The Art of Lax Blog

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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Everything Counts

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“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.  Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” -Colin Powell (former Secretary of State)

One of my lacrosse coaches in boarding school was a man named David Reece, who has most definitely, taught me the importance of life in two, simple words.  It happened before the start of one particular practice when we did not have a game scheduled during the week.  A player asked Coach Reece if we could skip the routine (and often boring) stretch and warm-up, in the interest of just getting practice started and finished.  Coach’s response was very simple:

“No, because we will not skip what is important!”

The player inquired how it [stretching] was important and coach responded by saying:

“…because it’s one little thing that adds to a big part of our regimen and responsibility… whether it’s stretching out, tying your shoe laces, taping your stick, tweaking your pocket… even in practice… Everything Counts!

He would always say that in a commanding voice when somebody would try and “cut corners” sort-of-speak.  I take those words very seriously.  It has not only helped me as a player on the field but as a professional – trying not to overlook or take anything for granted, especially in the “real world”.

2 years ago to this day, the foundation of The Art of Lax™ was being finalized.  I promised myself, 24 drawings and 3 paintings done before the deadline of my 30th birthday – Nov. 16, 2008.  One of those paintings is titled “Everything Counts” and it is based on my experience and lesson from Coach Reece and the sport of lacrosse.  It is a reminder that if something is very important to you, make Everything related to it CountEVERYDAY.

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November 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Accountability

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“Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen R. Covey

Yesterday was Veterans Day.  I’m very thankful for those who have and presently serve in the Armed Forces.  I think of the word accountability a lot in work, owning a business and running a lacrosse team.  I’m reminded of General Eisenhower, the night before the D-Day invasion landings in Normandy took place.  Some historians and authors have called it “the most important day in the 20th Century.” In the event the invasion failed, General Eisenhower drafted a note which he kept in his wallet,

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

The landings were not perfect… but he never had to “use” that note.   Eisenhower eventually became the 34th President of the United States.

This is accountability.

Written by theartoflax

November 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Posted in Leadership, Risk

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Calling the SHOTS!

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“If you want to call the SHOTS, you have to take all the RISKS!”

That’s a quote I flat out believe in.  Lacrosse goalies have to be alert and call the shots, or else!  Being a goalie, a co-founder, president and captain of my post-collegiate club lacrosse team isn’t an easy job.  There’s coordinating meetings, game scheduling, travel/logistics, finance/budgeting, etc., etc. and then trying to stop a blistering shot at 95+ mph in goal!  But the hardest part of the job is when your teammates don’t live up to their responsibilities.  In my perfect world, they would be able to fully pay their seasonal dues on time, clearly read ALL my emails, not play phone-tag with me on game day, arrive on time and play their perfect game of lacrosse for a win.  But we do not live in such a world.

The same thing goes in business.  Entrepreneurship has taught me that there are two kinds of leaders:

1) The one who sits behind the desk and calls on certain people to “call the shots”.

2) The one who stands on their feet at the “front line” and “calls the shots”.

Ever since grade school, I’ve always had a major interest in military history.  I highly respect those who have served/currently serve in the armed forces.  Success in the military, just like in business and lacrosse, depends on management.  Here are two vids from the movie “Gettysburg” (1993) that display the true and amazing acts of leadership from two (probably less-known today) “front line” generals in the famous Civil War battle.  These two individuals “called the shots” because they took the risks.  Doing just that, enabled a strong faith among the personnel that followed these leaders into battle.

Union Cavalry General, John Buford (played by Sam Elliot).  Defending Gettysburg on the 1st day, all on his accord.

Union General, Joshua Chamberlain (played by Jeff Daniels).  Defending “Little Round Top”.  The BEST defense is an OFFENSE!

Bonus clip from other military genres –

Lt. Spears from “Band of Brothers”.  Knowing you have a job to do.

Leadership is ACTION, not position.

“In any moment of decision, the BEST you can do is the RIGHT THING.  The worst is doing nothing at all.” – Teddy Roosevelt

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November 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm