My Best Performance Review in Three Words – “Be More Mark”

I am a BIG fan of Coach John Wooden. He doesn’t make any claim to be an expert on performance reviews, but his powerful philosophy on life, success and mentoring has some great and helpful insights for all leaders and managers.  I recently read one of Coach Wooden’s books, “A Game Plan For Life – The Power of Mentoring.”  I highly recommend this book to anyone who aspires to serve others with greater passion and purpose.

Throughout the book Coach Wooden inspires you with stories and his thoughts. There was one particular guiding thought that hit me in a very personal way:

“Mentors do not seek to create a new person; they simply seek to help a person become a better version of himself.”

This piece of wisdom made me pause, reflect and give thanks to the many great mentors in my life and how they have challenged me to be more true to myself in my leadership journey.

One of my life mentors I am thankful for is Jim Alling. He was my boss at a time when I was struggling as a new Senior Vice President for Starbucks. I struggled with an identity crisis. I struggled balancing the important continuum a leader must play between “people and performance.” At my core I’m a people person. I got energy from spending time in our retail stores learning from our front line partners that allowed me to serve them better. I was conflicted as I over identified with a highly respected peer, someone with stellar financial acumen. As a result I became more of an “office guy” and less of a “store guy.” I was spending more & more time inside the four walls of my office focusing on the financial drivers of the business. My fanatical focus on the financials started to weaken me as a leader and it was draining me of my passion for people.

Then, during shortest, but THE BEST annual performance review in my career, Jim Alling gave me everything I NEEDED to hear through three simple words. “Marcus, he said there is only one thing I want you to focus on this year and it boils down to three words.”

“Be more Mark.”

Jim knew I was struggling and didn’t walk by the real issue. He reminded me why he chose me for this important role – my passion for people. He concluded by saying – “I want you to be more of who you are – not who your aren’t.”  Thank you Jim for doing what great leaders and mentors do best. They say what needs to be heard, when it needs to be said and for helping others to become a better version of themselves.

Leadership in Action: I would encourage everyone to seek out someone whose life’s inspires you and speaks to your own goals. They can come from anywhere – work, family or someone you have never met. The important thing is that you open yourself up to be a willing student. Stay true to who you are, play to your strengths and “be more you.”

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” – Goethe

BTW – for those of you who have not read “A Game Plan For Life,” it’s well worth your time.  Here’s where you can buy it here.
More on John Wooden’s website.

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