Darren Woodson: Be compelled to drive your business forward
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
DALLAS — The seats of the Hilton Anatole hotel were filled in anticipation for the opening session of this year's Sunbelt Builders Show, featuring former Dallas Cowboy Darren Woodson as a keynote speaker.
Woodson, a three-time Super Bowl champion and now ESPN analyst, was set to inspire the attendees of the Texas Association of Builders' trade show with a lesson on "accepting change." Despite Woodson being out of the NFL since retiring in 2004, his experience and perspective from the football field provided several valuable lessons key to running any business successfully.
He kicked off the opening session with a history lesson on the Dallas Cowboys, and how his coach, Jimmy Johnson, shaped his current business acumen. Woodson says his biggest takeaway from football life under Johnson were his lessons on commitment.
"What Jimmy taught me, from the process of learning from afar, was that, there are four levels of commitment," Woodson said.
These levels are applicable to both professional and personal lives, and they are essential to understand if you are seeking to change your organization and move it forward. The four levels are easily identifiable in any business and can dictate whether or not success is on the horizon.
Level 1: Existent
Woodson said the first level of commitment is someone who is existent.
"Believe or not, in the NFL, I had teammates who were merely existent committal types," Woodson said. "Their only goal was to be in the NFL. They didn't have a passion for the game or even any interest in playing."
By definition alone, this type of employee or team member is "just there." Arriving to work on time is not a priority, nor is completing the tasks of the job. This is the most frustrating type of employee because they are not on board with anybody's mission other than their own.
Level 2: Compliant
A step above existing, Woodson said, is complying. At the compliant level of commitment, you will see an employee who does at least the bare minimum.
While the existent member doesn't really care to contribute anything, compliant employees will at least do what they are told — with the key being that they have to be told.
"Compliant people are the definition of mediocrity," Woodson said. "Don't ask for anything above and beyond what they are required to do — and most certainly, don't expect it."
Level 3: Committed
Beyond existing and complying is where Woodson says are the committed. Committed people surprise for the good. They arrive on time, they are dedicated to the cause and do what it takes to get things done.
They work hard from 8-5, but once they get home, they turn it off. They committed to their job, but outside of that they have other things going on.
"There isn't anything wrong with someone being committed — these are great people to have in your organization," Woodson continued. "But going from good to great — take it to another level."
Level 4: Compelled
A compelled employee is at the heart of your success. They arrive early and stay late. They are the first to volunteer. If you ask for something to be done in a week, they do it in three days.
Beyond their commitment lies something that can't be taught, and that is their passion.
"That person that is compelled — you don't have to worry about them," Woodson said. "You know when game time shows up, and they get introduced, they know it's time to go to war."
Woodson concluded his presentation by asking the audience members to not only think hard about the people in their organization, but to turn the mirror on themselves as well.
"I encourage you to think about yourself, and think about who you are," he said. "Am I committed to doing what I am supposed to, or am I compelled?"
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