A major highlight being in the sports media business is watching various athletes perform. A question came up recently, why do basketball athletes play and wrestling athletes wrestle? They don’t play wrestling; they wrestle! Wrestlers are a proud, fanatical group. Their sport is not merely an activity, it is a verb!
In managing Mo Patton Sports, the same question echoes: are we playing or are we doing? Like any business, it is important to know the product. Ours is sports reporting on local high schools. We know our audience. It is local high school athletes, fans, and the communities they represent. We require absolute clarity to our customers’ needs. We tell stories that ignite the passions and foster relationships with our audience so that we can connect our sponsors to them.
While better athletes bring determination, discipline, and passion to their activity, it is still identified as play. A school of thought exists that high achievement can occur when your work is your play. Another school of thought says, nothing substitutes for hard work! Entrepreneurs and other professionals can enjoy their work immensely. They can be unreasonably passionate about their companies. But until they are grinding at it relentlessly, they cap their success. Study your craft, analyze your competition, practice your presentations, get expert coaching to prepare for victory, then prepare some more. Players get this. But, does this approach maximize performance?
Another way to contribute to an organization or endeavor is by discovering great ideas. Deploying talented people to come up with smart ideas is a long-established exercise for businesses to chart a path to success. However, the ideas are not the secret to profits. Execution is. The road starts with ideas. Then, intelligent planning needs to happen. But value only results from doing! The most brilliant thinkers cannot predict every contingency. But, the person who acts and delivers results is the one that makes the difference by actually creating value. Do something to get something!
Like the aforementioned wrestler, the performer and the performance are inextricably linked. Wrestling literally involves one performer competing against another performer where skill and competence is singularly exposed. Likewise, doers’ contributions are individually exposed. A seller either closed the deal, or did not. They may achieve another round of negotiations, but business is not consummated until a seller sells and a buyer buys. The performance keeps you employed. Likewise, the individual or group that produces the good or service has to be a doer. Imagine going to a law office and the lawyer tells you I think we should win this case, sends you a bill and heads to the golf course. Clearly, work must be performed!
Doers contributing to an individual mission or organization, own their individual results at some point. While someone may receive the work product and then add additional value to it, for doers, their contribution can be tracked to the source. Once success singularly defines your contribution, you fully understand the commitment and responsibility that you have in personally performing. Athletes that get this, embrace the responsibility to perform as part of their identity. The same is true for professionals. Do not play with the idea that your contribution does not matter, or that it is only a small part of the overall performance. Own your singular excellence and carry that with you in every competitive encounter and the results will reflect your success. Don’t play, do!
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Mo Patton Sports, LLC