Thank You!

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I enjoy coaching youth basketball and baseball.  Our basketball season ended suddenly (only the champs win their last game) last week.  I couldn’t shift gears fast enough at the end of the game to say what was most important.  I tried to encourage the kids, and that was important also.  But, this group of kids had worked and played particularly hard and they deserved to be told “thanks”.

I ended up sending an email later to the parents and the kids wrapping up the season and sharing the two words that kept going through my mind.  “Thank You!”  It may seem a little odd that I wanted to say thanks to all of them so badly (since I was the unpaid volunteer!) but lets face it.  We were all giving to each other in the relationships and the gift I was given was a lot of hard effort and commitment from players and parents.  What more could you ask for?  “Thank you” seems very appropriate.

How often though do we forget to really recognize those people who give so much to us?  In the moment at the end of the game it did not register with me.  It was only with a day of reflection that I realized how important it was to share my gratitude.   In business and life, it seems the chase is where the energy is spent.  When the end is accomplished, whether it is the end of a sports season, or the client who agrees to a contract, thank you is a very important part of our language.

Even more importantly, when we are successful do we recognize all the people that helped make for the success?  Not only do we need to thank the players and client, but also the parents and staff that made the experience a positive one for all involved.

In many service businesses there is a certain expectation as to the quality of service received, and people often do not feel it necessary to add a thank you for a good deed.   I know it should not work this way, but if you are one of these people, notice that the customers who show appreciation seem to get a little bit higher level of service.  This is easy to explain.  We all like to be around people who are kind and gracious…and level headed!

Do I think we should all walk around saying “thank you” just to make the world a nicer place?  Absolutely not.  “Thank you” is an expression of gratitude that needs to be sincere.  A “thank you” for the sake of thank you is not sincere, and should be meaningless.  I personally want to be able to recognize when thanks are due and immediately let the person know of my gratitude.

Even if it is just minutes after the final buzzer.

The Difference Between Boys and Men

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In February,  I had two daughters turn 21.  Last year, my other daughter turned 18.   All three are in various stages of their dating lives.  I realize I might have a little bit of influence, but mostly at this point it is up to the girls to make decisions about their lives that turn out to be good ones.  That statement is a mouthful because how many of us as adults have always made good decisions?  I think as an adult we have some ability to at least acknowledge the bad decisions and dissect where they went wrong.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to always recognize a bad decision before you make one?

When it comes to my daughters and their relationships, I came across this over the weekend.  The writer is unknown.  It is wisdom that I think comes across well in the written word instead of the dad lecture.  Maybe you will find value in this no matter if you are a Dad, Mom, or a Daughter.

When you start to have a relationship with a boy, you want him to act like a man.  If you are in a relationship with a man, you don’t want him to act like a boy.  What is the difference?

A boy will flatter you.  A man will compliment you.

A boy will spend money on you.  A man will invest in you.

A boy will view you as property.  A man will view you properly.

A boy will lust after you.   A man will love you.

A boy is someone  who believes he’s God’s gift to women.   A man  remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

I want my girls to look for and recognize the difference in a boy and a man.  I also want to teach my sons to be a man.   I realize that involves a lot more than being a good sportsman, or not being a slob.  Sometimes with boys we forget the important things when it involves girls.  Maybe this will help.


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Insights gained after a long weekend (chronologically-I enjoyed the time we spent together) with my older children, the ones we are actively working to get off the payroll.   I can see some problems that their generation may have in dealing with future employers who just so happen to be of their old man’s generation.  Of course, I am the only one who does not get it.   As I imagine the day they enter the world outside of the parental checkbook, I think they might want to consider that there are a lot more of me and my type out there, who will affect their future.

So, a few things that silly old Dad is a little concerned about as this generation (notice I am not picking specifically on my kids) enters the job market for the first time.

First comment- it is really expected that when a time is set involving other people, don’t leave those other people waiting.  Yes, they do have other things to do.

Responding to a request like, “will you be able to make dinner tonight,”  with a “I’ll try” really is not a great way to show your commitment to any person or activity.

Smart phones are amazing and a wonderful advancement in the world of staying in touch.   Leaving it laying on the table during dinner to vibrate every 3 minutes is noticed and considered annoying.

Stephen Stills wrote a song called “Love the One Your With.”  Look it up.  Before you check those tweets.

Occasionally it might be appropriate to communicate your schedule to others.

Don’t respond to anybody, anywhere, with the common “whatever”.  Understand it is very much considered, by those who will someday provide you the funds to allow you to eat, as an insult.  A wet slap in the face.  Wrong.  If you disagree, then find a way to voice your disagreement.  Don’t say “whatever.”

When you read this and you laugh at me for taking the time to share what the world you believe you are ready to enter is really like…know that I have titled this post appropriate to my level of self concern about your feelings.  I do want you to be successful and have all the best advantages the world has to offer.  You probably know all of this already.

I know one thing.  My parents sure got a lot smarter as I got older.  I think most do.





Moral Compass

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What can Penn State teach all of us that is relevant to our lives?  I think a very huge lesson.  We all share a knowledge of certain standards in society.  Certain standards trump others.  If you serve an institution, there is a group think that actions must be taken to protect that institution.  We have seen it many times with large corporations.  Now we are seeing it in a large academic community.  The moral compass was programmed to mix up south and north.  Working for a long time in a large institution may blur the lines between moral, legal and ethical.  Clearly, Penn State botched it on all three counts and certain administrators let their moral compass lead them to protect the institution first, and the children were overlooked.  Wrong…but happens frequently..just usually not involving children..thank God.

I suspect it is not easy to keep your moral compass synchronized in a large institution where many of your superiors have lost their moral direction.  It is easier to tell yourself you did your job reporting the wrong to your superiors.  At this point, if clearly people are being hurt, and you feel you have done what you need to do by letting the institution handle the matter, your compass has lost its synchronicity.

Our moral compass can easily be forgotten when it comes to moral and ethical direction and our employers.  Don’t stand by and assume you have done all you need to do.  Check your moral compass today and remember we have a higher calling than just protecting our institutions.  It appears that Penn State lost its way a long time ago.  I doubt if anyone had thought beyond protecting the institution that this scenario would have escalated and so many people harmed.

A moral compass.  Make sure yours is synchronized and guiding you in all you do.

Ask More Questions

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If six children and two dogs were under an umbrella, how come none of them got wet?

Common riddle.   We get them every day.  If somebody runs this one by you the likely response is I don’t know.

Why don’t we ask a few questions?  Why not ask more questions before giving your client’s a quick reply?  Seek to understand so that you are understood.  It is a basic Sales 101 lesson, yet we handle most interactions with our clients, co-workers, and family with a quick answer.  Not a question.

If you take the time to ask a question or two, the riddle above is easy.   When you do the same with people you are interacting with, chances are you will deepen your understanding of that person and their needs.

Basic stuff, but hard to do.  Phone calls to return, email screaming out of a screen at you, kids climbing up your leg.   Just try.  Your interactions with others are not a riddle telling moment.  Chances are the person asking is not communicating the real question and digging a little deeper will not only connect you better, but might save a headache later.

“Why are so many children crowding under one umbrella?”  “What do the dogs have to do with the question?’  “Where are they when this is happening?”

Why did they not get wet?  Because it wasn’t raining.