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Blindsided Leadership – Value of Courage



Tuesday I took a half day off to travel to Roosevelt High School in Des Moines with one of my clients, Roger Vorhies of Schaus Vorhies Construction and a friend of mine, Dan McGovern. We wanted to see firsthand the work that Sports World is doing as their former pro athlete’s deliver their message of positive choices and hope to young students.
The message parallels well with Positioning Systems Inside Advantage: Strategic Discipline. Ray McElroy, a safety/cornerback for the Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions and current chaplain for the Chicago Bears spoke about making positive choices on drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence. How many of the students heard and responded to the message? Out of 86 that Ray spoke to in less than 45 minutes I’m not sure. They were given a card at the end of the presentation to submit their concerns and make a commitment to be drug and alcohol free. A good number turned in their cards. Ray pointed out that 94% of teens have tried or are using alcohol or drugs already. Alcohol is the largest contributor to death in teenagers. You may question the impact Ray’s message can have. He provided several stories of teenagers who drank and faced severe consequences. One student, who decided to drag race with a friend while drunk, got into a car accident severely injuring his passenger while hurtling into a vehicle that contained 4 teenage girls, one that was in his class, the other his girlfriend, killing both of them.  
I haven’t verified this statistic, but Mark Riley the sponsor for Sports World’s presentations in the Des Moines area indicated that graduation rates in Des Moines are as low as 65%. That’s an appalling number for a Midwestern community. 
The discipline that Ray McElroy spoke about to these students takes courage. Rare courage for students to exemplify under the peer pressure that is present in schools and our society today. When I compare that to the discipline we ask our clients to make when working strategically on their business it pales in comparison. Yet many business owners fail to recognize that their leadership is critical in making an impact on their employee’s performance. Failing to develop meeting rhythms, establish accountabilities and metrics to measure performance as well as creating a positive work environment is a simple lack of the courage and discipline to provide the proper systems and structure to steer their business for growth.
This weekend we also watched The Blind Side. The story of Michael Oher is inspiring, yet the story of the family that sponsored him is perhaps more so. It reminded me how blessed I’ve been and perhaps how little I’ve done to help my fellow man. My decision to get involved in Sports World is part of my new found courage and discipline to do something for others and make an impact.  In doing so I will be fulfilling my leadership vision and personal mission. Do you have the courage and discipline to do something as well?

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