You Can Run But You Can’t Hide – Overcoming the “This Too Shall Pass” Mentality


My high school gym class was at a small Midwest school in the late 1970’s. The torture of “attempting” to vault over a horse, serve a volleyball, run and swing a field hockey stick, shoot an arrow, and learn to square dance is something about which I could write a movie, a comedy to be more specific. Hitting any nerves?

Two weeks of each activity and it’s over, right? This too shall pass…

Fast forward to the meeting where you tell your team you want them to create awareness with each contact they encounter. You use all the suggested selling examples…the McDonald’s upsize, the Foot Locker sports socks with your new tennis shoes, even the beer guy at the ball game asking “need a bag of peanuts with that drink?” Your team stares at you like you have created a language incomprehensible to other humans. Their eyes say that they will humor you, while it lasts. You know they think that “this too shall pass,” but you want it to stick.

What do you do? Show them how and then observe. Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State football coach, once said that you tell a player once how to do a skill but you show them a thousand times.

  • Role-model it with a script that is clear, understandable, and transferable – “Mr. Garcia, has anybody told you how we can save you time and money with our newly enhanced on-line banking?”
  • Let them practice.
  • Set a goal – how many referrals should they obtain this week?
  • Observe the player (employee) for the skill or behavior looking for very specific positives and areas for improvement.
  • Provide feedback starting with the player’s own “self critique”. Positives first, please.
  • Continue to offer skill building as needed whether it is from you, a specialist, or a peer-coach.

By the way, I loved gym. I loved my gym teacher, Mrs. Nestor. She made me believe that I had some athletic ability. She gave me a passion for competition and spurred my confidence. Isn’t that what all good coaches should do?

Your thoughts?

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

4 responses to “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide – Overcoming the “This Too Shall Pass” Mentality

  1. Beverly Fortenberry

    Cindy,
    Your comments about ‘This too shall pass’ were really well done. I love using stories to make the point. The fact that you ended by using Mrs. Nestor’s positive coaching of you and her support brought closure to the whole point.

  2. Thank you Bev! I appreciate the thoughts and truly feel any good coach MAKES you believe and gives you fire in your heart!

  3. Cindy,
    I would have to concur, well, not about the love of gym class, as my hand-eye coordination is about none. There is nothing worse than trying to get the ball rolling on a subject and having your “partner(s)” just look at you with blank stares and begin talking about another topic unrelated to which you were speaking on. Also, it really only takes a few small words of encouragement and a couple pat on the backs to really build someones confidence, it truely makes a difference.

  4. Yes, leadership is critical to the success of any team so your points are so valid and well taken. I appreciate your feedback, and your sense of humor!

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