The year was 1995. I’d been to The Center for Creative Leadership back in 1993 and was starting The CompuServe Leadership Institute. I had no clue. So, we had one of our first management training programs and brought leaders into Columbus from all over the world. I figured they wouldn’t want to hear from just me, so I’d hired Ed Eppley to facilitate our three day program. He would do this year in and year out for the next seven years. Nearly everyone loved him and they were learning too. Good.
What has stayed with me, however, all these 26 years isn’t anything Ed said (and he said lots of good stuff). What seared my sorriness was when I asked the QB Coach (Walt Harris) from OSU to speak over dinner one night. He spoke for ten minutes and took questions for forty five. I was seated next to Walt and watched him answer question after question ccd with zero bullshit. I was beginning to believe. So, I asked the question I’d been chewing on for a long, long time.
“Walt,” I began all matter of factly, “How do you get a bunch of freshmen from all over the country to become one? How do you get some rich kids to become one with dirt poor ones? How do you get Southerns to become one with those dreaded Northerns? How ‘bout black and white? Lineman and Linebackers? QB’s and DB’s?” I’d always wondered how you turn diverse, disjointed teams into one. I had no clue.
Without skipping a beat, he looked me in the eye and said simply, “That’s easy. We get ‘em tired together. When they’re tired they are no longer this and that, they’re just tired. They’re tired together. Oneness is seeded with fatigue.” Freakin’ magic, baby!
Today, I got another team tired together. Tears flowed. Energy was depleted as emotions ran over. Bottled up stuff came out. Baggage was dropped. Humanity revealed. Oneness took root. Remember, leader, we stick it to THE man. We stick with the HUman. What are you doing to get your team tired together? Slow down and sit with this truth for awhile. Slow down.
Live hard. Love harder…