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Friday, December 18, 2009


Derek Jeter - Sports Illustrated's 2009 Sportsman of the Year

Even if you know little about the sport of baseball, this story is well worth reading for many reasons:

'Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees captained the U.S. team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, after which MLB commissioner Bud Selig sent him a letter of thanks in which he called him "Major League Baseball's foremost champion and ambassador."

"You embody all the best of Major League Baseball," Selig wrote in the March 30 letter. "As I mentioned to you in our recent telephone conversation, you have represented the sport magnificently throughout your Hall of Fame career. On and off the field, you are a man of great integrity, and you have my admiration."

For those achievements, but most especially for the principled, selfless manner in which he earned them, Jeter is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's 2009 Sportsman of the Year. He is the first Yankee to win the award in its 56-year history and only the third baseball player in the past 34 years to win the award alone, joining Orel Hershiser (1988) and Cal Ripken Jr. (1995).

Jeter is an anachronism if you believe that manners and humility, the pillars of sportsmanship, are losing ground in an increasingly stat-obsessed, self-absorbed sporting culture in which the simple act of making a tackle, dunking a basketball or getting a base hit calls for some burlesque act of celebration, a marking of territory for individual purpose. Jeter is the unadorned star, and not only in the literal sense in that he is free of tattoos, piercings, cussing, posses and the other clich├ęs of the big-time-jock starter kit. The actress Kim Basinger once captured the essence of Jeter as well as any scout, telling SI in 1999, "He's a hunk, and I don't even like that word. Women like guys who have a big presence but sort of play it down. It's very appealing."

Such uncalculating humility, alloyed to his formidable skills, is the same attribute that makes Jeter so appealing to teammates and foes alike.

Jeter's rare gift as a superstar athlete is that he doesn't so much inspire awe as he engenders comfort. To be around Jeter is to truly believe that things are going to turn out well, whether you are a fan who still wants to believe in the inspirational quality of sports and the people who play them, or a Yankee who wants to believe there is some way back from three runs down, five outs from elimination, against Pedro Martinez in his prime.

"Everything he does has such a grace about it," Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane says. "Even now, this last postseason, people would say to me, 'You must be rooting against the Yankees.' But you know, maybe because of Jeter, the Yankees know how to win. It's not an act. The Yankees' brand name in this era is that it is Jeter's era. It's similar to what DiMaggio was in his era."

Eight years ago, to his recollection, Beane watched Jeter run out a routine ground ball to shortstop in the late innings of a routine game in which the Athletics were beating the Yankees. Jeter ran down the first base line in 4.1 seconds, a time only possible with an all-out effort. Beane was so impressed by the sprint that he ordered his staff to show the video of that play to all of the organisation's players in spring training the following year.

"Here you have one of the best players in the game," Beane says, "who already had made his money and had his four championships by then, and he's down three runs in the seventh inning running like that. It was a way of showing our guys, 'You think you're running hard, until you see a champion and a Hall of Famer run.' It wasn't that our guys were dogging it, but this is different. If Derek Jeter can run all out all the time, everybody else better personally ask themselves why they can't."

Told the story, Jeter says, "It makes you feel good whenever anybody appreciates how you do things. My whole thing is, you're only playing for three hours a day. The least you can do is play hard. You have what, four or five at bats? O.K., it's not difficult to run, to give it a hundred percent. It's effort. You don't have to have talent for effort."

The idea of Jeter as a template stretches beyond 90 feet. He is a role model not only for how to play baseball but also for how to remain atop the wobbly pedestal of fame. '

For more, see - http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1163403/index.htm

Suggestions on How to Develop Positive Children

The latest research in neuroscience and positive psychology demonstrates that we can mold our brains and ourselves to be more positive. Simple strategies and daily rituals can make a tremendous impact on our mindset, belief system and outlook on life.

We believe that positive children become positive adults and as parents we can play a significant role in shaping our children’s perspective and mindset. In this spirit we would like to share with you several tips to develop positive young people:

1. Success of the Day - Each night before bed, at dinner or while taking an after dinner walk ask your children their success of the day. The success could be a great conversation, an accomplishment at school, something they are proud of, a situation where they helped someone, etc. The important thing is to help them focus on accomplishments instead of failures. When we help our children expect success, look for success, and celebrate success they find more success and gain more confidence. Of course they need to learn from their mistakes and failures, but let’s help them to not dwell on them.

2. Bedtime Prayer - A ritual such as this provides your children with a foundation of peace, security, and confidence that gives them the strength to take on the daily challenges of being a child.

3. Implement the No Complaining Rule - It’s a simple rule that says you’re not allowed to complain unless you identify one or two possible solutions to your complaint. This empowers children to become self directed learners and self starters. They also learn to use complaints as a catalyst for positive change and positive action.

4. Teach them that we can’t control the events in our life, but we can control our positive response to these events and our response determines the outcome. This helps children develop a strong locus of control which is a perspective that through their beliefs and actions they have an influence on their life. They come to believe that they are not a victim of circumstance but rather a hero in their own inspirational tale and that they can turn their challenges into opportunities and transform bad events into good outcomes. This helps them stay optimistic and believe that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.

5. Feel Blessed instead of Stressed - As parents we need to realise that children, like adults, deal with a lot of stress...and stress is the enemy of positivity. Well, the great news is that when you are feeling blessed you can’t be stressed. The research says we can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Thus, a simple ritual is to help your children identify 3 things they are thankful for each day. You can create a gratitude journal together or you can encourage them to write these blessings on their blog, diary or simply talk about them at dinner. And anytime they are feeling stressed you can encourage them to recall something they are thankful for.

Think of your child’s mind like a garden. Each day you want to help them weed their negative thoughts and plant positive thoughts. One day of weeding and planting won’t do much. However if you practice these strategies each day, over a week, a month, a year, a lifetime, the garden grows more healthy and vibrant. Nurture your child. Take time to coach them and nourish them with lots of love and positive energy and you shall see the fruits of your efforts. Stay Positive!

Moving into a Leadership Role

Moving to a leadership rather than management style for frontline managers is one that requires significant top down support. This enables the behaviour change that is required for them to succeed.

What are the keys to making this transition:

1.Prepare yourself

Analyse what’s working and what isn’t in your leadership of your team. When you are clear on what needs to stay you can look at replacing unprofitable tasks, like spending too long on administration and email, with effective frontline leadership activity.

2.Develop a critical behaviour checklist

When you pay attention to the activity of your top performers, you will notice there is a theme to how they continually do better than your average performers. Remarkably this often comes down to consistency of critical work behaviours. While average performers may show these behaviours sometimes, high performers use them consistently.

3.Coaching – more than managing by results

Many frontline managers may look at this point and think they have this under control. Look again. How are you coaching? Is it on a results basis? If it is you need to rethink your coaching approach. Coaching that is effective for your average performer must be behavioural based. Coach and reinforce the critical work behaviours consistently.

4.Balanced feedback

Look at how you are giving your feedback. If you are like the majority of managers your feedback will likely contain equal doses of both corrective and positive feedback. If you can switch that ratio to be more strongly focussed on using positive feedback to reinforce the critical work behaviours you are trying to instil, you will create much more success for both your people and for yourself.

5.Practice, practice, practice

Research shows that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. Therefore, if you practice at anything you will get better. Frontline leadership skills are no different. Consistency is the key to success. Keep at this day in and day out and you will quickly build high levels of trust, employee engagement and performance in your team.