I would be greatly remiss (and probably lose a lot of friends here in Maryland) if I did not mention the fabulous Baltimore Ravens in this month’s Musings. Football has never been a huge draw for me, but one would have to be living the life of a Chesapeake Bay oyster not to have been caught up in the excitement of the Super Bowl. As we (see how quickly I align with my fellow fans?) prepared for Sunday’s showdown with the 49ers, I noticed some key components of the buildup to the biggest day of the year for football. What is interesting is that these same essential ingredients are also present in the successful professional endeavors in which I support clients, as their executive coach.
Anticipation is the first and most obvious part of the buildup. Yes, there is the physical preparation that the Ravens worked so hard on; months of training, drills, strength training, nutrition, physical therapy, practice and more practice. There is also the anticipation by the players and fans of plenty of action, highs and lows, thrills and excitement on the playing field (and in the bars and parties on Super Bowl Sunday). Perhaps a friendly wager with family and friends added to the buzz of anticipation (although my friend in San Francisco never put money on the table…perhaps a wise move in retrospect).
Attitude is a second big part of the buildup. One of the things I like about the Ravens is the can-do attitude they exude. It is a combination of positive thinking and a winning mindset, laced with fierce never-say-die determination. While I don’t have any personal friendships with Ravens players and coaches, they seem very human and approachable. Their attitude mirrors that which you find in most Baltimore folks: scrappy, down-to-earth, humble, hardworking. And, one can’t help but smile at the palpable purple pride here in Ravens’ country.
The third component, which I think is sometimes overlooked, is appreciation. It is reciprocal; the players seem to really appreciate the fans and that engenders great devotion from fans young and old. The Ravens are visible and active in our community. They give their time, talent and treasure to support local charities and causes. Great P.R. moves? Yes, and the players truly seem to enjoy giving back the love they feel from the community. We are proud of our soaring Ravens; we appreciate the chance to cheer for a team that has brought Baltimore not just the national spotlight, but a reason to come together as a city.
How do you see anticipation, attitude and appreciation playing out in your organization? Are these seen as positive (or negative?) factors impacting your mission and vision? How might you, as a leader, strengthen each of these components? If I can support you in exploring these questions, please call. And, congratulations to the Ravens *and* the 49ers for an awesome game.
Sharon Keys Seal