January 2021: Full Contact Project Management

Words:

Eternal Truths for Simple Coaches

“The Promise of a New January”

Our Plan—the Script

 

Words: “Coach” Gary Micheloni

  The Scene: A locker room for a sports team. Our team. All of us are in there—you and me. It’s halftime.  The Story: Talk about ugly…the other team showed us no mercy at all! Pick your favorite sports metaphor: We’ve gotten our butts kicked and then handed to us, followed by the cheese getting beaten out of us. We were booed off the field. The other team bullied us and we kept giving ground and giving in. Apathetic showing for the ages. And our families were there and saw it all unfold. The Irony: The year was 2020, yet we were so blind. No vision. An old saying goes: “Without a vision, the people perish.” The Coaching Staff: Not one of them making eye contact with the players—not that the players would see it—because they did not want to be seen this way. They were better than this. On paper, we were the better team. The Head Coach: Time for him to speak, to encourage, and somehow motivate the team. What will he say? Stay with me, now, because you won’t believe what happens next. Don’t miss this. The Bio of the Head Coach: The coach is not, really, just one individual. This head coach is an amalgamation of every coach in your life who has been important to you. Man or woman, young or old. The best! The absolute, Right Stuff. You know the one I’m talking about. For the sake of the story, let’s call him “Coach Steve”, the sport is football, and we’re down several scores: Lions 28, Eagles 0. We are lunch for the competition, and it is half-time. Got the picture? The camera follows Coach Steve as he walks into the room. The already-quiet locker room goes eerily and completely silent. Pin-drop quiet. Somebody’s cleats scrape the concrete; the entire team is suddenly, very much interested in the noise. ANY noise. Something to draw attention away from themselves. Coach hears it, too…looks that way, and then surveys the face of each player and every coach. The Big Idea. “Gentlemen…” he begins. “I had an idea and did something very sneaky. I sent Coach Smithers over to the door of the Lions’ locker room to see and hear what’s going on over there. He just reported to me exactly what I suspected. Do you know what that is? They are celebrating over there. Whooping and hollering, talking about partying after the game.  “And that makes me smile, gentlemen. Do you know why? Because we have them right where we want them.” The crazy thing is that the team believed “Coach Steve.” Why was that? The team knew its history and believed in the integrity and skill of its coaches. In fact, at the beginning of this season, and every season as a head coach, he made the teams a promise and never broke it. Each coach and every trainer who wanted to be on his staff knew of this promise before he was hired…so the coaching staff was united. All sizes and shapes and ages and colors were the coaches. They, too, swore to each other that they would faithfully keep the promise…this very simple, yet noble, act of fidelity. Here’s the promise, as I recall the coach making it, at the beginning of our season. “Eagles, I want you to know that I, and all of your coaches, believe in you and your abilities to play this game well and have fun doing it, so we’re going to do everything humanly possible to make this happen…if… you honestly desire to be a part of this team: to become an Eagle and all that it represents. If you do that, here is what we promise to you: Good Words, direct from Coach, the Mission, in four simple lines: “Team, I want you to know that I and all your coaches will lead you. We will go before you, to show you the way. We will always be behind you, to encourage you. Count on us, always, to watch over you. Know that we will always be at your side like good friends will.” “As coaches, we ask you to do your part, which is very simple. Follow our lead. Play hard--but practice even harder. Leave it all on the field. Always have the backs of your teammates. “Do you know why coaches do what we do? It’s very simple, also. When the team takes our coaching to heart, implements it, plays as well as it can, it’s a joy to be a coach. For me, that is an eternal truth. “However, there may come a time when we have a bad day or a bad game. At those times, remember our promises made to each other here today. If you agree, stand with me. If you don’t, then turn in your gear. Two options. Your choice.” Not surprisingly, the team rose as one. Coach Steve continues “That’s what I said: ‘We have them right where we want them.’  Remember when I also told you there might come a day might come where things don’t always go our way. Kind of like today! Sometimes, we need to take our efforts up a notch or two, so I want to remind you of some extreme second-half comebacks, where noble people stepped up to the task.” David & Goliath. Coach Steve reminded the team about how that giant named Goliath had laughed out loud about how some shepherd boy with a slingshot might take down the fiercest and biggest warrior on the planet. The last laugh was not Goliath’s—it couldn’t be, of course—because Goliath had lost his head, and his life, in his battle with the boy. Revolutionary War. “In the quest for liberty, America took on the biggest army and navy in the world. Those rag-tag, early patriots challenged the established principle that the king was law. Whatever he said, that was it, and you had to do it. America turned that thing on its head and proved that, instead, the law was to be king. Principles matter. Know your king. Be true to your principles.” Civil War. “Eagles, remember that hundreds of thousands of lives and limbs were sacrificed to enforce President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Those warriors left it all on the field, creating blessings for our nation that continue to this day.” Pearl Harbor. Then, Coach said, “A sneak attack on the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet decimated it on December 7th, 1941. Dozens of ships, including battleships, were sunk or severely damaged. Thousands of sailors were killed. America was forced into World War II. But, because of the resolution within each American worker and service member and the families at home, did you know that within only five months the majority of the surviving ships were repaired and back in service, taking the fight to the enemy? In that same amount of time, on April 18, 1942, the American aircraft carrier Hornet launched sixteen B-25 bombers from its flight deck, taking the fight, by air, to an enemy previously thinking itself impregnable because it was protected by an Ocean. Can you see the picture? B-25 Bombers being launched off of an aircraft carrier, true Eagles, responding as only Americans can. What an amazing comeback from seeming annihilation! Our Heritage. Coach Steve paused, once again, longer this time, making eye contact with absolutely every player and coach in that room. Time seemed to stand still for a brief eternity, followed by intensive and personal soul-searching. No one said anything. Not another cleat dared to squeak. It was powerful, and then he spoke. “Eagles, this is our heritage. Our bloodline. Our makeup. Our resolve. Our integrity is at stake. But we do have a plan. Our Plan. The Lions won’t see it coming, because we have them—what did I say? ‘Right where we want them!’ They think that they are impregnable!  They get the ball first in the second half. Our plan is simple. Hold them once. Defense…it’s up to you. Make them give the ball back to us. They’ll be surprised. Our coaches will see that you are serious.  “Then…Offense…we score one time. The Lions will be stunned! We’ll still be down a few points, but then you’ll know—you’ll believe—that we can win. Believing is the big thing. Believing is not an option for us, because we’re Eagles.  “Gentlemen…it’s simple: hold them once; score on them once; always believe in the team. We Launch…in 42 seconds!”  And with that, the Eagles took the field. Team, let’s face it, 2020 was tough, but not tougher than our team or our country. This January 2021 begins our ‘second half’. Our plan is simple: we’re going to stop this thing. You know why? Because American ingenuity, leadership, and resolve paved the way to developing a vaccine that does exactly that: stops this thing in its tracks. Then we storm our way back. It’s an elegant--yet simple—Plan. By the time you read these words, our Defense will have already stopped the advance of this thing. Our Offense is ready. Okay, Team. It’s January, but this one Promises to be different. Either strap on your helmets or turn in your gear. We Launch NOW! Our families are watching. This coach expects to be filled with joy!  
Coach Gary’s Corner: Gary Micheloni is a construction company marketer, speaker, author, consultant…and a coach. Get Coach Gary to speak for your group. FullContactTeam@gmail.com  And be sure and tell him about how you are leading! 
Copyright 2021 Gary Micheloni
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