by Jack Warren
What happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas. Or so they would like you to think. Just ask some celebrities, politicians, and ordinary citizens about that. Even before the ubiquitous camera/phone, chances were pretty good that someone would take note of your actions.
For decades in the first half of the 20th century, politicians, business leaders, and movie stars worked very hard to craft an often fictitious narrative of their life — what they (or their handlers) wanted you to think about them. They all understood the impact that public knowledge of private misdeeds could have on their careers. Indiscretions were often swept under the rug, leaving agents, public relations people, and attorneys with large clean up responsibilities.
The average citizen was not quite so “fortunate.” The city of Las Vegas decided to capitalize on that and made sure to let everyone know that you can come here and act any way you like and know one will know. Perhaps that is true. However, it is highly unlikely.
I was reminded once again by my recent attendance at the ABCA Convention in Indianapolis that actions, large or small, rarely go unnoticed. And what I’m talking about here are not just negative actions or boorish behaviors. It’s also the good deeds and positive words. Yes, there are some of you when let off the leash of normal duties, routines, and geography feel a certain freedom to act and speak as you otherwise would not. But there are so many more who through acting and speaking as they normally do, gain many more fans because of an observed act of kindness or good word.
Unfortunately, I noticed a couple of occurrences in Indianapolis that didn’t quite square with the public persona of the individuals involved. However, I would never say anything about it publicly, as it could totally be my perception. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that others may have that same perception. You really can’t control what people think, but you must always keep in mind the fact that someone who looks up to you or someone who respects you may see you at the exact moment you act with disrespect towards your server at the restaurant and draw conclusions that may not be accurate.
On the other hand, there are also situations in which your positive actions — often practiced in private — are on display for all to see. And here I’ve got no problems mentioning names. Nick Mingione, head baseball coach at the University of Kentucky, was one of the presenters at the ABCA convention this year. What that also entails is a Q&A session in an adjacent room that typically lasts 30-40 minutes. However, given that Coach Mingione’s presentation was the last of the day on Friday, there was no pressure to get out of the Q&A room. TWO HOURS after the end of his presentation, he was still wrapping up the Q&A by visiting with some of the individuals in attendance. 45 minutes later he was still in the hallway, greeting and answering questions. (Side note: his wife, Christen, stood at the back of the room and thank attendees as they left. Now that’s special.)
On another occasion, I spotted Michigan head coach, Erik Bakich, in the hallway looking like he was signing an autograph. Upon closer inspection, he was actually diagramming a play or drill for a young coach.
Odds are pretty good (speaking of Vegas) that the recipients of this goodwill from Coaches Mingione and Bakich will remind them of their encounters at some point down the road.
None of us should need to be reminded that our actions have consequences — good and bad. And like they point out with the Butterfly Effect, our actions impact far more than those we’ve come in direct contact with.
Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site, JackWWarren.com.