Leadership Experiences – What a Trip to a Football Game Taught Me About Managing People

I love football. I love the team component and how teams must work together to succeed. I also like the individual player side of the sport. Football demands that each athlete continue to improve their own individual performance. As far as individual performers there was none better than Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.

After having much success on the field, Michael Irvin has now gone on to fame as an announcer and football analyst with the NFL network.

I took my son to a Thursday night game in which the NFL network was broadcasting. As the game concluded, Michael Irvin made onto the sideline to prepare for the after game analysis. Then with 1:53 left in the game Michael Irvin did the unexpected and the unanticipated. He noticed a few fathers and sons in the front row of the stands. He wanted to thank us for bringing our sons to the game and encourage us to continue to be great fathers. So he found a box and climb into the stands to take pictures with our sons and us. You can see his tweet here.

This unexpected experience taught me a few great reminders about leadership.

What Super Bowl Champion Michael Irvin Taught Me About Leadership: 

 1. The Best Leaders Look into the Stands

Michael Irvin was paid to do a job. He was there to announce the game. No one would have thought less of him had he just focused on the job that he to complete. Leaders’ always have tasks to complete. What separates the good leaders from the great leaders is that great leaders’ take to look into the stands to see they can encourage and help. They focus on people while they are completing their tasks and responsibilities.

Coaching Question: When is the last time that you noticed someone in your organization in an unexpected and rememberable way? 

2. Great Leaders Encourage what They Want to be Replicated

Michael Irvin was on a mission. He has a passion to encourage fathers’ to be great dads. He understands the value of fathers. If you look through his Twitter page, you can see that he has hundreds of pictures with fathers and their sons. To this is a personal mission. He understands that he must encourage what he values. All leaders’ are on a mission. They have a vision of what they want to see accomplished. Therefore, they need to take time out of their schedule to encourage what they what repeated. The encouragement of leader can make the difference in the life of their followers.

Coaching Question: Would your team say that you are a good encourager?

3. Good Leaders Go the Second Mile

Michael Irvin made his action unforgettable by pausing to take a picture. He could have just paused to give a word of encouragement. Michael went a step further. He went the second mile. He took pictures and put those pictures on his twitter feed. This behavior is a great lesson for every leader to learn. Great leaders’ go the second mile with their people. They do the unexpected and the unanticipated.

Coaching Question: How could you make your interactions with your people an experience?

Tonight a new Super Bowl Champion team will be crowned. Michael Irvin will always be a Super Bowl Champion, and this short interaction shows why he is also a champion in life. This interaction took all of about 3 minutes of his time, but the impact is something that and my son will always remember. What is interesting is that every leader has the same power to make an impact in the lives of the people that follow them. Maybe, every leader can be someone’s Super Bowl Champion.

Develop a Second Mile Mentality – Biblical Principles to Build a Business

Business leaders often wonder where they can find the best business advice and counsel in order to build their business. Although good business counsel can be found in a plethora of books, there is only one book that contains all of the best business secrets that business leaders need to know to build a successful business and life. That sacred book is the Bible. I have studied the Bible for years and have often read the words for encouragement, consolation, improvement, and inspiration.

Biblical Principles to Build a Successful Business

A principle that helpful in building a life and building a business is going the second mile. Good businesses develop a second-mile mentality. Jesus himself gives this principle in Matthew 5:41. The New Century Version records the statement as, “If someone forces you to go with him one mile, go with him two miles.”

Jesus gives this principle to his followers as a way of separating themselves from the culture in which they were living for the purpose of helping others to see Him more clearly. In business, we also have the need to separate ourselves so that others can see our business more clearly. Every business would be wise to cultivate a second-mile mentality throughout their business.

Too many businesses are expecting second-mile results without giving second-mile service. Ken Gosnell

How To Develop a Second Mile Mentality:

1. Businesses That Practice Second Mile Service Find Unexpected Solutions

Second-mile service inspires people to find solutions for the customers that both please the customer and serves in the best interest of the business. Customer service is really customer creativity. Every company should free their people to solve the problems that their customers face. Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy in a Harvard Business Review article write of the importance of empowering all employees. They write, “Frontline workers not only see service breakdowns but also opportunities for serving customers in entirely new ways. Teaching frontline leaders the basics designing simple experiments enables organizations to test many more ideas than could ever be orchestrated centrally.” Great companies empower all employees to solve all the problems that all their customers might experience.

Experience Question: Have you ever been surprised by how your employees have solved a customer issue?

2. Businesses That Practice Second Mile Service Show Unexpected Sympathy

Great businesses listen to their customers. They genuinely care about their customers and want to solve their customer’s problems. Customers want to be listened to and understood. Sometimes all a customer really wants is to have someone listen to his or her problems and care about the situation. Companies that care about their customers will always have customers to care for.

Experience Question: Do you encourage your employees to fully listen to the customer and hear all about the issues that they are facing?

3. Businesses that Practice Second Mile Service Create Unexpected Stories.

Businesses that focus on customer service create great customer stories. Every business should pay attention to the stories that they create. Stories can be created any day and with any customer. Stories are created when customers are listened to and loved deeply. Pepco created an amazing story for the daughter of one of their customers. Watch the video below and think about the story that you can create in your business.

Experience Question: What great customer story have you ever created because of your love of customers?

4. Businesses that Practice Second Mile Service Provide Unexpected Service

Businesses that love their customers create new ways to improve their service to their customers. Author Tommy Newberry has written, “Constantly ask yourself how you can increase your service and contribution. Ask, “How can I triple my value to my boss, to my clients, to the marketplace, to my family?” Write it down. No one can do the minimum and reach the maximum.” When a company creates more value for their customers, their customers create more value for the company.

Experience Question: How could your company triple your value to your customers?

There are many Biblical values that make for good business principles. Maybe one of the most important principles is going the second mile. Roger Staubach once quipped that “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” Indeed, businesses and business leaders that choose to go the second mile will find many rewards and benefits.