Recognition: The Currency of the Kingdom
Recognition according to the online Webster’s Dictionary:
1. To acknowledge something as valid
2. Formal approval or sanctioning as one with authorization
3. To perceive as existing or true
4. To show appreciation of achievement,merit, service as by some reward or public honor
I have been a high school football coach for the last 6 years. I thoroughly enjoy the time, and teamwork. The impact you can have on the guys and coaches is very rewarding. One off-season meeting the head coach was meeting with a couple of us privately for breakfast. At the meeting he said to me, “You have been travelling and doing leadership training all over the place, why don’t you use that leadership on our team! We need some insight here to help get our team over the hump.” Now understand our team is one of the most racially integrated teams in our whole area. We are one of the biggest schools in the area. To give you an idea, there are over 3400 high school students in our city. We have some of the best talent around the area, our basketball team is one of the best year in and year out. But our football team while the obvious most talented, just can’t seem to overcome some things.
So me and my close friend went to work on creating a program, we called Champions of Character. My father in law has been instrumental in bringing this idea to light. While he was a CEO of a big textile operation in Oklahoma he started a character first program. I bounced a lot of ideas off of him, we built the foundation of our new program, and had him come down and speak to our coaches and observe and oversee our program.
You see back in the 80’s he turned around a multimillion dollar corporation and navigated them out of bankruptcy into viable profitability. The way he achieved this was through his Character First Program. We took the ideas and modified it to athletics and specifically football.
The most important aspect of his program that we used, was for the leadership to give sincere praise for choices that lead to good character. I don’t think he knew our situation but it was perfect. We have so many kids being raised in single home families, and section 8 housing on our team. There were a lot of issues, character problems, grades, attitudes, gang, you name it we were facing it! But that one statement stuck with me. What if we devised a program for our young men, that allowed us opportunity to give sincere praise and recognition for their choices which would ultimately lead to good behavior and character!
I don’t have the time here to tell all of the details of the program, if you like I can send the information to you and you can modify it to your organization or business. This is going to be a very successful model in tomorrow’s world of business. The leadership taking the time and initiative to validate people’s choices and character. Some of my really great business friends are using this principle and the results have been amazing!
I will give more details on the next segment on the nuts and bolts of how we achieved this goal, and what the results are. Remember, John Wooden one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time said, “Nothing motivates a player more than a pat on the back, and sometimes a little sterner and lower.” People all around you are starving for validation and recognition. It is so easy to give, and it is the purest form of praise, but I can tell you if live by this principle, your people will love you and run through troops to bring you a drink of water!