Years ago, I had the opportunity to caddie several times for a good friend of mine Chris. He was an awesome amateur golfer playing in the state’s mid-amateur tournaments. I refer to this as an opportunity to volunteer to serve Chris as his caddie because it gave me the opportunity to spend a few days watching and learning from the other great amateur golfers like Chris.
As I watched, I became more familiar with the rules of the game. I observed the way that fantastic golfers approach different shots and how they managed the course. I was happy to carry Chris’ bag for free because he and the other golfers were helping me to learn the game and improve my own score. During one of those seasons, I was carrying his bag for the weekend, and he won the state mid-am championship. That meant that we were paired up with some really terrific golfers, so I had the best of the best amateurs to learn from along that journey.
In my earlier career I was also given the opportunity to be an observer in board of directors meetings. This meant giving up evenings and sometimes weekends, but the knowledge and experience I gained was worth every hour that I invested in being amongst some brilliant minds for a few hours every month and for a longer meeting each quarter.
During those meetings I managed to make myself useful by serving coffee, making sure there was water in the room, and most importantly taking notes. I also took notice of the way these leaders asked questions, including their line of questioning, it was truly impressive. I paid attention to what they wrote down as important, and how they navigated difficult decisions to come to an agreement amongst nine members of the board. I was truly learning by serving.
A young man that I coach and mentor, and who lives and works with a servant’s heart, aspires to be a keynote speaker himself one day. I had an opportunity where I was delivering a keynote speech in Chicago, so I invited him to join me. I covered his travel costs, but he invested two days of his time to come and experience how corporate events like this work. He also made himself useful by handing out books and materials and collecting business cards from people he thought that I might want to meet one day. When the event was over he shared how much he had learned, and that he was grateful for the opportunity…
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Written by Michael “Go-To” Norton, XINNIX President, former CEO and Founder at Tramazing, former President of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, and former Executive Vice President of Sandler Corporate Training, Michael Norton has helped companies accelerate their growth by elevating their talent through learning and development programs.
Michael has had the pleasure of working with world-class companies such as Siemens Healthcare, WebMD, 7-Up, Cardinal Health, Cemex, Boral, HPE, Indeed, Lonza, KONE, Evonik, Quest Software, Dell, Anixter, and many more. for 30+ years he has developed, written, delivered, reinforced, and sold sales and sales management training programs that deliver real ROI while fitting into a company’s culture, processes, daily sales workflow, and budget.