Teaching Tip: It’s what to do right, not what to do wrong.

Today while driving I was listening to the Barbell Shrugged podcast, it’s been around a few years and while it generally focuses on CrossFit I listen for the episodes when they hit topics like Olympic weightlifting, coaching, or self-improvement. Like this one!

Doug Larson, a Barbell Shrugged OG, raised a point I liked in how he teaches people…on anything. Doug focuses on what they should do, not on what they shouldn’t do. It’s a subtle point to consider and instantly brought me to design sessions I may have with engineers and architects at work where I catch myself often telling what NOT to do. It’s really a poor tactic of persuasion and teaching as it doesn’t focus on what they should do.

Thanks Doug!

Has it changed? Business Advice from Best Buy Founder Richard Schulze

A while back my MBA program’s quarterly published an interview with Richard Schulze,  the founder of Best Buy, about general business advice he could share to the alumni and current students. The University of St. Thomas’s Business School is certainly fortunate to have Mr. Schultze generating content for their publication (oh, not to mention the large gifts to the school).

That was in February and obviously a lot has changed in the business community regarding Best Buy with the CEO scandal of Brian Dunn and later resignation of Mr. Schultze as the Chairman. It would be interesting to learn if he would modify his original list of business advice from what he’s learned since the scandal. One potential tip that may benefit from some specific tweaking after the Dunn scandal was the fourth.

#4 – Have a Mentor

This one could also include be sure that key people have good mentors themselves. Not that a mentor would have stopped Brian Dunn’s behavior as one would hope he knew it was inappropriate but perhaps they would have seen the warning signs.

The buzz continues around Mr. Schultze making a play to take Best Buy private and for him to be successful it looks that he’ll be pulling this list out again. I think Best Buy still can have a retail play outside of the growth of Geek Squad and private equity may be the right play for it.

How leaders kill meaning at work – McKinsey Quarterly – Governance – Leadership

How leaders kill meaning at work – McKinsey Quarterly – Governance – Leadership.

Long but good read on how senior leaders can affect the meaning of work to those below them on the ladder.

Being upfront, direct, and accountable – an example on how to do it.

Mistakes happen. When I wrote  email campaign software 10 years ago I neglected to build in a mechanism to disable multiple campaign executions and instead of sending 50,000 emails I was sending out 200,000 because I’m so click happy (50,000 x 4 = 200,000). My mistake and I spammed customers. I owned it, took accountability, and improved the product so this wouldn’t happen again.

Years later I made a boneheaded data mistake for a client and changed their historical orders going back years. Shouldn’t have happened but it did. First thing I did was call them, own the issue, work up a fix and then cranked away for a day and a 1/2 to rectify it. Does this make me special? I would think “hell no” I was just being professional. But this year I’ve had interactions with folks that don’t take accountability, don’t own their mistakes, and I’m witnessing the cost that has to quality, trust, and schedules.

The specifics of the last particular issue aren’t important. The short of it was a member of my tech team made an erratic choice during testing that destroyed the integrity of the results. I happened to witness the mistake and then witnessed that they never detailed it to the team members and tried to let it slide under the rug. Just like when we were kids, if we come clean right away its better for everyone and the fact that this person didn’t is now the issue to me.

Although it may seem like a minor incident it isn’t; the way we behave in areas deemed minor or inconsequential generally align with how we would respond and behave in major ones. How we treat people. If we follow through with what we say. If we live and work with integrity and honesty. These are traits of professionals, of fully formed adults. Of what the old-timers would call “stand-up” people.

Last weekend I ran the Green Bay 1/2 marathon with some friends and it turns out the course was long by 800 yards. Now 800 yards is not far, especially when compared with 13.1 or 26.2 miles. But for the folks who depend on accuracy of the course and are shooting for time goals that 800 yards can equate to a minute or more of race time. Below is what the race director sent out regarding the issue. He detailed the issue, owned it, told us how it would be rectified and even though a mistake was made on his watch I have greater respect and trust in a race director I’ve already heard wonderful things about. Way to be professional Sean Ryan!

Dear Runners:

Yesterday all participants in the full and half marathons ran an extra 800 feet due to incorrect course markings just after mile three. The certified courses for the half and full marathon were supposed to take a right off of Roscoe Street onto 14th Avenue before turning right on Biemeret Street. Instead, runners were taken an extra 400 feet to 13th Avenue, which added a total of 800 extra feet (.15 miles) onto the route.


We were alerted to the error after hearing multiple comments about inaccurate GPS readings at this particular point on the course. We know it’s common for runners who wear Garmin watches or other GPS devices to see differences in total distance due to the course being measured on the optimal, point-to-point line and runners straying from this line, but the consistency in these reports caused us to take another look.  We owe a thank you to those runners who weighed in on this matter.


We will be correcting this error in your results.  Gun times, chip times and mile 5 split times for all runners will be adjusted on our website by Tuesday afternoon. We have also talked to representatives of the Boston Marathon who have agreed to accept a database with adjusted finish times. Marathon runners can find their adjusted time by multiplying their current time by .9943. Half marathon runners can find their adjusted time by multiplying their time by .9886. Since these adjustments will affect ALL runners’ finish times, it will not change the overall or age group standings.  It may, however, impact whether you ran a personal record (PR) or a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time.


On behalf of my entire staff, we apologize for the inconvenience and the extra distance that you ran on an already windy day.




Sean Ryan

Race Director

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon