Black Mamba’s Clan

The final athlete I will be taking by request is Kobe Bryant.  At work today, I asked my fellow employee Tyler Cox who he thought was the best leader in sports.  With out hesitation he told me his answer.  Kobe Bryant is a future hall of famer who has played for the Los Angeles Lakers his entire career.  In many people’s eyes, Kobe is the greatest player of all time, or is just as great as Michael Jordan was.  Either way, Kobe mastered his craft and has had a jump shot few players could guard for years.  Bryant has won 5 championships, 2 finals MVPs, and one regular season MVP.  He will go down as one of the greatest ever to shoot a J.

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Kobe Bryant is very similar to Michael Jordan is his leadership style.  He works harder than any other players in the league and held his team accountable for doing the same. Kobe did have the assistance of Shaquille O’Neil for three of his rings, but Bryant played a major role in all three of those championships.  Recently, Kobe has been struggling with his team chemistry and getting everyone on the same page.  Chemistry along and beat most teams in the NBA.  Knowing when I dribble to the left, John Doe will cut to the hole, is a huge advantage over your opposition.  Kobe Bryant is a great leader and basketball player.

Chemistry is a major attribute every organization should possess.  Chemistry can be obtained in many easy and different ways as well.  Doing things outside of work increases relationships and comfort between individuals in an organization.  When a new employee is hired, invite him to lunch so he can experience the culture of your work community.  Chemistry can make or break any organization.

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The Humble Lion

The next athlete I will be talking about this week is a suggestion courtesy of my co-worker Melvin.  He has been boxing his entire life, and says he draws insight from Barry Sanders.  Barry Sanders is a hall of fame running back that played for the Detroit Lions.  Arguably the best running back ever, Sanders could literally run over his competition. Only standing 5’8’’, he was told he would never be anything special in the NFL.  He proved his doubters wrong, running for more yards and scoring more touchdowns than almost any other running back in history.  His abilities on the football field were not the only thing he was known for.  He is also one of the most reserved individuals to be in the public eye.  He was a great leader for this reason.

“Barry Sanders to the 30… 20…10…5 Touchdown!” was heard over and over again while Sanders was on the field.  Most professional football player follow a touchdown with an excessive celebration.  Spiking the ball or even running to the middle of the field and mocking the opponent’s logo like Terrell Owens.  Unlike those players, Barry would run to the referee hand him the ball and run to the sidelines.  Sanders treated achievement the way it supposed to be, like he had been there before.  Barry Sanders was a humble leader, and showed his teammates the different between confidence and cocky.  The “Humble Lion” was king of the football jungle until his early retirement.

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Being humble is important in business too.  It not only gains respect from your co-workers, but from your customers and competition.  Being modest shows people you aren’t done yet.  You have your eye on the future and will stop when your job is done. Lead your team to success.

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Russ Won’t Busts

Earlier this week, I was talking to my co-workers about who I should blog about. Everyone was naming off their favorite athletes, and for many, I already finished a blog about their favorite athlete.  I decided I would be taking requests for who I should write about being an influential leader.  Raffy Rodriguez got the first chance to put in his two cents, and he choose Russell Westbrook.  Westbrook is the starting point guard for the OKC Thunder and recently suffered his first injury ever.  Russ tore a tendon in his knee and will likely be out a month in the most crucial moment of the basketball season, the playoffs. Luckily for the Thunder, they still have Kevin Durant.  Russell could return for the conference finals or NBA finals, if he’s lucky.

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Russell Westbrook is one of the most explosive point guards in the league.  His game is almost perfect, and he is one of the reasons the Thunder finished first in the Western conference. In Westbrook’s entire career, he has never missed a basketball game.  Even during high school and college, Russell has always been there for this team.  There is only one other thing Russell has done every single basketball game, remember his late best friend Khelcey Barrs. Westbrook says Khelcey influenced not only his state of mind but also his abilities on the court.  Russell Westbrook plays with an angry fire, remembering his long lost friend every game he has played in the NBA. Russell’s motivation is to show the world what a great basketball player his friend could have been.  He not only wants to be remember as one of the greatest point guards of all time, he wants everyone to remember his friend who has taken from the world for having too big of a heart.

Important events in our lives have a large impact on our future and way of thinking.  Finding something that not only inspires you, but makes you a better person can greatly help your success in business.  Drive yourself to make enough profits for you and your friend who couldn’t be here.  Lead your organization and change the culture to make your employees not only better performers, but better individuals.

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Back in Mays Day

During the civil rights movement, the biggest sport in America was baseball.  Like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays paved the may for African American athletes in the United States.  Also coming out New York, Willie Mays played for the Giants, who soon after moved to San Francisco. Willie Mays was also told to keep his mouth shut when white Americans were trying to put him down.  Unlike Robinson, this was easy for Mays.  Famously known for being a quite reserved man, Willie was notorious for not giving interviews.  It took writer James Hirsch seven years to convince him to do an authorized biography about his life.

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Willie Mays grew up in the deep south of Alabama.  He learned at a young age the black man that keeps his mouth shut is a safe man.  During the 50’s and 60’s, Jim Crow laws were still present in many southern states.  African Americans were not allowed to use anything white America was using, that includes playing fields.  Influential athletes like Willie Mays opened doors for future athletes everywhere. Willie Mays proved someone should not be judged on their skin color, but on their performance in their respected field.  Mays was not only fast on the base path and field, he also could hit for power and had a tremendously strong arm.  He was an inspiration to young African Americans all around the nation.  Though Mays did not make public announcements about what was wrong with American, he proved it on the diamond.

In Organizations, work can offering troubling situations and problems.  In certain situations, it best to keep your mouth shut and work. The thing about work and words is perception.  Words can be perceived as something different than they are intended.   Work is seen in two realms, good work and bad work.  If you work your butt off and keep your lip zipped, good things will come your way.

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Cassius Ali

After watching the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson and his struggle to become a star in the professional baseball league, I decided my next two blogs this week will be on athletes who made a stand for their race during the civil rights movement.  The next influential athlete I will be talking about is Cassius Clay a.k.a. Muhammad Ali.  Cassius became Muhammad on March 6th, 1964, announcing he had converted to the religion of Islam.  Ali stood strong in what he believed, and that was the black man and woman was still not equal to the whites.  Muhammad Ali was drafted to the US Army during the Vietnam war. He famously said, “ I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong… they never called me nigger.”

Muhammad Ali faced many of the same problems Jackie Robinson faced during the early years of professional sports.  Being rejected from arenas, hotels, restaurants, and many other places because of their skin color.  One major difference between Ali and Robinson is Muhammad was not afraid to voice his opinion.  He knew he was the greatest and told the entire world he was.  He also knew being an African American was nothing to be ashamed of, and white people are no better than anyone else.  He spoke his vision of equality while rocking his opponents in the ring.

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, Lewiston, Maine, 1965

I believe struggle brings out the best in people.  Striving for something bigger than yourself and personal problems will result in people following your vision.  People struggle with difficult problems everyday at organizations.  I’m not saying the civil rights movement is equivalent to not being paid enough, but push through your struggles.  Let your positive vision be heard to not only better yourself but also people who are willing to listen.

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42

Over the weekend I went and saw 42, a movie about Jackie Robinson and what he did not only for the civil rights movement, but also baseball. Until Jackie Robinson became a Brooklyn Dodger in the late 1940’s, only white men could play professional baseball in the United States.  The slaves were free, but white and black were two colors that were not going to mix.  In many southern states, black players were not only not allowed in the hotels the teams were staying in, but sometimes could not play in the games due to fear of riot.  Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier for baseball.

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Jackie Robinson started out in the Negro league playing shortstop and batting .350.  The owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time, Branch Ricky, knew an African American’s money was just as good as a whites.  He wanted to bring a new face to baseball and open up a new market for the Brooklyn Bombers.  Ricky picked up Robinson, and put him on an affiliate of the Dodgers in Montreal.  In one of Robinson’s very first games in the South, a sheriff walked on the field and told his coach he would stop the game unless Jackie was removed from the field.  Jackie did what he was told only because of one thing Mr. Ricky told him to do… Branch Ricky wanted a player who was tough enough not to fight back.  He realized the only thing that would be written in the papers the next day would be, the black man that lost his temper, the black man who doesn’t belong.  Ricky wanted to show the world, men should not be judged on the color of their skin but on the depth of their character.

Jackie Robinson went on to be inducted into the baseball hall of fame, and open the door for players of all races to be accepted into the baseball arena.  Every year, the MLB hold a day to honor Jackie Robinson for what he did for the game of baseball.  On this day everyone on the teams that are playing, wears number 42, Jackie’s number. Sometimes keeping your mouth shut and taking the beating leads to great things.

Lots of leaders don’t hold all the power in their organization, and when they speak up for change, they are punished.  I found this out first hand the other week.  If you are a leader of something smaller than the organization, keep your mouth shut and keep up the hard work.  One day, your word will be the most important.  It may not be in the same organization or job, but sometimes leaders need a new path to show the way.

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Boston Bombing

Today was a sad day not only for athletes but also for everyone around the United States. At 2:50 pm this afternoon, two explosives were detonated at the Boston Marathon. At this time, it is reported that 2 have been killed with more than 100 injured.  CNN reports that they do have a suspect in custody, but no one knows for sure who demonstrated this act of terror.  Leadership from the President, Boston Police Department, and many others is crucial during this hard time.

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Every year over 20,000 runners flock to Bean Town to participate in the Boston Marathon. In case you didn’t know, a marathon is 26.2 miles, and people may walk, jog, or run.  For any individuals participating in this race, they are running for something bigger than themselves.  Some run to show themselves they can complete a feat so difficult nearly the entire population can complete it.  Other run for charities and causes to help benefit people less fortunate than them. Former New England Patriot and ESPN analysis formed a group called Teddy’s Team to help benefit people suffering from cancer.

At such a positive and inspiring event, how could someone try and take out a bunch of innocent people? Why would someone want to take away from people who are trying to better themselves and others?

Today I experienced what true leadership is.  Boston Marathon Officials, Paramedics, Policemen, and random runners who were trying to help ran into the line of fire to try and help those who were hurt. While runners and civilians were running away from the blast, these brave souls ran towards it.  Leadership is showing courage. Leadership is doing the right thing when no one else will.  Leadership is giving a chaotic crowd of people direction on how to get to a sage place.  I have tremendous respect for everyone in Boston, and my thoughts and prayers will be with them.

Please feel free to leave a comment, and follow me on Twitter @MitchMeranda

God Bless America!!!!

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Photo Credit sports.yahoo.com,

King Jame’s Kid Court

As I become a man, I have come to realize my actions affect other people’s lives that look up to me.  Being a role model is very important for improving the future. One of the greatest role models today is Miami Heat star Lebron James. Lebron not only leads his team to success, but teaches children who are less fortunate what it takes to be successful. Truly wise individuals know they need to improve the future for our kids.  Like myself, people look up to sports athletes to draw inspiration.

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Lebron James grew up in Akron, Ohio, raised by his mother.  Lebron James’s father was non-existent for his younger years, and Lebron always asked himself why his dad wasn’t around.  Lebron James knows first hand how important a positive male role model is to a young man and woman.  Lebron James frequents Boys and Girls Clubs all around the nation playing with kid and giving them inspirational advice.  He tells these kids who come from hard homes that with hard work and determination, anyone can be successful. James draws a lot of criticism from his haters because of his on court antics.  But whenever you are the best at something, people are going to tell you things to put you down.  Lebron pushes through adversity, and still helps children all around the country.

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Business men and women need to be role models.  The fact is almost everyone is not going to be a professional basketball player or play center field for the New York Yankees.  Business Leaders need to get out and show the kids there is a path other than sports.  Inspiring young adults to be entrepreneurs and business owners will have a ripple effect for years. The first aspect business advisors have to give is the importance of a college degree. WIthout one, it just makes it even harder to achieve your dreams.  So get out and change someone’s life.

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Football Fried Rice

During my younger years, I remember always watching 49er football games with my dad.  Watching Steven Young run and gun was one of my favorite things to do.  I enjoyed only one more thing than Mr. Young, and that is who he threw it to, Jerry Rice.  Jerry Rice is the best Wide Receiver in NFL history, and in my opinion the greatest football player of all time.  He not only hold every record for receivers in NFL history, he also hold most records for other stats like touchdowns and yards.  I used to have 3 Jerry Rice Jerseys and wish I could buy three more today.

Jerry Rice proved one thing during his time on the gridiron, work ethic trumps talents every time. Even though Jerry Rice was a very talented individual, he spent hours and hours grinding out rough and rigorous practice.  According to Barry Brownstein, Jerry Rice is the only person to ever put 10,000 hours into a thing called deliberate practice.  Deliberate practice is not just regular practice, it’s working on the weakest part of your game. Jerry Rice refined every aspect of his game until it was perfect.  He would run farther than anyone else would run, to make sure he was never tired during the forth quarter.  Jerry Rice is the Michael Jordan of football.

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Talented business men and women often run into this problem everyday.  One day your talent will disappear and you won’t be able to rely on it anymore.  Your skills are what will keep you relevant in your company or organization.  For instance, a well known salesman is known for his amazing one liners that lock in sales every time.  One day everyone will have heard those one-liners, what is that man to do?  Hopefully he has refined his customers’ service skill to keep the customers coming back.  Work ethic beats talent every time.

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Halfway Review

It is half way through the semester, its time to review the outstanding sports leaders I’ve been talking about.  Tonight’s blog will speak on all the athletes and their unique leadership skill that made them great.  I’ve written about great men and women’s leaders, and wrote on some whose leadership styles took their teams to disaster.

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The first athlete I wrote about was basketball great Michael Jordan.  He held his teammates accountable to his level of motivation and commitment to success.  Ray Lewis put out more effort than anyone else in the league.  His teammates followed his inspirational leadership style. Arguably, the greatest female soccer player of all time, Mia Hamm recognized a single player is nothing without the support of their team.  She showed her teammates recognition whenever possible.  Gabby Douglass didn’t listen to her critics and overcame the odds to win 2 gold medals in the Olympics.

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I then went back to the hardwood, and wrote about Kevin Durant.  His commitment to excellence and hard work lead his team to the NBA finals last year.  Lou Gehrig was known for his reliance and never giving up, no matter what.  He inspired his teammates by playing through excruciating injuries like broken feet and hands. Next I wrote about two individuals who directed their teams down the path of failure.  Terrell Owens and Allen Iverson’s leadership style lead the dispersion of their teams. They put their statics before the success of the team. Then I wrote about Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who’s versatility lead to multiple champions for the “Showtime” Lakers.  Peyton Manning’s preparation is unmatchable when it comes to sports.  His teammates followed his lead and also prepared harder than any team in the NFL.

I wrote about why professional athletes amazing talents aren’t the only reason they are successful. I enlisted 5 traits all leaders in sports possess, dedication to success, practice and preaching teamwork, followership, cognitive complexity, and performance under pressure.  Luck plays a part in almost every aspect of life.  For my 13th both, I wrote about how sometimes in business, its just good to be lucky.  Athletes are well known for their dedication to keeping the sports gods happy and lady luck on their side.

Leaders in business can use all of these attributes and traits to improve their organization.  The key is instilling these attributes into the culture of your organization.  Once the culture of your organization in hardworking, prepared employees who will to work hard for the success of the organization, you can consider yourself a champion of leadership.

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