Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Drake Relays--Brian Brown, the LOVE doctor.

Dr. Brian Brown, Director of the Drake Relays and 1992 Olympic Silver Medalist in the high jump, spoke to the Des Moines Rotary Club recently. He is one cool cat who just radiates positive energy. His focus, and man, he is really focused, was the 100th Drake Relays.
The Relays are another treasure buried here in the Heartland. This year, though, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Brown and his boss, the also cool and focused Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Drake's A.D., the Relays will have a chance to shine like the medals awarded to the athletes. Dr. Brown has attracted a world-class field, and for the first time, the Relays will be broadcast on ESPN2.

I'd like to bottle the energy these two generate and share it with every entrepreneur I know. Wow, innovationa nd new businesses would be busting out all over. Dr. Brown (who by the way is married to Natash Kaiser Brown, Drake's coach for both the men's and women's track teams--more postive energy-- and another Olympic silver medalist and world champion in the 4X100 relay) offered some comments applicable not only to athletic success, but also to success as an entrepreneurial leader.

Organizing an annual event such as the Relays is a big job, more than one person could accomplish alone. It would be easy to develop a big head to go along with the job, but Brian Brown has avoided that. As he explained, he learned to love the people more than the position. Success is not about him at the top, but about the collaboration of many up and down the pyramid. He painted a great image of an effective leader as a river that flows by many people, NOT just a reservoir at the end of the stream.

He offered this advice in closing. He believes in LOVE:

O as in OBJECTIVITY--tell me the truth
V as in VULNERABILITY--take risks

Too cute for you. Maybe, but when he explained that he wants the people he works with to feel the roar of the crowd he felt when he won his silver medal, it made me want to work with him. I'd like to experience that feeling. The Doctor is in, and he is operatin'.

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