Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Elko, Touchdown!

From FT Press (2010) comes a book by business performance coach Kevin Elko: Touchdown! Achieving Your Greatness on the Playing Field of Business (and Life). As the title indicates, many of the book’s lessons are illustrated with football stories. Here I’m going to share a few of Elko’s pearls of wisdom abstracted for the most part from their sports context and from their place in a major theme of the book, the “seasons of life.”

“People sometimes make mistakes in two different ways when assessing their personal gifts: (1) they think they have no gifts, or (2) they think they have many. The fact is we all have at least one, and sometimes maybe two. But we must quit wasting time developing too many gifts—or worse, wasting time developing none.” (p. 58)

“[D]o not settle for safe. Listen, risk, match your gifts with what makes you feel alive, and then win. . . .” (p. 62)

Re preparation: “. . . a game is won or lost during the week before it is played. . . . By the time the players get to the field, their play should be all ‘muscle memory,’ what they have encoded through repetition during the week, so that the win is basically subliminal.” (p. 68)

“[A]lways measure your progress. If you don’t, you won’t.” (p. 71)

“[L]earn your move until it is second nature to you. You do not need many moves; instead, perfect your move, the one that best matches you, and then keep making it. If it works for you, it is your plan for your season. You don’t need to be fancy or complicated when you have a winning plan.” (p. 104)

“Words such as winning and goal—although good concepts indeed—are too abstract when trying to get to the doing—to taking effective action. Many times, athletes try to command their bodies to win, but their bodies are confused by the abstract terminology. Winning is not an action. Winning is an outcome of sustained effective action.” (p. 108)

Some things are “too hard to play hard. All you have to do is get your process in front of you and let it happen, not force it to happen.” (p. 109)

Others have developed these points more eloquently, but eloquence isn’t necessary to inspire a football team or a business group. One of my favorite pieces of advice is in fact Elko’s own focus phrase. Confronted with a less than perfect lawn, he got a tip from a farmer: “Keep planting grass; don’t pull weeds.” (p. 110)

No comments:

Post a Comment