Category Archives: Employability Skills

Chris Judd’s Success Lessons

Gary RyanRetiring Australian Football League (AFL) legend Chris Judd has shared two key lessons for success in his recent speeches and newspaper article. Both lessons are not your run-of the-mill lessons. They are insightful and more importantly useful. Use them to help you stay on track on your journey toward more success and life balance.

Lesson 1 – None of us are Nostradamus

When quizzed about his decision to play again in the 2015 season, Judd was asked if it was the wrong decision. Here is his response:

Playing on this year had proved to be the wrong decision for the right reasons. By that, I meant that I hadn’t persevered for money, or for personal glory, but to help the club build a culture. I have some good memories from the second half of last season, and had hoped to solidify them. They were good reasons to play on. As it turns out, I was wrong. But none of us are Nostradamus. As long as you go about the process correctly, and your intentions are pure, even if you make a wrong decision, you can sleep at night. That’s how I feel now.

None of us are perfect. Occasionally you will make wrong decisions. As Robert Louis Flood stated, “The future is unknowable“. When your intentions are honourable, and it turns out that you made a wrong decision, so be it. Learn and move on.

Lesson 2 – Enjoy the good moments when they happen

When asked for his advice to current players, Judd replied:

I think one of the main things, if I had my time over again, is just to appreciate the good moments a little bit more. I was always so ambitious and focused on what was coming next that I probably didn’t recognise as much when something special had happened.

Jeffrey Hopkins, in his translation of the Dalai Lama’s ‘How to Practise – The way to a meaningful life‘ shares that too many people cause themselves suffering because they are not present in the moment. Rather, they are stuck in the past or already focused on the future.

You share this challenge. Remembering to live in the moment when you are doing something important is a critical trait to develop.

I recall that a good friend of mine shared some excellent advice with my wife and I prior to our wedding. He said, “I encourage you to take some time out during your celebrations. Just sit by yourselves on four or five occasions and take it all in. Commit the experience to memory. The sights, the sounds, the taste of your food and drink. You won’t regret it.”

We followed his advice and 18 years later we can both remember our wedding as if it were yesterday, as I can the birth of each of my five children and many other important events in my life as a result of practising this technique.

Taking the conscious time to be present in the moment is important for success because it provides you with the experience of success that you strive so hard to achieve. It is worth following Judd’s advice – enjoy the good moments when they happen.

Gary Ryan provided leadership development services to the Richmond Tigers in 2007 and 2009, and sat on the AFL Coaches Association Board of Management from 2009 to 2014.

 

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

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Quality Workplace Conversations Matter

Here’s a formula.

High quality conversations lead to high quality decisions, which lead to high quality actions and ultimately, high quality results and performance. The reverse is also true. Low quality conversations eventually lead to low quality results.

Achieving high quality results and performance are worth the effort to learn how to conduct high quality conversations.

Gary RyanThe point of leverage in this model is high quality conversations. But what is a high quality conversation?

Unfortunately you have experienced more than your fair share of low quality conversations. These are ones where you walk out of the meeting and think any one of the thoughts below:

  • “Wow, that was a complete waste of time”
  • “When will people finally start to listen around here?”
  • “Why does everyone have to make my life so difficult? Why won’t they listen to me?”
  • “There’s no point saying what you really think around here because no one is going to listen anyway!”

High quality conversations are more natural than you might think. Peter Senge, author of the Fifth Discipline states,

As far as I know, no indigenous culture has yet to be found that does not have the practice of sitting in a circle and talking.

For the ancient Greeks dia logos was the ‘flow of meaning’. It was the cornerstone of civic practice. The polis was the gathering space for conversation. The purpose for the dia logos was about enabling self-government to occur. This system was the birthplace of the western world.

As time has passed the practice of dia logos has diminished. When you converse in a workplace your purpose is no longer to consider what is best for the whole. Rather, your purpose is to win. You are a master of debate. I win. You lose.

Our modern word for dia logos is dialogue. When we dialogue our purpose is not to win. It is to discover what no individual could discover on their own and it is to discover what is the best solution for the whole, not the part.

Think about the conversations that you have at work, especially the ones where everyone in the room is ‘representing‘ a specific department or unit. What is the intent that each of you bring to those conversations? Is it to do what is best for the whole organisation, or is it to defend, protect and/or promote what is best for your department or unit?

The root cause of the lack of dialogue in organisations is the lack of the practice of dialogue itself. Quite simply, well-educated and/or experienced people don’t know how to dialogue. The reverse is true. They know how to debate. It is little wonder that debate rules, but the overuse of debate lowers the overall quality of your conversations.

Debate is not bad. In fact a form of debate (known as ‘opposing’) is encouraged in the practice of dialogue. The issue with debating is that it is overused. Our conversations are out of balance. We require more use of dialogue to improve the quality of our conversations.

The solution is to learn dialogue together. The beauty of the learning process is that you can practice dialogue, while learning it, on real organisational issues.

In the foreword to William Isaacs’s book, ‘Dialogue and the art of thinking together‘, Peter Senge highlights that,

In almost every setting where practices of dialogue have become embedded and part of everyday routines, the ensuing changes have become irreversible, as near as I can tell.

The projects to which Senge was referring involved practical people such as line managers, executives and staff from mostly Fortune 500 companies. The improvements were clear. Improving the quality of work-place conversations improve performance.

The effort is worth it. Higher quality conversations lead to higher quality decisions which lead to higher quality actions and ultimately higher quality results and performance. Results and performance matter and so does improving the quality of conversations in your organisation.

What actions are you taking to improve the quality of conversations at your work-place?

 

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

If you would like to learn more about learning how to Dialogue, contact Gary here.

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Gallup Research: How To Increase Employee Engagement

The most recent Gallup research (conducted in the USA) on manager effectiveness has shown that seven out of ten managers are directly reducing rather than increasing employee motivation and engagement. If you are a manager, then this means that you have a 30 percent chance of being an effective manager, and a 70 percent chance that you are an ineffective one. Which one are you?

Gary RyanThe report highlights that effective, engaging managers result in a, “48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.” How do your numbers compare with these?

The evidence is overwhelming. Closing the gap between ineffective and effective management matters!

What is it that effective managers do that makes such a big difference?

Firstly, they are talented. Gallup defines talent as, “… the natural capacity for excellence. People can learn skills, develop knowledge and gain experience, but they can’t acquire talent — its innate. When individuals have the right talent for their role, they’re energized by their work, rarely thinking of it as “work” at all.”

The skills required for effective management and leadership are specific. They include being able to listen, to communicate effectively, to have foresight, to be able to find employee strengths, to be able to paint a picture of success and more. Identifying people with the talent to manage is just as important as identifying people with the right talent for any job.

Next, talent is grown and not promoted. Promoting people into roles beyond their competence is one of the greatest flaws that contribute to the generally poor performance of managers. Just because someone is good at their frontline role doesn’t mean they will make a great manager. Yet that is exactly the practice that exists today. How are people promoted into management roles in your organisation?

Gallup recommends that people be paid for their performance, not their job title. This means that an employee could be paid more than their manager. Place the right talent into the right roles and pay them for their value, not their title. For most companies, this will require a structural change to how they manage their pay scales. Are people paid for the value or their title in your organisation?

Manager’s themselves need to continually improve and to further develop their strengths. Too many managers have limited opportunity to improve their management skills once they become managers, which decreases their own engagement, the ripple effect of which is to further decrease the engagement of their direct reports. Lower engagement leads to lower productivity and lower profits. Clearly this is madness, yet this vicious cycle continues to thrive.

How can these issues be resolved? Fortunately, there is a solution.

Servant Leadership is a management and leadership style that addresses these issues. Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, shares in her book Dare To Serve the power of Servant Leadership and how it has driven the company’s turn-around since 2007 (it’s share price has risen from $12 to over $56 – how happy do you think its shareholders are about this improvement!). A clear and deliberate cultural shift to practice Servant Leadership, including changing systems and processes to make sure they are aligned with the principles and practices of Servant Leadership has driven their performance improvements.

The test for effective Servant Leadership focuses on the growth of the people you are serving.  Gallup’s recent research identifies that growing talent is what matters. Servant Leaders take action to help the people they are serving grow. The results; increased engagement, productivity and profits!

Existing management practices are not working. Companies and organisations need to adopt a completely different approach to how management roles are executed. Servant Leadership is the answer. It results in more engaged employees and customers and increases profitability. Who doesn’t want those outcomes! Make the decision today to change your management practices for the better.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good

If you would like to learn more about Servant Leadership, contact Gary here.

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This is what we should be doing!

My eldest child Liam is a teenager and loves his Australian Rules Football and his cricket. He is on an Australian Football League (AFL) Pathway program and he played representative cricket last summer. While he loves both sports he has said that his personal goals are to be the best that he can be so that he can (at the very least) enjoy his sport at the local level.

Gary RyanEver since he has been exposed to a higher standard of training it has opened his eyes to how low the standard is at his local team. This isn’t a criticism it is just a fact.

He has come to realise that if he hadn’t been exposed to a higher standard he would have continued to think that his effort at his local team was at a high standard. He wants his local team-mates to raise their standard and is frustrated by the fact that he knows that they think that they are already training with a high level of effort. He doesn’t blame them for thinking that way because he used to think that way too. They simply don’t know anything different.

He has a dilemma. How can he help his team-mates to ‘see‘ the gap that he has seen without looking like a know-it-all!

Unbeknown to me he has executed a plan. You see, as part of his own development he has “run water” for the past two seasons with our local Under 19 team who play in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA). His perspective is that by being involved with the older boys he is continuing to be exposed to a higher standard of effort. His plan has been to continue to invite his team-mates to come and help him run water with the intention being that by doing so they will be exposed to the higher standard of effort and have the opportunity to see first-hand the gap with his underage team.

Last weekend, for the very first time, one of his team-mates took up the offer. At the end of the warm up his team-mate came over to Liam and said, “Wow, did you see the standard of their warm-up? This is what we should be doing too!”

Bam! Liam smiled and agreed.

His plan had worked and it only took exposing his team-mate to the Under 19 team’s warm-up before their game for the gap to be ‘seen’ for the first time.

This example is relevant well beyond junior football. If you have team members who are performing at a low standard, it may be that they have never seen what a high standard actually looks like. Finding ways to expose them to that higher standard is a leadership challenge. It can be a slow journey, but one by one you can change a standard and a culture by exposing people to a higher standard, having them ‘see‘ the gap and then challenging and coaching them to ‘bring‘ that standard to their normal work.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good

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What every employee needs to know (but most don’t!)

If you wish to be successful in your role there are two critical questions that you need answered:

  1. What is my role?
  2. How do I know that I am doing a good job?

Gary RyanKnowing the answer to the first question is not enough. You also need to know the answer to the second question. The performance of your role may be measured in many ways and if you aren’t addressing the measures that matter to your employer, you will be judged as a non-performer.

The reverse is also true. If you are a manager one of your roles is to make sure that your team members are clear about their role and are clear about how they will be judged for doing a good job. If your team members aren’t clear about the answers to both of these questions, chances are they will be doing unproductive work. And that reflects poorly on you.

How well do you understand your role and are you clear about what you need to do to be sure that you are doing a good job? If you are not clear about the answers to these questions go and find the answers now. Success in your role depends on it.

Gary Ryan helps talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good.

 

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What to do when your colleagues are annoying you

Whenever we have a meeting the table is always shaking. John seems unable to stop his leg from jittering.

Mary never puts her coffee cup away after she washes it. She leaves it on the sink for someone else to put it away. It’s so annoying!

Hun mumbles every time he speaks. I really can’t understand him. I wish he’d speak more clearly.

Every Monday morning Janet wants to tell me about the weekend achievements and dramas of her three children. When will she understand that I’m really not that interested!

Yes For Success, Life balance, plan for personal success, Gary Ryan, Organisations That MatterNo doubt you have these thoughts and feelings from time to time about your colleagues. Working with and getting along with other people is not always easy. Sometimes it is downright difficult. In fact, sometime these annoying behaviours can really drive you crazy!

Your challenge is when these little things become your focus. After a while it is all that you can see these people doing and that means that eventually you see the person as being 100% annoying. When this happens it is difficult to stay a high performing team. Group dynamics have a direct impact on team performance and your attitude toward your colleagues impacts team dynamics.

What can you do if you find yourself in this situation?

Success Magazine founder and editor Darren Hardy has a suggestion for your personal relationships when they start to become annoying and his strategy is just as useful for workplace relationships.

Use a notebook and write your colleague’s name at the top of the notebook. Each day for a month find something good about that person to write in your notebook. Train yourself to see the good things they do. Your list can contain work tasks that they do well or other contributions that they may be making around the office. As you add notes to your list, run your eye over the entire list.

Soon their ‘annoying’ behaviour won’t be all that you see when you look at this person. Your focus will have changed.

Taking this action won’t change the person’s annoying behaviour. Rather, it will help you to see that they are not 100% bad. In fact you’ll likely see more good than you have ever previously noticed. Your new insights about them will change your behaviour toward them. They will react positively to your behaviour and your workplace relationship and dynamics will improve. Most importantly you’ll be able to continue to work as a high performing team.

If you don’t believe that this strategy works then give it a go. My bet is that after only one week you will notice improvements in your workplace dynamics.

 

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

How to resolve issues caused by customers

When you raise the standards of customer service in your organisation, customer expectations also rise. This is in the context that your customers will expect your service or product to be provided at least at the same level as their most recent experience.

Fluctuating service levels equals poor service. Your performance will always be judged by your customer’s most recent experience versus the expectation they have of your service or product. It is not possible to deliver great service if your organisation is not set up to provide great service every time.

Gary Ryan, Organisations That Matter, Yes For SuccessIn order to provide consistent service experiences for your customers you need to balance the passion of your staff with the systems and processes that you have in place to support your staff.

Service recovery is what you do to correct a mistake and/or when your customers perceives that you have made a mistake (up to 33% of customer complaints are caused by the customer!). If you don’t have a service recovery system then your staff will either do nothing to resolve the error or they will make it up on the spot. The latter approach may resolve the problem but the next time the same customer experiences a service problem a different staff member may not do anything to resolve the problem. The result – fluctuating service levels!

The flip side of this example is to have a system that is so rigid that your staff have to follow a procedure even when they recognise it isn’t appropriate for the situation. When your meal arrives late at a restaurant you want an apology and a ‘fair’ offer to repair the poor service you have just experienced. You don’t want a pen (yes this is what happens when management misunderstands the principles of service recovery; a pen is offered as a fair ‘fix’ when a meal arrives late!).

Your systems and processes need to support your staff. Your staff should have a range of options at their disposal so that they can determine the fairest choices to offer their customers. By ‘choices’ I mean that from a service recovery perspective a customer should be given the power to select the fairest option from their perspective to resolve the problem. When you have a system like this in operation your staff can use their passion for service excellence to select (from their secret menu that is known to the staff) three options that are suitable for the situation. If the customer doesn’t like any of the options then your staff member can add items to the list of choices. The customer remains in control of the selection of what is fair within well thought out parameters set by the organisation. A system such as this supports the passion of your staff in creating great customer experiences.

My point is that if you don’t have these types of systems in place then your staff are left to their own devices and your service is guaranteed to fluctuate. Why? You will always have some issues that your customers have created. Remember, one third of customer complaints are caused by your customer. When you have a service recovery system that is designed to support your staff and you understand that customers get things wrong too, then you and your staff won’t freak out when a customer makes a mistake. Instead your staff will help them to resolve their issue in a way that both corrects the issue and allows your customers to save face in the process.

Likewise when your staff make a mistake they won’t freak out either. Instead, they will use the system that is set up to support them to resolve the issue in a fair way that improves your customer’s experience. An interesting anecdote is that resolving customer issues/complaints actually increases customer loyalty. Who wouldn’t want that outcome!

Quote from a research participant

It really annoys me when I know that the level of service that I receive is 100% dependent upon the person who serves me. Jill is great, but the rest of them just don’t stack up to her standards. As soon as I get another realistic choice, I’m going to try another company.

How do you balance human passion with systems and processes?

Gary Ryan has led multiple award winning teams for service excellence and was awarded the honorary title of Senior Assessor for the Customer Service Institute of Australia in 2006.

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

Community sport provides an opportunity to counter global unrest

The recent arrests here in Australia about alleged threats to randomly kidnap and publicly murder an Australian member of the public has certainly brought the reality of the conflict in the Middle East to our shores. The issues and problems involved are unbelievably complex. So complex that it is easy to feel like there is nothing you can do to improve world relations.

I disagree. I believe that we can make a difference one person, one relationship at a time. And community sport is a terrific vehicle to make that difference.

iStock_000009528668MediumI have been involved in community sport for a long time. I have been a senior coach of Australian Rules Football in suburban Melbourne, I coach an Under 15 Boys cricket side for the Oakleigh Cricket Club and I have been heavily involved in assisting and supporting the coaches for my eldest son’s local junior football team. My four eldest children are all involved in sport including basketball, hockey, gymnastics, school aerobics, cricket and Australia Rules Football.

The beauty of sport is that it brings people from different cultures together. This year we had three boys of the Muslim faith play in our premiership winning Under 14 football team. One of the boys is of Afghani decent and the other two boys are of Malaysian decent. They are three of the happiest boys I have ever had the pleasure to meet and are very popular with their team mates. Their families adhere to their faith and are wonderful people. It has been a pleasure to witness how the other boys in the team have supported their Muslim team mates throughout Ramadan. The boys play and have fun together. They are one. Their differences in faith is meaningless. They love and respect each other.

This year we have a boy of Chinese decent joining our cricket club. He has never played cricket before and his family have never had anything to do with cricket. They are on a steep learning curve. But so are we. As they are learning about cricket culture we are learning about their culture. Everyone is winning and everyone is learning how to see each other as equal human beings irrespective of our religious and cultural differences.

I remember when I was a senior football coach for the Monash Gryphons in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA). One of our team members was a student from Thailand and another was from Russia. Both boys were extremely popular because of their willingness to give our sport a go. But it was more than that. Everyone else at the club benefitted from Ott and Igor sharing their perspective on the world too. Once again we were all able to see each other as equals despite our differences.

It seems to me that the capacity to randomly murder another human being is in part born in not being able to ‘see’ that person as an equal human being. Therefore, any activities, whether they be through sport or in classrooms at school and university, where we have the opportunity to build relationships with fellow human beings who are different to ourselves ought to be where we focus our energy. If we can’t build relationships and tolerate the differences of people within our own communities, how are we going to have any real impact on the world stage?

The constant media reports that link people of the Muslim faith to terrorism have catalysed interesting conversations around our family dinner table. My children are friends with Muslims. They play sport together. My children know that their friends and families are not and will never be terrorists. My children express their concerns to me that only a very, very, very small number of Muslims are terrorists. They point out that people of other faiths are also terrorists. Despite the complexities of this topic I do feel more at ease when we have these family conversations. I am pleased that my children are friends with children of different faiths and different cultures. I am pleased that my children are exposed to their friends showing a commitment to their faith.  It is the challenge to create a society where our differences are not a difference that gives me faith that we can make the world a better place. Community sport is the perfect vehicle to facilitate that reality.

 

 Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

Leadership Insights Series Interview

Gary Ryan will interview his guest Ian Harvey, Co-Founder of FutureFit Studios. Ian has been State Manager for one of Australia’s largest health club chains and has put his lifelong dream into action by sacrificing literally everything to create a new model for health clubs for the industry.

FUTURE-FIT-LOGO-FINALIn a bold move FutureFit’s membership system is not based purely on time or ongoing contracts. Instead the membership system is based on … you’ll have to join us to find out!

Ian will also be sharing a further seven ‘Points of Difference’ that his new model contains compared to the existing Health Club offerings.

Upon registration you have the opportunity to submit a question that you would like Gary to ask Ian during the webinar.

Seats are limited so please register now!

Date: Thursday 9th October 1pm – 2pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time)

 Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

Five Business Lessons From Community Volunteers

If you are leading a business and want to know how to provide great service, then read on and learn how a team of volunteers from the Montrose Football Club who play in Division 1 of the Eastern Football league provided an experience that the USA Revolution will never forget. This story will teach you about the power of creating a shared vision, the preparedness to tap into the special skills that people bring to their work and the willingness to work with competitors to create a service that produced mutual benefits for all involved. What business wouldn’t like to learn these lessons!

Gary RyanThe AFL International Cup (AFLIC14) has recently concluded with Papua New Guinea defeating Ireland in an exciting and dramatic game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

18 countries competed over 13 days in both mens and women’s competitions. Every player had to be a citizen of their country so no ex-pat Australians were included in their teams. This was truly an international competition.

In a stroke of genius the third round of the competition saw local teams throughout Melbourne host teams involved in the AFL International Cup, culminating in the Community Round where AFLIC14 games were held as the curtain raiser to the ‘main local game’.

My twin brother Denis Ryan is both the President of USAFL and the mid-field coach for the USA Revolution (the men’s team).

Montrose Football Club, who compete in the Eastern Football League were assigned as hosts for the USA Revolution. The “Revos” (as they call themselves) travelled to Montrose to train with them on Thursday 14th August before their game versus the New Zealand Hawks on Saturday 16th August.

The USA Revolution squad, coaches and support staff were ‘blown away’ by the hospitality shown by Montrose Chairman Rob Ewart, Senior President Tony Eastwood and their dedicated Sub-Committee that was led by Rod Buncle and Terry Dean as well as their band of merry helpers. While the USA Revolution were hoping for a ‘good’ experience from the Community Round, what they received was better than any of them could have imagined.

Lesson #1 Identify mutual benefits

Like most success stories the real work started many months ago when the EFL sent out an expression of interest to all its clubs about applying to become a ‘host’ for one of the games. Senior Club President Tony Eastwood saw the opportunity as one that would enable Montrose to take significant steps toward bringing its vision of being, “Seen as a quality EFL Division 1 club” into reality. He immediately contacted his Blackburn Football Club counterpart and discussed the possibility of putting in a joint expression of interest with Montrose to host the USA Revolution and Blackburn to host the New Zealand Hawks.

While fierce competitors on the field, the Montrose and Blackburn Football Clubs understand that they both have a responsibility to grow the game and to set high behavioural standards for their members, players and communities. The clubs play off for the One Punch Cup which is a game where they raise awareness about the dangers and injuries that arise from nightclub fights. (Kyle Matthews was playing for the Casey Scorpions as an up and coming VFL star. He was punched in a fight at a nightclub, fell and hit his head causing serious head injuries. Kyle has an association with the Blackburn Football Club and his best friend plays at Montrose)

Leveraging the success of working together on the One Punch Cup the two clubs’ application to the EFL was accepted and the third round game of the AFLIC14 was scheduled to be played at Montrose.

Lesson #2 Give talented people the autonomy to use their talent

Gary RyanTerry Dean and Rod Buncle quickly formed a sub-committee to make sure that the day was a success. They worked with their team including Jenny McArdle, Kerry Schilling and members from the Montrose Coterie Group to make sure that the day was a special event for everyone. Using his corporate skills, Rod created a very detailed schedule of events that also included a link to the AFL’s vision for the community round. This ensured that everyone involved in hosting the event, which was upwards of 35 people, knew exactly what they had to do and when to do it. This is an example of letting good people use their talents and skills in the service of a vision that truly is shared.

Lesson #3 Identify, develop and share your vision of success

The Montrose and Blackburn Football clubs wanted to make sure that members from both teams had an experience that showed them what playing community football in Australia was really like. As a result of their research they became aware that the Revolution players rarely played at anything other than make-shift fields, and most often got changed out of the back of cars or in tents.

In light of this understanding, Rod, Terry and their team went to extraordinary lengths to create the experience that the international players would never have imagined. They approached the EFL and requested that the football Record for the EFL 17th round be designed to feature the USA Revolution and New Zealand Hawks teams. The EFL accepted the request and ensured that both the cover of the record and the middle pages were dedicated to the AFLIC14 game. This is an example of ‘managing up’. Through Rod and Terry’s influence the EFL was able to see how they too would benefit from helping to showcase the AFLIC14 game (they also provided 250 extra copies of the record at no charge!).

The Revolution squad members, coaches and support staff were all provided with a ‘showbag’ that included a membership to the Montrose Football Club, a miniature Montrose Football and a Montrose club cap. In addition, each locker in the changeroom was adorned with information about one of the USA players including their jumper number, name and other details. This information also adorned the walls of the social rooms. Rod and Terry explained that they had done this so that not only would the Revolution players feel at home (and have a real experience of having their name on a club locker), but it would also make it easier for the Montrose players, committee and supporters to engage with them and use their names.

It is this level of thinking that drives high performance. To bother to find a way to help their own community to engage with the Revolution players on a personal level is exactly what high performing organisations do.

Daniel Pink in his book Drive describes ‘Purpose’ as one of the three key elements for creating engaged and self motivated employees. This story highlights the power of a purpose that really matters to people. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Why else would all the volunteers from the Montrose and Blackburn football clubs go to such lengths to create the experience that they provided for the Revolution and Hawks players? The question for you is, “How do you create a sense of purpose for your employees? One that will genuinely engage them and enable them to use all of their talents in the service of that purpose.”

Lesson #4 Connect with all your stakeholders

Gary RyanA lasting memory for me is the image of the USA Revolution players leaving the field at the end of their game clapping the Montrose community as a sign of their appreciation for their support. In unison the Montrose community clapped them back. It was a pure moment that was about Australian Rules Football and the (now) international role that local clubs are playing in helping to take the game beyond Australian shores.

More than 1,500 people attended the game including many local residents who hadn’t been to a game (This game would normally attract about 600 people). As an introduction to the club they could not have had a better experience. The term “win/win” is thrown around a lot these days but on this occasion the Montrose and Blackburn football clubs did themselves proud and could not have been better hosts for our international guests.

This entire story was driven by volunteers, all of whom have busy lives. The success they created was because of the power of sharing a vision that was bigger than any person, allowing talented people to work together for the common good, and through understanding the expectations of the community they were serving and doing everything possible within their limited resources to exceed those expectations.

No doubt a lot of hard work went in to hosting the event. No success comes without hard work. No doubt you work hard too. But you might not be getting the success you desire. If not, re-read this article and pick out the many lessons that will help you and your team achieve the type of excellence that the Montrose and Blackburn football clubs provided the USA Revolution and New Zealand Hawks Respectively.

 Lesson #5 Great service builds lasting relationships

As an anecdote to this story several Revolution players have already commenced talks with Montrose to come out and play with them in 2015. Montrose views this as an opportunity to strengthen their ties with USAFL and are eager to build on their AFLIC14 experience.

 

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.