Colby Basketball Gone Viral

One of the things I love about Colby and my job here is the close interaction that exists between the coaches of every sport here on campus. My office space is in a room with most of the other assistant coaches. We share a good camaraderie and actively follow and cheer for each other’s sports. We also support each other and lend a hand when its appropriate – everyone has a little different area of expertise and you never know who might have a great idea to help you be a better coach.

Our Men’s Basketball team has done a great job this year of using highlight videos to shed light on their program and how they go about their business. They get a good number of hits for each video and hopefully attract some recruits. Their most recent video has set a new standard though – Barstool, Bleacher Report and USA Today (among others) have picked up on it and their hit counter has gone well beyond 50,000. Check it out:

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Self-Awareness

There are many things that help predict success: work-ethic, motivation, physical traits, demeanor, etc. In my experience, I believe that nothing is a better indicator than Self-Awareness. The ability of a person to be self-aware dramatically increases their ability to be successful in all situations in life.

What is Self-Awareness? It is having an acute sense of self, what you are doing, and how you impact others. It is the ability to critically evaluate yourself and your actions for better or worse. Self-awareness is seeing the forest from the trees; understanding the bigger ecosystem in which you operate; understanding that each action creates a chain of reactions.

Why is Self-Awareness indicative of success? I have found that players and people who understand who they are and what they are doing have a much higher rate of success. They understand their actions and how those actions created a positive or negative result. They can shift their behavior to create more positives because they understand what they did to create a negative. Too many people see the world as causing them harm and out to get them.

It is very easy to see people in the world with a lack of self-awareness and a heightened sense of self-importance. These people can do no wrong and blame others constantly. They fail to see what is going on around them and the impact that they are having on the bigger picture.

Be self-aware today. Evaluate yourself and your actions. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. Determine what you can do to create the positive results that you want. Increasing your own self-awareness will quickly improve your chances for success.

The Value of Information

We live in a world of imperfect information. What that means is that one party often knows something that others don’t. Whether it is a business deal, a debate or a personal discussion, there is always something that is unknown to someone.

How do you succeed in a world of imperfect information? Gather as much information from as many people as possible. Ask great questions and dig at the root of what you are trying to discover. Don’t be afraid to be direct – people don’t often volunteer valuable information. Talk to as many people as you can, try to get the bigger picture. The more sources you have, the better. I was taught in middle school to triple check every historical source to ensure its accuracy. Whether you’re researching a paper on the Civil War or trying to formulate a business contract, the lesson holds true.

In a world of imperfect information, the more information you have, the better your chances are of success.

The Power of Social Media

Note: This is the second post in a series about social media, its power, and how to use it effectively.

Through social media, people now have the power to connect and communicate with anyone, instantly. This is a power unlike any we have ever had. Information is shared across time zones and continents. Connections are made between people sharing similar interests. Messages are sent and received as fast as your phone and data carrier allows. It is truly amazing how we can communicate in the year 2013.

The power of these mediums is evident by some events in recent history. The Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East were organized through social media. The uproar over Mike Rice’s behavior at Rutgers was largely through social media. Organizations/Companies/Teams/Shows use social media as a way to broadcast their brand and measure reactions/connections to their product or service. People can log and measure reactions and thoughts in real time over a variety of events.

Social media also has the power to create a scrapbook of your life. You can go online and have pictures, notes and comments over the entirety of your online existence. What you did, who you did it with, where you traveled, where you worked, went to school, etc. All of this information is now online – and not just for you. Depending on your security settings, anyone with an account can check in on your online history. People can see what you’ve done, who you’ve done it with, and how you interact with people. Right or wrong, it serves as an instant background check for employers and anyone else looking to get to know you.

Social media has connected people like never before, created a way for people to instantly share thoughts, ideas and opinions, and created an online scrapbook of your life. With this type of power, social media is something that needs to be used strategically and intelligently to create a well rounded online presence that truly represents who you are and what you do.

The Social Media Generation

Note: this is the first in a series about Social Media, its power, and how to use it effectively.

Every generation of young people is a little different than the one that came before. Parents always talk about the way things were when they were kids. Family reunions allow people to see the differences over many generations. I even notice a difference between me and my brother (who is only 3 years younger than I am). These differences are what help us progress and take steps forward as a society. They are usually small but create noticeable change.

There is a major generational change going on right now and it involves the things that have become ever present in our lives. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc) is changing the way our world operates and the way that young people see the world.

As a coach and a recruiter at the college level, it is imperative that I not only know how to use these platforms, but also understand how they shape the perspectives and mentalities of my student-athletes. A few weeks ago our entire athletic department had a phenomenal presentation about Generation-Y, how they operate, how they see the world, and how they interact. It prompted me to do additional research on this social media revolution.

I found a number of interesting observations. Young people today live their lives through the lens of the people around them. They broadcast their every action to the world via Twitter or Facebook. They “check in” to places so everyone knows where they are. They take pictures and apply filters with Instagram so they look cool. They announce their opinions on everything to everyone on Twitter. The philosophy is to broadcast yourself so that everyone else can see it and pass judgment. People “Like” things on Facebook. Word spreads about actions, reactions and decisions faster than you can tell people on the phone or even via text. Communication and judgement is instantaneous.

I recently had a very interesting interaction with social media in my own personal life. My long-time girlfriend and I got engaged last week. As we were in the process of telling the people closest to us on the phone, I decided to send out a tweet announcing our happy news. I didn’t think twice about it. However, news spreads so fast today that some people we had wanted to tell over the phone became aware of the news before we could get in touch with them. They had seen a tweet, or a friend saw it and passed the news along, or someone posted it to Facebook or something. It was eyeopening to me to see how quickly things can spread on a Social Media network.

From these two different experiences I have seen the power of Social Media in disseminating information and shaping behavior. As we progress further into our Social Media age, it is critical that we work to maintain human relationships by spending time with other people and communicating through more standard methods, as well as using the new advances in technology. As coaches, we must understand that our student-athletes have grown up being shaped by the opinions of those around them and are constantly searching for feedback and thoughts on their actions. We also must understand the power of Social Media and use it to the best of our abilities to build a brand for our program and recruit student athletes.

Social Media is fascinating to me and I have been working to build a presence for myself on Twitter. I am working to expand that presence through Facebook, YouTube, and this blog. This series on Social Media will continue with my thoughts and strategies for using Twitter effectively.

Relationships

A great message from Mark Sanborn this morning in my inbox about relationships and the difference between Transactional and Relational interactions. Mark talks about how Relational interactions are best for a long-term business relationship and customer retention. It certainly applies to relationships in the coaching world and how we interact with our peers in recruiting.

Transactional Relational
Professional Friendly
Self-interest Mutual interst
What you get What you give
Stay in touch Keep informed
Understand the process Understand the person in the process
Judge the results Evaluate the relationship
Win conflict Resolve conflict
Agreement Acceptance
Evaluate the results Evaluate how the other feels about the results