walk around defeated, so will they.”

There are two people to think about here — the coach and the player.

As a player, are you creating artificial boundaries? Do you realize how your boundaries influence your team? No one is going to try to go farther than the best player. It seems impossible. When they see you stretching, they will reach, too.

As a coach do you know who your influencers are? Are you aware of their message to the rest of your team? Are they aware? Can you see potential that they don’t? What is your equivalent of the blindfold?

Wedding Anniversaries Take A Back Seat

Foolish Couple

An anniversary at work should be a bigger deal than a wedding anniversary.  Sure, getting married is a monumental event. But, recently a co-worker and I figured out I had spent more time with him than my wife in the last 13 years at The Fool. So, shouldn’t I celebrate that even more than the time I spent with my wife?

Here we call that special work day a Fooliversary.  We have 2 main components to a typical Fooliversary.  First, on your
Fooliversary you receive balloons that state the number of years you have been with the company.  This is a great visible
sign to everyone that you have sold out to the Foolish man.  We enjoy wandering by each other’s desks, noting the big day, and giving congratulations.

The second part of our Fooliversary is the gift that goes along with the balloon(s).  Sure we could go for the traditional watch or lapel pin. I remember when I received my 2 year gift at Bank of America.  It was a business card holder AND a clock.  Yes, two very functional items in one!  OK, that was an awful attempt by B of A to say Thank You.  The big part of that gift was that it meant I could now take a full 10 days off from work unlike The Fool where we have no vacation policy.  But, I digress.  The gift we award at the Fool is to provide an experience.

We believe that creating shared experiences is a powerful way to foster collaboration and friendship. We provide experiences like movies, front row seats to a game, cooking class, overnight stays, and travel abroad. With each year your experience gets bigger.  Then we can bond over the years. “Oh, you are celebrating your 3 year Fooliversary.  I remember when I got mine.  I was front row at Lady Gaga.”

So, we go with a visible sign and a shared experience to recognize what we believe is a big deal – a long term commitment to The Fool, Our Mission, Our Friends, and Our Customers.

Laughter Makes Everything Better

Foolyween 2000

Recently I had a day without meetings and found I was missing them.  I realized that I actually look forward to going to meetings.  I couldn’t help but wonder why any sane person would enjoy meetings so much.  After dismissing the idea that I was losing my mind I realized I was addicted and needed my fix.  I needed to get to meetings to see my friends and laugh.  I missed the high of a good belly laugh.

There are many constants at the Fool.  but, one is that you won’t attend meetings without laughing.  We simply have a good time in whatever we do – even meetings.  That is not to say our meetings are unproductive.  I’d say we are more focused than most at ensuring our meetings have clear outcomes.  We are able to balance the needs at hand while still entertaining each other.

A day without meetings might be a day with less laughter.  I certainly have favorite Fools who can get the best laughs.  But, it is often the Fools you don’t expect who break out the one liner that gets the giggles that won’t stop.  Adding some fun and laughter to meetings is nothing but an improvement.