Football and Business: Do You Need A Rookie Symposium?

Finding connections in football and business really is so easy!  Today marks day 112 of the NFL lockout.  Yet, the Rookie Symposium happened last week.  Respected coaches and experienced veteran players gave the rookie players valuable MENTORING: advice, inspiration, warnings, hope—all useful information to mentor the new guys, which, as I write in my book, “will shorten the school of hard knocks.”

As a past Human Resources professional, I believe mentoring and training CAN shorten the school of hard knocks, and every business should have both as major components in their mission statement, and as part of everyday activities.

In the Rookie Symposium, veteran player Jason Taylor shared some of his life experiences, and counseled the audience, “Football isn’t a hobby anymore–don’t take it for granted.”  Players warned about having “time on your hands”—no school activities—to be careful to use it wisely, not recklessly. Coach Herm Edwards made everyone laugh, when he advised them to have “ONE of everything:  one house, one car, one wife, one piece of expensive jewelry—not a Mr. T starter set. . .”

So in your Rookie Symposium, orient your new people to the “hows” of navigating your company, not just the “whats.”  People hired for a job pretty much know WHAT to do— NOW they need to know the “operating procedures” as I call it with my clients—having the “OP Discussion”: the HOWs of the company, and how the boss likes to do business and receive information.

What are A priorities;  what are B or C? The A’s are utmost priority; the B’s and C’s less so.  For example, how does “open door policy” play into priorities?

In my company, when my door is open, it means I am working on a C priority, and can be interrupted.  If my door is half closed, there is still some “space” for interruption, but it better be an A priority, such as a client is on the phone and needs to talk to ME (client communication is always an A priority).  If my door is actually closed, it means I am working on an A or B priority, and cannot be interrupted.  If you have a B or C priority, email it to me.  If you have an A priority, actually slide a note under the door, and email that you have done so.  The more clear you are, the more motivated you are to do a good job.

CLARITY BUILDS TRUST, which I suppose is the whole reason for new-hire orientations, Rookie Symposiums, and the recent BIG PUSH toward TRANSPARENCY in organizations.  Didn’t your mom and dad say, “You can always come to me with the truth, no matter what it is—but for a lie, you’ll be punished”?  Mine did.  Better to lead by example, and inform your employees of the truths around here. Tell them to anticipate what truths will be hard to admit—and encourage a SAFE SPACE for them to come to you, without fear of retribution.   Take a hard look:  is that happening around YOU?  It should be.

Football and business really do go hand in hand – so for more great analogies and tips, be sure to check out my new book, Necessary Roughness: New Rules For The Contact Sport Of Life.  OR, get your hands on the first chapter for free by putting your name and email in the box to the right – AND get updates from me, too!


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  3. Football and Business – Ray Lewis Calls Lockout “Ego”
  4. Customer Service Tip – Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour Lesson for Business
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