My southern Louisiana roots had me rooting for Peyton Manning in the most recent Super Bowl. (Yeah, that went well.)
At one point during the 3rd quarter, my friends and I even considered re-watching the halftime show.
(Hey, Bruno Mars... who knew?)
As initially depressing as the game was, a couple of things that I observed and later learned struck a nerve.
The first observation that resonated was the manner in which Manning handled himself in the immediate aftermath of a true debacle. The largest TV audience in US history had just watched Peyton have arguably the worst loss of his career.
And now hundreds of microphones and cameras were in his face, making him relive and retell that failure again and again and again.
In a situation in which many would have been looking to get out of there quickly, Peyton didn’t duck out. He knew reporters had their jobs to do, as well.
He repeatedly gave credit to Seattle and conducted himself in as professional a manner as you’ll ever see.
Reports are that after those mentally draining interviews, he even took time to sign autographs for stadium employees who had waited long after the game for the chance to meet him.
People learn a lot about you by how you handle success. They learn even more by how you conduct yourself when things haven’t gone your way.
I later learned something else that impressed me. Seattle had 21 undrafted free agents on its team. That’s stunning.
(It also suggests they were a team filled with guys with chips on their shoulders.)
No industry’s talent evaluation and hiring process is as in depth, detailed, and publicized as the NFL. Highly paid experts spend all year compiling reams of data on potential hires (draftees).
Yet, over the past few years, the experts “took a pass” on almost half of the players who would form a world championship team. And there are surely few things as depressing as seeing peers being chosen for great opportunities while your phone isn’t ringing.
Each of us has times in our lives and careers in which we don’t get picked.
Maybe a job offer or promotion goes to someone else, or a potentially great customer makes the choice to go elsewhere.
Championship teams aren’t made up of folks who have never faced rejection. They consist of people who have dealt with plenty of it yet remained committed to their goals.
Will that be your team?
Shortly after a recent presentation, a branch manager walked up and told me something that made me chuckle. He said, “I hope you didn’t see me texting during your speech.”
I hadn’t, but I found it odd he would brag to me about doing that.
He then told me about a particular slide and message about customers’ perceptions that really resonated with him. He felt compelled to text it to his team back at his branch immediately.
Now, the message that fired him up was one I have no doubt he’d heard from his organization before. In fact, that may not have even been the first time he had heard me personally deliver it.
I didn’t think that particular minute or so of the presentation would have been in my personal Top 10 of slides that day.
It wasn’t something that I considered particularly new or novel. And I didn’t remember putting any extra emphasis on it.
But for whatever reason, in that particular setting, on that particular day, it struck a nerve.
As I thanked him for his nice comments, I also felt appreciation for what he had reminded me. Sometimes a familiar message can have new resonance.
It may be that the message has slightly changed.
Or maybe the recipient has.
I’ve long tried to encompass different stories when making familiar points because topics and themes resonate differently with folks. Some people are really tuned in to sports analogies. Others relate to stories about kids or pets or basic human interactions.
Some like funny “bad service” stories, while others prefer stories of great service.
And some simply prefer statistics and data to support whatever point you are trying to make.
Okay, news flash: people are different.
But sometimes, a familiar message is heard with entirely different ears, not because the message or messenger has changed, but because the recipient has.
Life and work experiences have ways of transforming the things we are open to consider and prepared to act upon.
This condition goes beyond the coaching of our teams. The same potential customer who has up to now ignored or rejected the value propositions you’ve presented may have a new perspective this week... or maybe next.
Sometimes we have to listen to a message far more than once to actually hear it.
Keep putting your messages out there this week.