Confrontation Culture

Boston Strong. Oklahoma Resilience. We Are Sandy Hook-We Choose Love. Certainly these tragedies were all horrific, but they also brought out the best in their respective communities. Police and Fireman were heroic, but even ordinary citizens came together to help each other. Typically, in the face of adversity, good rises to the top, and the survivors become stronger than they were before. While sport culture is certainly different than community culture, lessons can be taken from how communities confront difficult situations.

The greatest organizations are not afraid to confront, even if it leads to tension. They embrace those moments as opportunities to improve and get better. Too many sports teams are afraid to confront; Do not upset the superstar. Stay away from giving honest, even if it’s difficult, feedback. Do not question the coach under any circumstance. Confrontation often leads to rocking the boat, and many captains are afraid to ride potentially rocky waves.

The truth is we become our best when confrontation is embraced. The word itself may cause you to think of negative examples, but the definition revolves around face to face clashing of idea. Does that sound so bad? Accusatory, finger pointing is not confrontation. It’s blame. Cultures that embrace confrontation believe that there may be a better, newer, smarter way of doing things. They strive to thrive when the going gets tough. Rather than simply surviving the rocky waves of the past, and storms that may be brewing in their future, they figure out how to keep the ship moving forward in that moment.

Confrontation cultures have open lines of communication, embrace questioning and believe there is no straight path to success. How are you using confrontation to better your culture? What ways can you encourage positive confrontation? Will you run away or run towards the storm?

Learn how to be a positive confronter and you will make a positive impact on your culture.

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Mountain Climbing

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to hear Allison Levine speak.  Levine has climbed the highest peak on every continent, served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, and skied across the Arctic Circle to the geographic North Pole. As Levine spoke I found that her approach and mentality was very similar to the messages I talk about with clients.  With that in mind, below are some of the notes that I took from her speech.

Levine spoke about how it’s easier for someone to say no, then to answer questions.  She spoke about the importance of asking questions to gain information and to push people for specific information.  This is an important message for athletes seeking information regarding role clarity, playing time, and team motivation.

Levine talked about Junko Taibei, the first Woman to climb Mt. Everest, and how she said, “Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top—it is willpower that is the most important.  The willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others—it rises from your heart.”

In addition to willpower Levine spoke about the importance of fear by saying, “fear is ok, but complacency will kill you.”  Levine talked about fear in regard to the hazardous mountain weather by saying, “storms are temporary and they don’t last forever.”

As Levine continued to talk about her experience it was clear that she valued preparation, moment-to-moment thinking, and the importance of relishing the journey over the end result.  Levine’s ability to conquer some of the largest mountains in the world is a reminder that in order to conquer the most difficult challenges, we need to make sure our mind is in as good of shape as our body.