Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Where it All Begins...in the Meeting Rooms

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by continuing to give background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
I first want to apologize for the delay in my sport's analogy entry this week, but the delay is what sparked the topic for this week. Like in most sport's arenas, the fans and supporters of the program only see the games, maybe a practice or two, and if they are really lucky they will see their favorite player or coach out in public and will be lucky enough to get an autograph.
But what those fans and supporters of programs such as Cabrini Connections don't see is all the behind the scenes work that it takes to build a strong and successful program, and the majority of that success can be traced back to the preparation and discussions that take place in the meeting rooms. Our program is trying to get 'one day better, everyday' and the ways in which we have been attempting to accomplish this is by increasing our discussions about the program.
The head coach and the assistant coaches (Thursday nights) took the time out after the practice to make some evaluations. The head coach noticed some areas that could be improved and sat down with the assistant coaches to not only share the areas that could use some improvements, but to get input from the assistant coaches on ways we could all share in building an even better program. Any successful head coach in almost any program in history paid attention to the small details because they knew that small details such as mental errors could lead to a loss. And these small details are some of the topics that we discussed, because in real sports a team could lose a game, and in our case a loss could be a loss of a kid to the streets, gangs, drugs , or worse. So with that as a possibility, it is extremely important that not only the General Manager (Mr. Dan Bassill) and the head coach knows and understand this, its important that every player(students) assistant coach (staff, volunteer coordinators, and mentors), and fans and supporters (donor) buy into that this ideology as well.
We addressed the top 3 issues that we felt could prevent our team from winning and discussed ways of eliminating those roadblocks. And maybe most importantly we talked about how overall improvements in the areas of teamwork, communication, consistency, and accountability on our parts is the starting point. We are the coaches of the program and hopefully all coaches know and understand the the 'team is only as strong as the leaders' the coaches...and that's us!
The team did not stop there with the evaluation of the program and with plans for a GREAT 2009. The several members of the coaching staff met on Friday and on Monday as well. The General Manager took part in the meeting and provided his coaching staff with a lot of personal knowledge and resources that the we could use to get the results that we are looking for. We took the time out to not only analyze the playbook, but to locate resources that will assist the coaches, the players, the team, and the overall Cabrini Connections' program. And the head coach and the assistant coach continued with another break out session to break down the game plan even more. We redefined our roles and expectation and how those changes can and will lead to further and future success of the team.
And for those who may be reading this series for the first time, let me help you get up to speed on what I am trying to do. The Cabrini Connections' program can be related to a football organization or any sport's organization in many ways, and that is what I am attempting to display week in and week out with this blog series. Both organizations have a front office, coaches, players, fans/supporters, and both organization works to be successful. Both organizations work towards a goal, has key principals (teamwork, communication, consistency, accountability, and others...)that they follow in an effort to be successful, and the world would not be the same without both organizations!
In the NFL the ultimate measure of success in many people's eyes is winning the Super Bowl and building a successful franchise. At Cabrini Connections our ultimate goal is for our students to graduate from high school, graduate from college, be in a career by the age of 25, and hopefully become an asset to the program to help others reach that goal. But in both organizations it takes efforts from EVERYBODY involved for these measures of success to come true; all of the members of the front office, the coaches, the players, the fans and supports have to BELIEVE and CONTRIBUTE!

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