Monday, April 15, 2013

"You...completed the privilege of playing"

In the midst of wrapping up one semester and planning for another (as the teacher) and starting a semester (as the student), an article about Coach Frosty Westering made me stop and write.

Though Westering left coaching in 2003 and "slipped the surly bonds of Earth" last Friday, his legacy is one of honoring the losses and well as the wins, making time to savor what matters in life, and singing.  Yes, singing:
During warmups for the NCAA Division III national championship in December 1999, right there on the field in Virginia, his players sang "The Twelve Days of Christmas," then proceeded to win 42-13.
Can you imagine warming up on the other side, then losing 42-13 to that?
Coach Westering instilled in his players the relative importance in life of losing.  Losing means you had the privilege of playing, a privilege that "could not occur without opponents." 

It might be easy to dismiss all of this as the Pollyanna attitude of an average coach, if not for the fact that Westering holds a record for most coaching wins and ranks ninth in wins among all college football coaches.

 Win or lose; succeed or fail.  One defines the other and how we handle both defines us.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Details matter

We've been talking about design this week, as part of the larger discussion about innovation.  It seems to me that details matter, whether in design, in customer service, or in life.  The artist takes note of the details, as a matter of pride in her work.

In the wood running board of a 1937 Packard Town Car or the wood spokes of an early 1920's Ford wheel, there is the attention to detail that is the hallmark of an artist, a craftsman, a designer.  Long before Apple, there was design...and the attendant attention to details.

How often do we forget the importance of the details...the ones that delight and enrich...the ones that we may be sacrificing for efficiency and productivity?  

In the rush to finish, to move on, to get ahead, are we aware how often we lose sight of the things that matter to our customers, our students, our friends, our children...ourselves?  

Slow down.  Take time to notice the details, especially those that have been relegated to the past. You may be surprised how much there is to discover in the beauty of the details.