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Gale Sayers, an inspiration regardless of your industry

“Price, quality and service are what’s important in business, not the fact that I used to run with a football 25 years ago,” said Gale Sayers.

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Gale Sayers: Leaders on leading

I don’t usually get too worked up about sports figures and their respective biographies but one in particular has stayed with me throughout my life: The story of Gale Sayers is a story about leading by example, fellowship and giving back to your community.

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Gale Sayers was a heck of a football player (you can marvel at his on-field dynamics on Youtube) but an even more successful entrepreneur. When I was a kid and deep into sports I was immediately attracted to the Sayers’ work ethic and dedication on the football field. His best-selling autobiography “I am Third” was even required reading when I was in school.

Prepare to play, prepare to quit

When he retired due to knee injuries, Sayers set out to prove that he wasn’t just an ex-jock who was living off his name. He went back to school and completed his Bachelor’s Degree and then his Master’s Degree in Athletics Administration. Commented Sayers, “…When I played the game of pro football back in the 1960s-70’s there wasn’t a lot of money to be made, so I had to do other things after I left football to make a living. I continue to tell a lot of players ‘As you prepare to play, you must prepare to quit.'”

He continued, “…I was looking for a field of the future. I got into computers, and I’ve been doing that ever since. We started out selling hardware, software and network integration services and have continued to expand.”

Vision

Granted, Gale Sayers had a few things going for him: he was a well-known and respected football player. He was the youngest player ever to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. As a man of color he was able to attract minority business to his computer.

According to his second biography, “My Life and Times, Sayers chose the computer field and began his company in 1982.

Sayers initial efforts started out very small: he called businesses and connected with their respective purchasing departments. Regarding those first years in the business, Sayers underscored the importance of persistence saying, “I didn’t have a lot of product knowledge at first, but I knew that computers were the field of the future. I found out what my customers needed, worked out a price and got the product delivered.”

Going the distance

In his second biography “My life and Times”, Sayers points out that during the boom years of the late 1980’s and early 90’s his company was pulling in almost 300 million dollars annually. By the mid-90’s the bubble had burst and Sayers was forced to re-structure yet he did so while being able to avoid declaring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. To that end, Sayers’ biggest success and challenge was a two-edge sword: the pre dot.com technology boom of the early 90’s allowed Sayers to borrow money and expand in quantum leap fashion, yet when the bubble broke he had to reconfigure his company and holdings in a way that allowed his to continue moving forward.

Quote me on that

I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.”
Said during an interview after his Sayers’ comeback from knee-surgery to once again lead the NFL in rushing.

The same words are easily applicable to his efforts to re-structure his company in 2003 after getting hammered by market fluctuations and the threat of bankruptcy.

The choice at the time was for him to cut his losses and move on to something else or figure out how to rise above it. He chose the latter and rebounded to even more success.

When you step on the field, you cannot concede a thing.
Whether it’s a football field or the arena of competition in the business world, you have to do your research, know your opponent and do what you have to do to win.

The Lord is First, my friends are second and I am Third.
A phrase Sayers learned from his college track. Really embodies what playing it forward is all about. You can’t just take; you have to give back as well. You give back without thinking “What’s in it for me?”  Even before Sayers had the success and money to be involved in the type of philanthropy and fund-raising that he currently does, he was always supporting a number of causes both big and small that were within his means.

A life story that is full of examples of what embracing the entrepreneurial spirit is all about. Gale Sayers has led by example, led by doing and in later years has surrounded himself with a staff that embodies the characteristics that made him great in the first place.

Check it out. Ol’ Gar gives it 10 stars!

#GaleSayers

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

Opinion Editorials

Facebook fights falsehoods (it’s a false flag)

(EDITORIAL) Facebook has chosen Reuters to monitor its site for false information, but what can one company really do, and why would Facebook only pick one?

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Reuters checks facebook

So Facebook has finally taken a step to making sure fake news doesn’t get spread on it’s platform. Like many a decision from them though, they haven’t been thorough with their venture.

I am a scientifically driven person, I want facts, figures, and evidence to determine what is reality. Technology is a double edged sword in this arena; sure having a camera on every device any person can hold makes it easy to film events, but deepfakes have made even video more questionable.

Many social media platforms have tried to ban deepfakes but others have actually encouraged it. “I’ll believe it when I see it” was the rally cry for the skeptical, but now it doesn’t mean anything. Altering video in realistic ways has destroyed the credibility of the medium, we have to question even what we see with our eyes.

The expansion of the internet has created a tighter communication net for all of humanity to share, but when specific groups want to sway everyone else there isn’t a lot stopping them if they shout louder than the rest.

With the use of bots, and knowing the specifics of a group you want to sway, it’s easy to spread a lie as truth. Considering how much information is known about almost any user on any social media platform, it’s easy to pick targets that don’t question what they see online.

Facebook has been the worst offender in knowing consumer data and what they do with that data. Even if you never post anything political, they know what your affiliation is. If you want to delete that information, it’s hidden in advertising customization.

Part of me is thrilled that Facebook has decided to try and stand against this spread of misinformation, but how they pursued this goal is anything but complete and foolproof.

Reuters is the news organization that Facebook has chosen to fact check the massive amount of posts, photos, and videos that show up on their platform everyday. It makes sense to grab a news organization to verify facts compared to “alternative facts”.

A big problem I have with this is that Reuters is a company, companies exist to make money. Lies sell better than truths. Ask 2007 banks how well lies sell, ask Enron how that business plan worked out, ask the actors from Game of Thrones about that last season.

Since Reuters is a company, some other bigger company could come along, buy them, and change everything, or put in people who let things slide. Even Captain America recognizes this process. “It’s run by people with agendas, and agendas change.” This could either begin pushing falsehoods into Facebook, or destroy Reuters credibility, and bite Facebook in the ass.

If some large group wants to spread misinformation, but can’t do it themselves, why wouldn’t they go after the number one place that people share information?

I really question if Reuters can handle the amount of information flowing through Facebook, remember almost a 3rd of the whole world uses Facebook. 2.45 Billion people will be checked by 25,800 employees at Reuters? I can appreciate their effort, but they will fail.

Why did Facebook only tag one company to handle this monumental task? If you know that many people are using your platform, and such a limited number of people work for the company you tasked with guarding the users, why wouldn’t you tag a dozen companies to tackle that nigh insurmountable number of users?

I think it’s because Facebook just needs that first headline “Facebook fights falsehoods”. That one line gets spread around but the rest of the story is ignored, or not thought about at all. If there is anything Facebook has learned about the spread of fake information on their platform, it’s how to spread it better.

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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