Now that football season is back in full swing in the U.S., there’s no better time to discuss scrimmaging. However, we’re not talking about the traditional sports term in today’s podcast. Author and Motivational Speaker, Nathan Jamail recently released “The Leadership Playbook”, a guide which discusses the importance of coaching employees versus managing them.
A common theme in the book is the importance of scrimmaging. “Scrimmaging is getting into character to prepare for an upcoming event, while roleplaying is an exercise to see what you learn and/or know. Teams scrimmage to prepare for games. If you don’t learn how to scrimmage, you’re not getting the full effect of practice,” he says.
The idea of role playing can be intimidating for many members in Corporate America. However, Nathan believes this is due to the intent. He suggests swapping out roleplaying with scrimmaging. In sports, teams use scrimmage to not only practice, but to try out new techniques prior to Game Day. “It’s the time where you get to do what you think is right and test things out. When you create a culture of scrimmage, you’ll realize that your team will actually begin to have fun doing it,” he says.
Nathan first stumbled across this philosophy as a sales rep for a pager company in the 90s. He and his co-worker would have role-playing exercises to prepare for a long day of cold calling. A few years later, his friend (now boss) began to mandate role-playing. Many employees voiced fear due to the inherent judgmental nature of role-playing. However, in a scrimmage environment, the results shift. “I noticed that in a scrimmage culture, people are truly getting better, as opposed to role-play culture,” Nathan remarks, “The biggest difference that, when sustained, it becomes a way to communicate, as opposed to an activity.”
Nathan’s first philosophy of leadership (and most recent book) asserts that managers need to approach management like coaching. “In management, we spend time with people who need the attention. In coaching, we spend time with people who deserve the attention. In sports, players thrive for the coach’s attention. If we only spend times with people who need the attention, our attention turns into a consequence of failure.
You can’t coach someone who views your involvement as a negative,” he says. His second philosophy stems from the understanding that everyone needs training more so than practice. “Practice is getting better at something you already know. Training is learning something new,” he remarks. Coaching your employees to become better rather than just gaining more experience is crucial. “I have 20 years of experience golfing and I’m just as horrible as I was 20 years ago,” he jokes.
Nathan also believes that management should embrace conflict. “In coaching, we embrace conflict because we know that’s the only way to make people better,” he says. “In management, if someone isn’t able to embrace coaching and a scrimmage mindset, they should be cut from the team.”
He concludes his case for scrimmaging by asserting that making it into a practice only helps teams grow and learn. “If you and I scrimmaged before a client meeting, there is a 100% chance we would do better at that meeting. If we didn’t scrimmage, nothing would happen. There would be no consequence. Scrimmaging only helps.”
We have all been there. Feeling caged and unable to move forward due to real or perceived fears. But what if you realized that the cage was unlocked, and all you had to do was walk out? Zahra Al-Harazi, founder of Foundry Communications and UNICEF’s Canadian Ambassador, explains how entrepreneurs can overcome these boundaries. “There’s no lock on the cage,” she says, “No matter what cage you place yourself in or where others may put you, there’s never a lock there.”
Growing up in Yemen, she didn’t always subscribe to this idea. She moved to Canada with her children in 1996, where she became a stay at home mom. “I didn’t have any ambition and didn’t think I could really do much,” she admits. Upon realizing that this feeling wasn’t a regional thing, she began to think of ways to overcome it.
Fear had been holding her back from a variety of things, but she decided she didn’t have to be stuck there. She went on to live by this and share this philosophy at conferences and seminars across North America. Although she was mildly acrophobic, she took up a friend’s offer to go skydiving. “I threw up as soon as I landed,” she laughs, “But I did it.”
In order to escape the “cage”, Zahra found value in developing core values for herself and her business. “By developing these values and exemplifying them in everything you do, it allows you to live a more free life,” she says. For example, one of her core values states simply ‘Be Curious’. By consciously living that principle, she allows room for her curiosity to reign supreme and lead her to places where she may have once been afraid to go. “The fear never leaves. But you learn to work around it,” she says.
Another way to escape this fear is to overcome the reluctance to ask for assistance. “I have thirty mentors. I go to people for different things I need help with,” she says. When she was first starting out, she began to cultivate a tribe by asking for help.
“I learned how to be vulnerable and using that vulnerability to get out of this cage,” she recalls. When asked if she’s sometimes afraid to ask for help because she doesn’t want to “weak” or “ill-informed”, she admits that she does have these feelings sometimes. “However, I’ve learned that vulnerability can be contagious,” she says.
A tribe is undoubtedly the strongest tool in any entrepreneurs’ arsenal. When it comes to networking and discovering that tribe, she recommends that people develop a UVP (unique value proposition) and learn how to be of service to others in an authentic way. Additionally, she urges others to never discount someone prematurely, “Everyone has something to bring to the table.”
What “cage” have you locked yourself in? Is there a certain person that could help you get out of that cage? What can you bring to the table to overcome these fears? Let us know by Tweeting us at @Wisenapkin