Leadership Lessons from Football

Volunteering for the Champion Academy – Extreme Mentoring and Empowering Initiative, a groundbreaking Solution for Rochester’s Teem Crisis, has brought light to what it takes to become a leader. Roland Williams, an NFL Super Bowl Champion and founder of the academy, has returned to Rochester to help with the plight of young, economically disadvantaged youth who are faced with the relentless influences of drugs, and poverty. After a two-week boot camp to kick off the program, Roland travels from his home in California monthly to mentor these students into leaders. His results are nothing less than miraculous with 98% improved attitudes toward risky behavior and 95% have improved their attitude towards developing healthy relationships with others. Even more impressive is the fact that 82% of students have improved their GPAs from previous years, with 41 members receiving a 3.0 GPA and 10 members achieving a 4.0 GPA for the first time in their lives! So how does this relate to organizations and developing leadership behaviors at all levels of an organization?

Vision: First, there needs to be vision, that all understand and to which they can relate. At Champion Academy, the vision is to change your life, and that vision is constantly reinforced. Too often organizations have a vision, but it is somewhere in a drawer. Last week, a stated they could not find their vision and mission because they cannot find the chart paper where it was written when the leadership developed it! That is not a vision, as a true vision needs to be clearly known, reinforced and communicated on a regular basis. Is your organization’s vision and mission clearly stated and do your people understand their roles?

Goals: Champion Academy focuses on specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely outcomes of student performance. These include school attendance, improved attitude, community service, enhanced relationships with authority figures, and improved health and fitness. All tools to lead to the vision of a better life. The scholastic goal for members of the Academy is a 4.0., and students have made dramatic progress in this area. Successes are recognized and rewarded as a student work towards and meets their goal. Are goals clear in your organization? Are your employees rewarded and recognized for their efforts to meet their goals, or do they just receive negative feedback?

Support: Students at Champion Academy receive around the clock support through Facebook as well as backing through mentors and tutors. Champion Academy also offers resources to help students address current challenges which may interfere with their ability to reach their goals. In the workplace, too often supervisors are so focused on the bottom line or numbers, they forget to give their employees the support they need for long-term success. By taking time to develop a relationship with employees, supervisors will be better suited to help them succeed and in turn meet the goals of the organization.

Accountability: Students at Champion Academy are held accountable for adherence to program principles. Not only during group meet-ups, but also throughout the school year with Accountability coaches who visit them in school and community locations. Workplaces often fail in this area and create a culture in which finger pointing replaces accountability.  Two-way communication and clear expectations are necessity to help individuals understand the desired behaviors, and leaders need to hold their people accountable for their goals.

Motivational Environment: Motivation is intrinsic and although you cannot motivate anyone, you can create an environment in which they choose to be motivated. Not only do Champion Academy students receive daily motivation during the school year with a motivational reminder of the actions and attitudes necessary to succeed, they receive ongoing encouragement to help them succeed. Is the environment in which your employees work motivational? During cultural assessments, most often employees report they do not receive ongoing support or recognition for doing good work. Is your workplace environment motivational?

Success is created when you take time to create and communicate the vision for the future, identify clear expectations, give support and hold people accountable. When people feel cared for and supported the sky is the limit and nothing is impossible. Take time to assess your current state, then put in place the tools to help your people succeed and you will all be winners!

http://www.championacademyroc.org/

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