Yesterday I went to the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade and rally….along with 1.4 million others. An event of that magnitude is no doubt going to leave a lasting mark, for a variety of reasons, and there were enough aspects of the day that I could have blog content for the next two weeks. However, knowing that I need to gently move on from the post-championship revelry and return to post-championship normalcy, I’ve elected to condense the content into this blog entry – one which speaks to how to perform excellently in your life. Note: I missed yesterday’s blog because the parade and subsequent decision to eat wings and drink some beer with friends afterwards. As a result, I did not complete my daily blog for the day. So, a lesson to be had here: Sometimes its ok to miss things. Whether its work/blog for a parade or fun with friends. Key is to get back on track. I’m getting back on track…today.Here we go!
Boundaries. Parades need them. When you they don’t have them you end up standing for 8 hours because the start was delayed because people are in the street. Which, is the…parade…route! Can’t fault the city of Cleveland though. This was their first ever parade of this magnitude. But next time, set up barriers and boundaries that don’t allow people to get in the street. Boundaries create space, allow things to move smoothly, prevents unnecessary disruptions, and reduces clutter. How are your boundaries? Do you need some?
Anchors. In the anticipation of the event my friends and I tried to plan for the best way to see as much of the parade, rally, or both, only to find out that really, there is no way to effectively plan for this. Outside of knowing you’ll need some snacks and bottled water, there’s no telling how much room will still be available on the lawn, or where is the best vantage point, or if we should only watch the rally and stand in line. Nope, there is no heuristic. As such, we just rolled with it and hoped for the best. It worked out, but not as well as it could have if we did it over again knowing what we know now. Anchors are important. But what happens if you don’t have them? What are you anchors and heuristics for doing things? What do you use in certain situations to navigate, gather information, and create an effective picture? How would you respond with nothing?
Reverse antagonism. Mad props to the Cleveland City police department for managing HUGE crowds both after the win on Sunday night and during the “chaos” of the parade. Rather than approaching the demonstrative and massive crowd in an antagonistic way they instead aligned with the group. Rather than yelling, they gently motioned people to move, dapped fists, and put “we’re number 1” fingers (not the f-you kind) into the air, while the horse slowly proceeded and created space. I was amazed! This approach got the crowd to change their minds about being in the middle of the road. They behaved differently than they were before. What behaviors would you like the people in your life to change? Can you benefit from aligning with the others instead of antagonizing them all the time? Give some fist pumps instead.
Slow and steady. You’ve seen the images. The streets were completely filled. As such the parade was delayed because the streets were impassable. How do you possibly clear the people from the streets when there is seemingly no place to go? Well, you do it slowly, steadily, and deliberately. The Cleveland police knew they weren’t going to clear the entire parade route. They were only focused on the area of the route immediately in front of them. As a result, what seemed like an impossible task (clearing the streets) was made possible by slow, steady, deliberate steps. What impossible task are you facing that just needs to be approached in a slow, steady, deliberate way?
THE PRETZELS PURCHASE (otherwise known as the Tale of CVS)
Leverage the environment. I felt smart. It was early in the day, hadn’t had breakfast, and knew I should probably get something to tie me over until “later.” Close to our spot was a CVS. Little did I know that by going into this CVS I would get to witness greatness. Obviously there was a huge crowd beginning to form. With big crowds, comes big lines…in stores. CVS is a store. So I was super impressed to see the system that was in placed. To start, I saw a very orderly line that ended at the cashier stand. However, where was the line located? Right down the snack aisle. What a smart decision to have the line go right through the aisle where the most goodies were at. I elected to grab at pretzels and other impulse purchases (beef jerky, fruit snacks, etc) that I might not have otherwise picked up had I not stood in line in this aisle. The enrivoment was leveraged for more sales. How can you leverage your environment to sell more, be more productive, get your workouts done, meet new people, etc? Are you in the right aisle?
Systems work. The cashiers at CVS were rockstars! The one lady was working two stations. As she was checking out one person, she would call the next person up to the other register. Hence, no time was wasted on people walking up to the register or making a last minute lurch at some other product. Back and forth she went going from one register to another seamlessly. The other cashiers had one register, but by her doubling up it increased productivity by an additional 25% (I think that math is right). That’s a lot of extra customers! What small hack can you do to increase your X, Y, or Z by 25%? Do you have a system? Need one?
THE LINCOLN PARK PUB
Whats important Now. By the end of the parade we had had enough of the crowd and the heat and the standing. So we elected to go to the Lincoln Park pub for some wings and a couple of beers. Not only were we able to watch the rally on TV, but I also saw elite performance by the bartender. She and the cook were the only ones working! Obviously, not anticipating the amount of customers that would be flowing in due to the championship event. What impressed me was her ability to focus on only the customer at hand. There were plenty of people waiting to give their orders, but one-by-one she informed the customers of the long wait for food, took the order, entered the check, and poured a beer. All while delivering the food to others. She focused on what or more appropriately, who is important now. Are you getting distracted by other “customers?” Can you benefit from identifying who or what is important now? You might surprise yourself. Identify and engage.
Composure. This approach of one-by-one who/what is important now helped her to remain composed. She could have easily gotten flustered and allowed the wheels to fall off. She also remained polite. As such, I responded more positively towards her as a customer and kept my expectations in line. Her ability to focus on the now and remain composed in this pressure packed situation was impressive and likely earned her a lot of extra money that day. I know I tipped graciously! Are you composed under pressure? Might focusing on the now benefit you? Take control of what you can and progress.
Excellence is everywhere if you open your eyes. Though there may have been a championship drought in Cleveland for 52 years, there have been people winning in NE Ohio for just as long. You don’t need a championship to be excellent, but it’s a certainly a fun way to notice and celebrate it. I’m glad I did because it reminded me that there is excellence in action everywhere.