This Joe Paterno and Penn State leadership child molestation cover up is sickening.
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What’s even worse is that some of it could have been easily avoided. The pain and shame so many feel right now was unnecessary.
It’s clear that some leaders at Penn State covered up disturbing crimes happening on their campus. I won’t point fingers at anyone in particular, but two people are now facing criminal charges. Others are facing moral charges from thousands of people who are wondering why they didn’t do more. Say more.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking, not just the “legal minimum”. It means calling the cops when something like this happens, not just calling your boss.
I understand this would have been a major distraction and black eye for their successful football program at the time, but now it may be a crippling blow.
Leaders can work hard to achieve record success, but if they allow unethical behavior on their watch, it may all mean nothing. Regardless of records, legends, or stellar reputations, all leaders will fall when moral issues like this are ignored. There is more to life. There is more to success. Leadership without honor is hollow.
Leaders must have their success and honor too.
“Success with Honor” is Penn State’s motto. Now they have neither.
Usually, 8pm Warriors that make something great during their lives can point to key situations where success happened by an inch or two. It might be the large client that changed their mind and chose you, or the time you found just enough capital to push through a slow period.
Those victories are won by an inch. Every inch, every chance mattered for success.
The same goes for failure.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about pushing my absolute limits is because everywhere I look, I see inches. I try to take every inch when I can, not knowing how far I really have to go to reach my goal.
Even so, I am worried about missing by a couple inches. It’s one of my greatest fears and cause of numerous agonizing defeats.
I’m not alone.
We all need inches and tonight is the best time to find them.
PS. One of my friends mentioned that this pep talk below really fits with this topic. I agree. Check it out.
I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean…one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!
I’ll tell you this – in any fight, its the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m going to have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is!
Great leaders find a way to build confident teams. It’s one of the most overlooked facets of amazing leadership:
How do you get your team to believe in themselves?
Do you send them to watch “motivational” speakers? Do you make them read the latest “inspirational” book? Do you lie to them? Fake it?
There is only one way. It must be earned.
I believe that teams, just like people, develop authentic confidence when they actually experience success and can attribute that success to the work they’ve done. Some people don’t believe in themselves because they don’t feel they’ve done anything remarkable. Teams can be the same way.
As a leader, you must find a way to get your team believing they can achieve great things. Here are four steps towards the power of confidence:
1. Hire talented people
2. Expect great achievements
3. Celebrate success
4. Remind them of what they are capable of.
Then, push them further.
There is something special about those who have authentic confidence. For them, anything they chase is within reach. It’s not magic, sorcery, or luck.
It’s common to hear mentors advise young people to do what they love. I’ve offered that advice myself many times.
However, I wonder if it’s become an excuse for some who confuse “doing what they love” with avoiding things they don’t love.
Rejection is painful
No one loves working long hours while others play
The best way to successfully do what you love is to work while others play, get rejected numerous times, and fail forward and faster than others in your field. In a world of unlimited competition, the winners will be separated by mere inches, their level of passion, and the bravery to do what hurts.
Doing what hurts is the key to doing what you love.
Creating a strategy is like building a sand castle on the shore. Unfortunately, the tide will always come in and destroy your work. Just ask every business leader before 705 AD and almost all of them since. Successful leaders must plan for it.
Since nothing lasts forever (especially now), the way to be successful in the long run is to honestly consider a future without your current star product or business model. No matter how hard it is, you need to start tearing down emotional connections to your successful past endeavors so you can plan ahead.
Don’t make your success a liability.
Just ask Circuit City about Best Buy, Montgomery Ward about Walmart, or Dell about Apple. They all dominated the other before ultimately losing the lead. Circuit City had big box electronics retail figured out and Montgomery Ward was famous for their catalogs. Now my daughter doesn’t even know what a catalog is. Catalogs didn’t last.
Also look at Michael Dell. He built an amazing company that took “on demand” manufacturing to a whole new level and was the poster child of the best cost marketing strategy. I remember reading in 2000 how analysts thought Dell would be hard to beat due to their strategy and economies of scale. The “moat around them is too wide” they said. 10 years later Dell’s value is down almost 80% even though computer sales are up.
Their strategy didn’t last.
The winners will be companies like Apple, who plan for change because they see that products, companies, and even whole industries don’t last. Apple didn’t think stand alone music players (iPod) would last, so they developed the iPhone. They don’t think laptops will last, so they developed the iPad. They’re building something that doesn’t last…and they know it.
It’s time we all did.
Today it’s time to start thinking about the future, the time when what you’re working on today is obsolete. Plan for it. Change before you need to. Build something that truly lasts.
Here is just one 8pm Warrior’s simplified plan to succeed in the “New World” we all face:
1) Commit to something bigger than yourself.
It’s harder to quit on something more important than yourself. Have a goal. Be on a mission. Change the world. Save a life.
If you want to succeed, you must commit yourself to doing something big. Go big or go home.
2) Figure out what you love to do.
I guarantee you will not succeed doing anything you don’t love. It’s just too hard these days to conquer the challenges you will face if you don’t love your work.
I am convinced that no matter what, if you do what you love, you will find a way to make money. The internet allows passionate people to make money on niches.
3) Start doing it. Now.
If you don’t love what you’re doing, make a change. Don’t put it into your 5 year plan. Start today. Even if you have to get/keep your day job, get an 8pm Warrior job and then listen, learn, and begin tonight.
4) Meet others who love what you love.
Few people can win alone anymore. The world is too complex and we need people to pick us up when we’re tired, broken, and failing. It’s a war out there, and you will fail, fall, and need help. Find others, learn from them and win. Together you are stronger.
5) Be different.
There is too much in this world: too much information, too many things, too many messages, and too many people. If you’re a “One in a Million” type of person, that isn’t good enough anymore. That means there are 6,800 other people just like you out there, and they are all connected on the internet.
You need to stand out, find a niche, and be unique. You need to be the lone zebra in a stable of horses at the dude ranch. Guess which one everyone will want to ride. Be the zebra.
6) Make long-term plans, not short-term ones.
If you’ve committed yourself to something special, keep your eye on it. Make short-term adjustments, but focus on the big picture. It’s too easy to get distracted these days, so you need to be working towards long-term goals. Don’t waste energy on achieving short term goals. Everything should lead toward the end goal.
7) Work until you drop.
Once you’ve got a focus, a method, and a plan, you need to work it until you pass out. Don’t forget about your family, but do forget about long vacations, spa days, and “hanging around the house”. Tick, tock, tick, tock. You are getting older, the world is moving forward. Rest when you make it or you die.
8 ) Don’t be selfish.
You will need to give things, thoughts, and time away before you get anything in return. I’m not sure exactly why, other than people like nice people and are willing to help them in return.
Give, give, give.
9) Take your magic step.
If you will succeed, there will be one magic step only you will discover. The very nature of our world is that we cannot all have the same path, the same steps towards our dreams. You will need to take a unique step along the way, and it will be something that only you will find.
Call it magic or whatever you’d like, but you’ll need it and I can’t tell you what to look for.
It might be like the moment Bill Gates quit college to start Microsoft or when Mark Zuckerberg pushed send to share Facebook for the first time. We all have a step in life that we will need to take to achieve our dreams.
I just read Skip Weisman’s blog about the “Myth of Teamwork” and was impressed. Not because I think teamwork is a myth, but because it’s high time someone took a look at why teamwork isn’t successful many times.
It is because individual team members fail.
However, I think that Skip misses the fact that teamwork is more than just the actions associated with working as part of a team. It is a culture, a mindset, a way of working and winning together, not just as individuals.
But it does start with individuals.
The Problem of Teamwork in Certain Cultures
A teamwork mindset requires confidence in others. Continual failure by fellow team members creates a disincentive to rely on someone else, the very foundation of teamwork.
Therefore, for it to be effective, members of the team must do their work effectively and earn the trust of their peers. Otherwise, people resort to depending on themselves primarily (“it’s faster if I do it myself” mentality), a fatal blow not just to the concept of teamwork, but delegation and collaboration as well.
Organizations that hire great people and teach those great people to understand and trust each other, incubate more than just a teamwork culture.
They incubate success.
On the flip side, teamwork is a joke in organizations that hire sloppy people and then allow poor performance to continue, while at the same time preaching that people need to work together. The second part of teamwork is “work”, and it needs to be done well for teamwork to succeed. Otherwise, they’d be better off letting their few “All Stars” do the process or project themselves, rather than introducing broken cogs into the system.
I can’t count how many times leaders in organizations I’ve assisted have lost focus on cleaning up poor individual work performances, and have instead brought in consultants to help do fruitless team building exercises.
Without individual success, teamwork is indeed a waste of time.
One Idea for Team Building
We have to listen to our staff and actively seek their feedback. If your team is dysfunctional, it’s time to ask your team why. When dealing with team problems, I always start by interviewing everyone involved and asking what the problem is.
Nine times out of ten, they have the answer already figured out. They almost always know if they should trust their teammates to finish their part correctly, and encouraging them to “work together” is frustrating and pointless.
For true team building, leaders must hold their individual team members to a high standard first (build trust in performance), then help them see the excellence they each bring to a project (understanding). Only at that point will the handoffs be smooth, the communication open, and synergies will begin to appear.