The Coach's Corner

Archive for March, 2014

A tribute to my father and mentor

March 31st, 2014 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment
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On December 7, 2013, Al Doescher, a common man with a lot of wisdom, passed after enjoying a very fruitful life. In reflecting upon his life, I connected some dots I had never thought of before. The following is partially therapy, but hopefully some advice that will enhance your life and business. Enjoy.

As many of you know, Frank Moran, founding partner of Plante Moran, had an enormous impact on my life and our family; as a result, he has been mentioned or quoted many times in previous blogs or in our Food for Thought articles. The first time I heard Frank speak, it was special. His philosophies connected to something deep inside of me. From that first moment, I said, “I’m all in” — and I never looked back for 40 years.

Those of you who have been receiving our blogs know we identified four traits observed in the greatest leaders, and labeled them the “Big 4” ( Read them here: Big 4 and Big 3). The first trait is a high degree of self-knowledge or, as Socrates would say, “Know thyself.” A new insight for me has been the realization that my dad and Frank Moran were philosophically similar. Now I know why I was so at home at Plante Moran!

Anyway, here are 10 Al Doescher proverbs:

  1. Every day is a bonus.
  2. Life is a bowl of cherries. Watch out for the pits.
  3. One day at a time.
  4. It is what it is.
  5. What you gonna do?
  6. You can’t spend watcha ain’t got.
  7. Save your nickels and dimes.
  8. He puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else.
  9. The Golden Years ain’t so Golden.
  10. He’s dumb like a fox.

Hopefully there are one or two that will be helpful to you in your life or business.

In recent years I have come to realize that, most days, I draw upon the mentoring I received as a child. So now you know more about me, too.

Three life lessons learned from team sports

March 17th, 2014 // Tom Doescher // 2 Comments
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Recently I (Tom) was asked by a former Plante Moran colleague, Brian Kirby, to give a locker-room pep talk to the Sacred Heart School’s eighth-grade boys basketball team. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized that almost every week I find myself in a situation where I draw upon my team sports experience from decades ago. When it came time to meet with them, I told the student athletes that although their focus today is appropriately on basketball, the lessons they are learning will make them successful in life. The following are the three lessons I selected to highlight:

  1. Set goals and prepare. Those of you who regularly read our blogs know we are obsessed with being focused. I asked the student athletes if they were familiar with the famous line from Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” We also discussed the concept of “deliberate practice” from Geoff Colvin’s book, Talent is Overrated, and the importance of practicing.
  2. Put the team’s interests first (as the cliche goes, there is no “I” in team). I told the young men that in so many companies today — like Google, Apple, etc. — associates frequently work on global project teams with co-workers who speak different languages and come from different cultures. The lessons they are learning from Coach Kirby at Sacred Heart are preparing them to be successful in today’s collaborative world.
  3. Win and lose gracefully (i.e., learn to overcome adversity). We discussed celebrating their victories appropriately and learning from their defeats, but never giving up.

Fortunately for me, this was a very mature group of 13-year-old young men. I could tell that thanks to the tutelage of Coach Kirby, their parents, and their school, these guys get it already!

I left really encouraged about the future generation and, as often happens, I may have learned more from them than they did from me.

Have you learned these three life lessons? Are you applying them in your company?

If you are a productive narcissistic leader, keep reading

March 3rd, 2014 // Tom Doescher //
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This is a continuation of our three-blog series regarding narcissistic leaders. If you haven’t already read the previous two installments, you can read them here: “Is a narcissistic leader a bad leader?” and How to be successful working with a productive narcissistic leader. Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissistic Leaders — a book that definitely broadened our thinking related to leaders — includes in his book an 80-question assessment that you can take to determine your personality type. If you’re a productive narcissistic leader and you want to maximize your impact on the world, we would strongly recommend you find a partner, or what Maccoby calls a “trusted sidekick.” This person needs to understand you, and not want to change you. They need to be strong (sure of themselves, but not arrogant) and, as they say, they must be comfortable in their own skin. They need to share your dream and be very knowledgeable about your business. They need to be able to tell you the truth (and be good at timing this discussion), even when you do not want to hear it.

If it turns out that you’re a productive narcissistic leader, don’t let it intimidate you. You’re in pretty good company with Henry Ford, Herb Kelleher, and Bill Gates. Just follow their examples.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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