Friendly competition bring out the team’s best
Shortly after winning the Republican Winnebago County Board primary election, Donna Lee and I attended a weekend Advanced Speaking Seminar in New York City. The first night, there was a “get acquainted” orientation dinner, we introduced ourselves, heard the outline for the program, and were told about the award for Best Speaker.
As we were leaving, Oliver Crom, President of Dale Carnegie Courses International told me he would like to have breakfast with us Sunday morning before our flight back to Chicago, IL. We enjoyed the training and gained new insights on how to craft a compelling, inspirational speech. Striving for the recognition that winning the Best Speech Contest could bring, spurred us all to participate at the highest level possible, do our best in the friendly competition on Saturday afternoon, the final day.
For the next three nights, the question kept running in the back of my mind, “Why does Ollie want to have breakfast with me? Did I do something wrong?” Maybe that’s why I didn’t win first place in the Championship Speech Contest. I’m not used to coming in second.
Sunday morning, he sent his driver around to pick us up. Off we went to one of the most opulent restaurants I’ve ever eaten in. Fine China, stained glass windows, finished fine wood trim, beautiful furniture, and fresh flowers centerpieces, it was spectacular! Halfway through our breakfast Ollie asked,
“Larry, how do you like Rockford?”
Without hesitation, “We love it!”
“How much longer do you want to stay there?”
Again, No hesitation, “Not a minute longer than we have to.”
What he asked me next practically blew me out of my chair.
“How would you like the Oregon territory?”
I had only been in Rockford for 18 months. The company’s philosophy: “once assigned a territory, expect to be there for the rest of your career,” (even though that was never my plan). Still, only eighteen months! I had heard there were problems in Oregon but thought the territory had already been reassigned. There were far more problems than I had heard. Mr. Crom wanted me there as soon as possible. We discussed the details and agreed on the timeline.
The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of engaging at the highest level, where I am, doing what I am doing with excellence, even when I have my eye on a different, better future.
The action I call you to take is to keep your eye on the prize. Give all you’ve got with excellence to what you are doing today. Your future depends on it!
“Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side.”