A Simple Thank You
Jun 19, 2012Posted by james

Coach Bruce Weber had a simple message for the Illinois fan base that helped run him out of Champaign earlier this year. He was fired one day after Illinois was eliminated from the Big Ten tournament, causing the team to miss the NCAA basketball tournament for the third time during the past five seasons.

His message: “Thank you.”

Coach Weber has since been hired as head coach at Kansas State. But before he started his new job, he delivered a personal message to Illinois fans in a full-page advertisement in a Sunday edition of the Champaign News Gazette.

The ad featured the Illinois and Kansas State logos separated by a basketball. It also included his heartfelt words: “Thanks to everyone in the Illini Nation for a memorable nine years. GO ILLINI & GO CATS! Coach Bruce Weber.”

This advertisement showcases the character of Coach Weber. Not many coaches would have used personal finances to run this kind of ad after leaving a program on good terms. Coach Weber did it less than a month after he was fired.

During a long career in business, it is possible that a person will be embarrassed, disciplined, or even fired for a mistake, for failure to deliver results, or for poor judgment. Sometimes a person will be wrongly selected as a scapegoat.

While we can’t influence everything that occurs around us, we certainly can control our responses to negative news. In the case of Coach Weber, whether his firing was fair or not, he decided that his reaction would focus on the positive.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, remember to thank the people who helped you along the way along with those who befriended you. Consider all that you learned, both the good and the bad. Find ways to land on your feet and showcase your new success, proving to those you left behind that they might have been wrong about you.

Most of all, be true to yourself. If you were wrong, learn from the mistakes. If not, be confident that you had it right all along and bring this spirit to your next opportunity.


The Ice Is Smooth For Those Who Are Prepared
Jun 03, 2012Posted by james

College basketball has March Madness. Baseball’s final series is the Fall Classic. The NFL has its day-long Super Bowl. Nothing in pro sports, though, matches the wildness that occurs from the end of April until early May with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Sixteen teams qualify at the end of a rugged 82-game season. It is not uncommon for an eighth seeded team in either conference to knock out a top seed in a grueling first round seven-game series.

This year’s ice path to the cup has been one of the wildest skates in recent memory. The top team in the league was knocked out in the first round. Teams with stars such as Sidney Crosby and Patrick Sharp faltered in the first or second rounds. The game’s top referees, who called games “tight” all season long, all of a sudden decided en masse to “let them play.” This resulted in a first round filled with snarl that included many fights, illegal hits, checks that were legal but still were disciplined by the league and several highly questionable suspensions.

Through it all, fans repeatedly have been yanked from their seats by outstanding stick handling, unbelievable speed, wild shooting, surprising breakaways, incomprehensible saves by goaltenders and countless overtime periods. Each round and each series in each round have been nerve-racking and thrilling. Even popular television play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick remarked several times that only viewers who didn’t a vested team interest in a particular game could enjoy all the action while sitting comfortably in their seats.

An NHL season, from training camp to the raising of the Stanley Cup, requires a lot of heavy lifting by players, coaches, trainers and equipment managers. Their collective focus is to grab the top prize, and it is similar to what we do every day on the job with our colleagues.

We concentrate on preparation. We continue to refine our talents. We review our game plan. Each day, we are ready to face new opponents and unforeseen obstacles. Sometimes we play a starring role and at other times we provide the goal scorer with a valuable assist.

If you are prepared every day, you never will slide aimlessly on the ice. You will meet deadlines, you will win the respect of co-workers, you will obtain the confidence of clients and you will get to celebrate many rewards at center ice.