Inspiration from a Hall of Famer
Most Christmas cards are read, hung on the mantle for a month, and then find their way to the recycling bin. However, if you are Tom Kall, Supply Chain Manager at Crane’s Elyria, Ohio location, your Christmas card is read, hung on the mantle for a month, and then College Football Hall of Fame Coach Jim Tressel visits you at work.
Kall’s relationship with Coach Tressel started back in 1986, when Kall was recruited to play collegiate football at Youngstown State University under Tressel.
“One thing Coach Tressel believed in was you are always a part of our football family,” Kall said. “The team and family philosophy was the reason I chose to play for Coach Tressel.”
Twenty-five years later, Kall sent Coach Tressel a Christmas card to invite him out to Elyria to talk to Crane’s associates about his philosophy on the five traits that make a team successful. Tressel should know what makes teams succeed; he won five national championships during his 24-year coaching career.
Coach Tressel made the one and a half hour trip to Elyria from Youngstown, Ohio, where he is now the President of Youngstown University.
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More
Tressel opened by talking about two essential traits everyone on a successful team must have: talent and work ethic. Tressel said you have to have the talent for the job you were hired for and the willingness to put in the hard work.
“Curiosity was the third important trait of a successful team,” said Ira Maggard, Finished Goods Value Stream Manager in Elyria. “He stressed that you have to consistently wonder how you can be better; be willing to think out of the box.”
Tressel stressed “grit” as another important characteristic a team needs to push the envelope of success. He defines grit as being knocked off your high horse and having the will to dust yourself off and try harder to improve.
“I sent him some of our supply chain Key Performance Indicators and he had no idea what any of it meant, but he said he sees a lot of red and room to improve,” Kall said. “That is part of grit, being willing and wanting to improve so you can succeed.”
The last and most important trait of a successful team, according to Coach Tressel, is selflessness. It’s the willingness to do anything to help the team will succeed. Tressel gave examples he has seen throughout his life in sports, but he also used personal stories to illustrate selflessness.
“His mother was ill and working with nurses and doctors at the hospital at Ohio State University.” Kall said. “The comment she made to her family was, ‘I have to get well because these doctors and nurses have been working so hard, I don’t want to let all of them down.’ They were a team working together to get her better.”
The traits that make a team successful are hard to define at times, but if you listen to the philosophies of Coach Tressel, success is only a few selfless steps away.