We all have so much to offer.
Clients expect to learn something from consultants. That’s why they hire them. A good consultant brings special skills and an outside perspective to whatever the issue is that caused them to be hired in the first place.
To be clear, this isn’t a story about how much clients learned from me. Maybe, every once in a while, I brought a little expertise to a situation. But my purpose today is to focus on some life lessons I learned from a client over a period of years, including this past Saturday.
As I said in an early blog (#22 to be exact), I learned some great lessons about both basketball AND life from Gordon Gund and Wayne Embry during the years I worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gordon taught me a ton about loyalty to others. Wayne showed me the importance of strong values and sticking to those regardless of pressure in the moment. There are lots of flashy people in professional sports. Gordon and Wayne, on the other hand, were rock-solid leaders - all about team, not personal glory.
I am revisiting all this because last weekend Karen and I were guests at the annual induction of new members of the Cavaliers Wall of Honor at Rocket Mortgage Field House.
My good friend, Gordon, was one of the inductees. Inducted along with him was World B. Free, who filled an empty Coliseum at Richfield in the early days, bringing a moribund franchise to life. The final 2022 Wall of Honor inductees were coach Lenny Wilkens and Campy Russell. In their acceptance speeches, all four of these men focused on their families and friends. They talked about how much relationships both on- and off-the-court have meant to them over the years.
I was especially taken with Lenny’s stories about being raised in Brooklyn. One regarded a priest who helped guide him through his youth. Another was about Jackie Robinson of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball fame, who Lenny - as a kid - got to know a little. He talked about how impressed he was by the way Jackie played sports the right way.
Campy Russell, now part of the Cavaliers broadcasting team, spoke eloquently about being raised in Pontiac, Michigan, in a tiny house with eight brothers and three sisters. He focused especially on his dad and how his father’s tremendous work ethic has influenced him all his life - a wonderful lesson that I’m sure wasn’t lost on his grandchildren in the audience.
We can all benefit so much from each other if we just pay attention. There are lots of lessons to learn and relearn. These lessons are all around us. We just have to be open to expanding our horizon.
I hope I learn a new one today.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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