Success Beyond A Super Bowl Ring, Lessons from IAUG Converge 2015

Football56381888BlogIt doesn’t matter if you work on a football field, a boardroom, cubicle or call center, each member of the team—from the CEO to the mailroom clerk—plays a vital role in an organization’s success each day, according to Joe Theismann, former quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XVII ring holder and International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) Converge 2015 keynote speaker.

Theismann had to face serious hurdles in his life and was challenged to reinvent himself in order to move forward. During the peak of his career, life gave him a real wake-up call when his leg was shattered on the football field in front of millions of people. With his football career over he must have wondered, what do I do now? Something we all can relate to at some time or another.

Post-football, Theismann became a sportscaster and commentator. Here are some quotes Theismann used during his speech, including one of his own and from famous figures like Theodore Roosevelt and businessman John Templeton, which caught my attention and apply to becoming a champion off the field:

I never had a failure, it was instead an educational experience that did not go my way.”

As an IT instructor I have always preferred the term “misconfigured” over “mistake” or “wrong”. This translates well to the classroom or online learning experience, where mistakes often enhance the understanding of new technologies. Students often face a large amount of new information in a short amount of time and can be overwhelmed. We use the phrase, “drinking from a fire hose”. And, mistakes are how we learn best.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

In a constantly evolving age of information technology, caring needs to go hand-in-hand with knowledge and technical expertise. How we respond when we’re needed can make all the difference. This means taking the time to understand the specific needs of a customer, teammate or stakeholder which can make all the difference. It also means being there when it counts. The most intelligent support system on earth is not helpful if it is not available when you need it.

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

I see this every day and many times a smile or kind word can carry a lot more weight than harsh or angry ones. In our interaction with our coworkers, partners or customers, we have a chance to build up relationships. When we take the time to thank or acknowledge someone for a job well done, we validate them and add to their confidence. What better way to strengthen your team or customer base than with kind supportive words of appreciation?

As a lifelong Dallas cowboy fan, I can truly say I did not expect to appreciate a Washington Redskin. But, Theismann was energetic, inspirational and extremely impressive. Despite my initial wariness, he provided IAUG Converge’s audience with an enthusiastic, funny and motivational message from a true champion.

His final message: We can all work together to be champions!

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