During my life as a manager and trainer, I was always trying to come up with new ways to motivate employees to do the right thing. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes that was my fault and sometimes it wasn’t. I’ve told metaphors about Care Bears, balloon animals, a zoo, cars (which I know nothing about) and Teddy Ruxpin. But nothing I’ve ever come up with has been as successful as my work as a ninja master. This probably requires some explanation.
I swear to God that the story I’m about to tell you is true. This actually happened to a friend. And not an anecdotal friend. A friend who sat on my couch and told me this story…that had happened to her…earlier that day. She showed me pictures. It’s a true story. This is the story of the $1800 kitten.
The biggest thing I teach my coaching clients is how to make a plan and follow it. In fact, it’s basically the only thing I teach my coaching clients. Sure, there are some details and some steps along the way but essentially, my only interest is in making a plan and seeing it through. Now, as you may or may not know, I’m not a fan of “business plans” per se. But I am a fan of making plans. So I thought I’d give you a very short guide to planning how to do anything.
I’ve made points about this before and I always preface this by saying that I have two university degrees and value the education that I’ve received. I think there can be incredible value, for some, in a university education and I think that many employers in many fields believe it to be necessary. However, there’s something else that I believe. I believe that university is a tool, useful if and only if it suits that job you want to use the tool for, and I believe that under no circumstance is university a solution.
There are those that believe that the glass is half full. There are others that believe that the glass is half empty. I think both of those groups are dumb. I don’t know why we’re standing around arguing about glasses when there are more important things to do. I think that the glass is a glass. It holds liquid. It fills up. It empties. Occasionally you break one. And then you get another one. Stop philosophizing about things and get some work done.
I like Kevin Costner. I know this doesn’t make me a popular man sometimes but he happens to have made a couple of my favorite movies, including 2/3 of my favorite sports movies of all time. But my “love affair” with Costner began with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I grew up as a big Bryan Adams fan (ps if you put together all of the references in my posts you can calculate my age TO THE MINUTE) and so I LOVED the soundtrack and the score because, come on, it’s Michael Kamen. It is a story I’ve always loved, one of the morality tales about good, evil and the very thin line in between. But there’s something I think about all the time (aside from Alan Rickman threatening to eat someone’s heart out with a spoon) and that is Kevin Costner blowing in my ear as I do something important.
One of the most interesting conversations I had in University was with the Dean of Education, a man by the name of Bruno Hicks (I swear that was his real name), about homework. The connections I’ve made between this and my business life are MANY. I don’t know if I’ve ever met an educator, or anyone for that matter, whose opinion I valued more than Bruno’s. But on this particular topic, I thought he was crazy. Here I was, sitting in a classroom, learning to be a teacher and the Dean of Education was telling me that…homework is stupid.