10 Questions to Give You Direction in Life

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A few times a year I like to take time and reflect where I am at in my life and evaluate my goals and aspirations. These ten questions are a great way to reflect and help you on your journey. Take a look at my most recent reflection I have done.

How do you want to be remembered?

SC: Putting others before me. Being a service to others.

If you had time and finances not holding you back, what would you do with your life?

SC: Travel the world to learn and embrace different cultures.

If you were guaranteed not to fail, what would you do with your life?

SC: There is a handful of things I would like to do if I knew that there were no consequences associated with it. First, I would open my own gym. Second, I would open a tap room. I would work from home, write books, and have an online business that allowed me to help develop and add value to people’s life.

What mark do you want to make on the world?

SC: Make an impact with the people I interact with each day. Inspire them to want to better themselves and pass on that gift to other people. I want everyone to be a love cat. I want to add value to people’s lives and I want them to add value to mine.

If you could snap your fingers and instantly become famous for something, what would you choose?

SC: For writing a book(s).

What makes you feel totally alive?

SC: Coaching/teaching or having a deep conversation about something I am truly passionate about.

What do you do that makes you lose track of time?

SC: Read books. Research on YouTube (and sometimes the internet). Developing social media or blog content.

What are you completely amazing at?

SC: Nothing. I have strengths and weaknesses but nothing I am amazing at because that mindset would hinder the purpose of trying to better myself. If I had to choose one thing I believe I am good at it listening to other people. I am also good at organizing things (events, packets, etc.).

Who inspires you?

SC: A handful of people. Matthew Vincent, Lewis Howes, CORE group of friends.

What is your favorite past time?

SC: Drinking craft beer with friends, and/or watching movies.

We would like to hear from you! Please answer these ten questions and email them to us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com

-Sean C.

Book Summaries with Jeremy

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Built on Values by Ann Rhoades

Summary:

Built on Values stresses the importance of instilling values within an organization and living up to those values. Too often an organization struggles for its identity and culture along with poor results. Defining and living up to values provides a blueprint for how the organization and each employee will conduct itself. There are various strategies within the book. Some key aspects are identifying the A players, the best employees of an organization who live up to the values. Use them as input for creating values as needed, but also as examples. Everyone from the front line to executives should be expected to live the values daily. This is easier when hiring is done in accordance with values, finding examples of behaviors from candidates that live up to the values. Performance reviews and goals should also be value driven. Those acting in accordance should be properly rewarded. Communication is vital, especially when integrating a new value system, as some employees may not take it with full seriousness. Instead, acknowledge it will take time and be consistent with message and actions. This is aided by direct input from all levels. The focus is to look at all aspects of the business and identify methods to increase awareness and functioning based on the values. Doing this over time will lead to greater retention of employees, greater products, and greater experiences for customers.

How it influenced me:

When I first started to read this book, I thought how it was such an echo of what I had been saying all summer, meeting with 200 gym and brewery owners across the USA. I recall speaking to a friend and former colleague of mine in Florida regarding the importance of values and how I would keep referring to values for numerous topics of discussion we had regarding some organizational development he was implementing. I then thought there were opportunities for me to help other organizations as well. As I read more, I had a feeling of validation, but also learning and “oh yeah” moments where I realized there were considerations for value implementation that I had not previously thought of. I am also in the process of looking for a job for some stability and this has made me consider the perspective I had when applying at organizations. I look forward towards the future with greater confidence regarding values as I work within and with various organizations.

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Using Tech to Connect, Right

Modern Young Man With Mobile Phone In The Street.

Texting is an essential form of communication these days. Type some words and the person can look at it whenever they have time. Communication met with convenience, especially since you can text in a room without others knowing what you’re saying. It can be a lifeline for a dangerous situation or a bad date. There is certainly a lot of good about texting, but it isn’t without its faults.

When reading a text from someone, there are assumptions as to the tone and true meaning meant by the person. Sure, emoticons and emojis can help to illustrate if something is teasing, a joke or not serious, but there is still wiggle room for error. Not to mention, “I’m fine”, “just do whatever you want” and “I’m good” are all phrases we’ve heard and have known there were other meanings. This lack of communication can make us feel bad or sad as we aren’t effectively communicating with others.

While traveling, I had some friends tell me about the Marco Polo app. Here is the Marco Polo website for those looking to download it. Marco Polo blends the concepts of Skype (video chatting) with texting. You can record a video message and send it to a friend. They can then look at it whenever it is convenient for them. This is indeed like sending a video Snap, but the difference is the length of the video. (I suppose I could’ve used that as my initial analogy, but hopefully, through both, it gives a good mental idea of the app) Marco Polo can record much longer videos without the interruptions from different Snaps. This added length enables the messages to more encompassing of how a day went, or to hear full stories with all the details.

The beautiful part of the video message is being able to hear the tone and see the person’s expressions as they speak. This feels much more natural and reduces the chance of error regarding the person’s message. Not to mention, seeing a family member or friend, especially when they are across the country, gives a sense of warmth, familiarity, and love.

Marco Polo has enabled me to maintain and strengthen existing friendships, but also to help some bloom into stronger friendships. It is great to connect with anyone, regardless of their location, and without the worries of setting up a time to talk and coordinate time zones.

An added benefit Sean (the Co-founder of RAWR) and I have implemented is including something we’re grateful for in our messages. This helps us to reflect on the good things occurring in our lives. Doing this over time can help to shift to a more optimistic way of thinking, which in turn can have added benefits regarding performance, self-satisfaction, and relationships.

In sum, my less than official stance is that Marco Polo is a neat app worth checking out. Some people have some hesitation with a video I’ve noticed. For those out there, just focus on the value of connection, and a purer connection making it even better. Plus, there are filters and such for those needing them or just want a little change of pace.

-Jeremy

What Leaders Really Do

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Nearly 30 years ago, What Leaders Really Do (May need HBR subscription to view fully) was written by John P. Kotter for the Harvard Business Review. This makes it far from the “latest and greatest” information available to us, but that does not diminish the impact it can have.

The article discusses the difference between management and leadership. Management relates to the planning and predictable nature of daily tasks. It means finding the right people for the job and executing effective problem-solving. Leadership is the creation of a vision of what the company ought to be and finding people which align with said vision. It means creating a level of credibility and motivation within each employee to get them to believe in the vision.

Two concepts stood out to me from the article, motivating the employees and decentralized organization. The article talks about leadership including the process of motivating people but it does not go into how to accomplish this. I would offer motivation needs to be a multi-faceted approach. At RAWR, we work with organizations and their approach to motivation based on Achievement Goal Theory, Self-determination Theory, and Attribution Theory. This means creating an environment where people are focused on improving their own abilities and making goals geared towards their improvement. The goals they make should be based on their core values. Finally, daily, there are successes and failures that occur. Attributing the successes as something that can be repeatable and the failures as something that is isolated and changeable can lead to more motivation.

The concept of decentralization stood out as well. A few years ago, I had read two books which were recommended to me, The Starfish and the Spider and One from Many. The first showing various companies with such practices and the effectiveness it enabled. The latter was about the formation of Visa, the credit card company we use but may not know much about. A common premise is that to have fast progress, decentralization should occur.

A decentralized system gives more power to individuals, allowing for faster decisions and actions. Most of us have experienced situations where some level of management or the organization is stifling because things need to go through bureaucratic processes. These processes can be a form of handcuffs, slowing the progress. At first, decentralization may seem worrisome, but it is important to realize that even under such a system, help and guidance can be provided on a continued basis, allowing for growth and sustainability.

Throughout this blog, there have been a few resources discussed and the citations are below. Something to consider when coming across any resource, whether it is new, 30 years old, or much older, is identifying how it connects to other resources. Taking this analytical approach can help you process the information and make sense of it for yourself.

Here are citations for reference:

Brafman, O., & Beckstrom, R. A. (2006). The starfish and the spider: The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations. Penguin.

Duda, J. L., & Nicholls, J. G. (1992). Dimensions of achievement motivation in schoolwork and sport. Journal of educational psychology84(3), 290.

Hock, D. (2009). One from many: Visa and the rise of chaordic organization. ReadHowYouWant. com.

Kotter, J. P. (2001). What leaders really do (pp. 85-96). Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist55(1), 68.

Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion. Psychological review92(4), 548.

-Jeremy

Putting the Big 4 into Practice

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Over the last few weeks, I have been conducting performance reviews with my team at work. I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down (about an hour at a time) with each employee to talk about their work performance and to gain valuable feedback about our work environment and how we can improve. This got me thinking about RAWR’s top four areas of expertise: (1) Leadership Development, (2) Self-Satisfaction, (2) Maximizing Performance Capabilities, and (4) Better Training.

These four areas of expertise or what I will use for this blog, the Big 4 can be utilized in your daily lives to improve a handful of categories. In this case, the Big 4 was used to give feedback, receive feedback and collaborate ideas to better the process.

Leadership Development

I do not see myself as a manager. I don’t like this word. To me, this is someone who sits behind the pack barking orders. I like to see myself as a store leader. I may delegate a task that needs to be done but will always be there working side-by-side or leading by example. My “position” doesn’t make me greater than anyone else. My “position” allows me to be a leader and develop leaders within the team. During my performance review, I ask what time of manager (or leader) they would. This gives me insight on their thinking when it comes to guiding individuals and it allows me to understand with motivates and does not motivate this person. During our time I always like to give them challenges to help with their overall development and empower them to be a leader among the team.

Self-Satisfaction

This is a great time for me to discover what motivates them as a person. I ask engaging questions to understand more about their lives and their goals. This is a great time to talk about the environment we try to create at work and situations that will make them stop before they react. My goal is not to pursue anyone but to give them enough evidence to believe in the culture that we create at work. Not everyone has the same mindset about things, and may not take certain things as serious as others but it is important that people develop self-worth in the position that they are in. It is important that they understand that they have an opportunity to develop themselves and make an impact on others.

Maximizing Performance Capabilities

At times this can be a really fun and engaging time in the performance reviews or a really difficult situation. No one likes to tell other people that they are lacking in areas. But, if communicated properly it can be a positive experience for both. People need to know that you care about them and their abilities. If someone is not meeting expectations it is important that you discover why. Yes, you have your observation of why these people are lacking certain skills, but communicating and asking questions can be extremely beneficial. Maybe someone was not meeting expectation because they were trained wrong and you had no idea, maybe someone has a lack of motivation because you are not challenging them. Getting to know someone and how they tick can change an average player to an all-star. Get to know the people you work with and find out what motivates them and how to motivate them.

Better Training

This is a time I want to know where they see a lack of training in our program. This is a great view through the eyes of someone who has gone through training and doing the day-to-day grind. There may be elements we are missing in our training and we might not see it. Or there are things missing that you and the other person both see and agree on. I want my team to be involved and implement their ideas and see that we are putting them into effect. I want to know how they felt we trained them and where they felt like they were not given the tools to succeed. This overall feedback helps better our future employees and current. And overall it helps the leadership team become better as a whole.

The Big 4 can be broken down and analyzed separately or can be talked about as a whole. What areas in your development or your organization’s development could be improved? If you say none then you are not taking a deep enough look. There is always room for improvement. If you are interested in having RAWR come to your organization or want to work one-on-one with us contact us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com to set up a meeting to see how we can help one another.

-Sean C.

Updating Past Teachers

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Last night I was out to dinner with two good buds. After a few minutes, we realized the people who were seated next to us were an old coach of ours and his family. Without getting into the details, let us say simply that it’s been over a decade since those days. We were going to say hi initially but decided to let their family set in. As the night carried on, there was no good way to say hello, well at least without feeling like we would be intruding. Finally, as they began to leave, we said hello and took a few moments to chat.

There were some funny topics, some brief mention of memories or common people, and an update on current life. It felt nice for the three of us to say we were doing relatively well. Our high school wasn’t known as the greatest but it was fine. There was a tone of surprise and happiness in both him and his wife. Then after a few minutes, we said good bye.

I thought for a moment afterward and realized it felt nice to connect again. Teachers or coaches have big impacts on our lives. I know who I am is due in large part to those who put time and effort into helping me grow academically, athletically, but also as a person. I think it is nice to reach out when the opportunity arises to tell them we are doing well. They can then reflect on the positive impact they have had. I believe they are teachers or coaches, to help others. Next time I’m in a position to talk with an old teacher or coach I certainly will capitalize on it and hope you do as well.

-Jeremy

 

 

Book Summaries with Jeremy

Glass alcoholic drink wine antique books in front warm fireplace.

Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehany 

Summary:

Phil’s basketball journey is addressed throughout the book. It starts with his playing days, covers his start as a coach, and of course the successes he had with the Bulls and the Lakers. The ending of the book is after the Lakers lost their playoff series against the Mavericks. Throughout he relives some game time moments, describing what happened in certain games and in a variety of playoff series. Phil has always been more well known for his philosophy of zen and bringing his players together to play well-rounded basketball. He discusses his various approaches to doing this, sitting quietly, doing yoga, meditation, and different ways he’d communicate with the team. At times he mentioned various zen, or Buddhist teachers and intertwines those lessons with what the team or he as an individual were going through. He gives an inside look at the behind the scenes issues and concerns that would arise and his thoughts along the way.

Influence on me:

The simplicity of the attitude in the book struck me. There are times when there was great success or failure and Phil had a very matter of fact attitude. Instead of dwelling or letting it get carried away each event was treated as just an event. Even with this approach, there was not a lack of emotion. He would say when he was angry or sad and cried. These are just events and they do take place. If we want to let them constantly be a part of us and weigh us down then we will. Also as individuals we all constantly learn and grow, and sometimes we want to learn and grow how to be strong in difficult situations, or how to not let anger or rage overcome us in situations, but unfortunately, the only way to test and see if we have grown is to go through such trying times. To me, it seems that even when things seem taxing and difficult, it really just enables us to have an opportunity to see how we are in that moment, and to learn from it. The other main concept was being in the moment. This idea of chopping wood and carrying water. Those are simple tasks and other emotional things may happen around it, but in the moment it’s not beneficial to be elsewhere, instead, we need to be in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

Check out more books summaries here. Share with us books you have read lately and the impact they have had on you. Email us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com

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