By Reginald Tucker Shaw kicked off its Dallas Winter Market earlier this week with SFN Open Live 2022, a series of “Ted-Talk-style” presentations streamed virtually to preregistered SFN members. Moderated live from the show by Danny Crutchfield, vice president of SFN, alongside Dani Brock, director of member engagement and experience, the presentations—mostly pre-recorded—featured renowned leaders from the world of business, professional sports and industry associations, to name a few.
Following are a few highlights from day one of the virtual portion of the event:
In a pre-recorded session, Crutchfield conducted a Q&A with NFL Hall of Fame coach, Tony Dungy, who shared some of the life lessons he learned in his storied coaching career, which included stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, of course, the Indianapolis Colts—the team he coached to victory in Super Bowl XLI, with Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Mannington behind center.
In their discussion, Crutchfield cited parallels between coaching a pro football team and running a flooring store. One common denominator, he said, is the importance of professional development and the impact that has on the team as a whole.
Coach Dungy concurred, recalling his early years in the NFL. “When I got into coaching in 1981, my first boss was Chuck Noll, Hall of Fame coach; I was 25 years old. I asked him ‘What am I supposed to do?’ and he told me something that was very simple but it stayed with me for my entire career. He said, ‘Your job as a coach is to help your players play better, help them be the best they can be.’ That entails a lot of things—you have to get to know them and find out what’s going to help them be better. It’s not necessarily what you do, it’s what you do for them.”
A big part of putting a winning team together, according to Dungy, is picking the right people in the first place. When recruiting or acquiring players, he would ask: “How is this person going to fit in with us? What kind of teammate are they going to be? We did a lot of research in that area. In fact, one of my favorite techniques when I was interested in recruiting a particular player was to always ask the equipment manager [who worked with the player]. I would say, ‘Hey, tell me about this guy.’ If the manager responded, with: ‘Oh, we’re going to miss him,’ then that tells you a lot about that person. That was more important to me than how fast, how tall they are.”
Personal and professional development was also the core of the next presentation, delivered by Dr. Henry Cloud, an acclaimed leadership expert, clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author. Dr. Cloud, who brings an extensive executive coaching background, has worked with CEOs, leadership teams and executives to improve performance, leadership skills and culture. His advice on bringing out the best in employees? Fostering a winning and positive culture.
“There’s a tone and feeling of being in a business and working in a business,” he said. “We know that in a positive and emotional climate, when somebody comes to work, it just feels good to be there, and it feels good to be on the other end of you as a boss. It also feels good to be working with co-workers.”
It’s more than just “happy talk,” Dr. Cloud noted. He said there’s a bottom-line impact to having a healthy, constructive work environment. “That translates into real numbers, not only in dollars but retention and greater performance and growth in people,” he explained. “However, that doesn’t mean that you need to flatter people all the time. It’s good to challenge your employees, but to challenge them in a way that’s not scolding or condescending or toxic. Leaders who use fear, anger, guilt or shame or are harsh with people are ineffective; they have less judgement and ability to reason. Leaders with positive energy are more creative and are better problem solvers.”
Another presenter who touched on the subject of leadership and professional development was Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. A former director of the Shaw Flooring Network who spent 25 years with Shaw, Humphrey brings not only relevant experience but also the emotional intellect and intelligence to relate to the retail community the WFCA serves. In coaching and developing team members, he emphasized the importance of not only the “words” managers use to communicate to their employees but also “how” they speak those words. “Inflection and emotion make a big difference in how people receive your message,” he said.
Other influential presenters who focused on the importance of organizational structure included: Ginger Hardage, formerly senior vice president of culture and communications at Southwest Airlines. Today she leads Unstoppable Cultures, a firm that helps organizations create and sustain cultures of enduring greatness. In addition, Jeff Henderson, author of “Know What You’re FOR: A Growth Strategy for Work, and Even Better Strategy for Life,” talked about being the best company “for” the world in his presentation, “The Gift of Leadership.” In it, he stressed the importance of having a vision that’s portable.
Day one concluded with a Q&A featuring Tim Tebow, former pro NFL player and Major League Baseball player. Beyond his current capacity as a college football TV commentator, Tebow is known for his deep religious beliefs and philanthropic work in support of local community efforts and international organizations alike. Moreover, he is admired for the passion he brings to anything he’s involved in—be it personal or professional. When asked about the inspiration behind his legendary work ethic, he responded in his signature, humble manner: “It’s not just about having a strong work ethic just for the purpose of working hard. It’s about passion; the work ethic comes from being passionate about what you’re doing.”
Message to members
Tim Baucom, president and CEO, Shaw, took the opportunity to provide SFN Live attendees his thoughts on a host of issues. First and foremost, he thanked SFN dealers for their business and pledged Shaw’s support moving forward, especially in today’s challenging environment.
“Nothing gets me more excited than to be able to connect with our SFN network,” he said, citing the entrepreneurial spirit dealer members embody. “Together, we are the best. I’m proud of the agility and resiliency we’ve shown at every level within the organization. We continued to find ways to service our customers and we’ll come out stronger because of that.”
That spirit of collaboration and partnership will be essential to ongoing success in the new year. “I saw this meme that read, ‘Let’s make 2022 the best COVID-19 year ever,’” Baucom quipped. “I think there’s something to that. We’re seeing the labor environment is fundamentally different than it was several years ago. With raw materials, we’re still recovering from stops in the supply chain, the storm in Houston and low feedstocks. I also think we’re going to continue to see costs elevate but not be as spikey. Then there’s the global supply chain. We expect that to stay tangled up to a certain extent. I think we’ll become more efficient by the tail end of 2022, but certainly for the next six to nine months we’re going to see what we have in front of us. But we’ve learned that we can survive and prosper.”