January is a time for new beginnings. Individually, they may come in the form of resolutions, such as more frequent trips to the gym. Or drying out after the period of indulgence known as the holidays. In business, it’s a great time to fire up teams, readying them to take on a new year of growth and goals.
This made for an exciting month of speaking, which I did four times over the last few weeks. Coincidentally, I had a new beginning of my own. I unveiled a new speech titled Winning Trust during a keynote to American Federal Bank in Alexandria, Minnesota.
It’s something I’ve been working on for a while. Even though the timing of its release fits nicely with the theme of this month’s newsletter, new beginnings – like trust – can take place any time we decide to evaluate our lives, job performance and relationships. Even in sports the process is ongoing, and it doesn’t take a new season to reset…just a new game.
Take the Kansas City Chiefs, for example. My wife and I attended the Christmas day game at Arrowhead Stadium against our bitter rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders. Kansas City had its worst showing of the year. It was a truly embarrassing performance. And it brought out the boo birds in front of the world’s most famous pop star.
I’ve said all season that the Chiefs weren’t having their best year. But with the pedigree of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the reliability of Taylor’s boyfriend Travis Kelce, who is arguably the greatest tight end in history, anything was possible. If they could somehow make adjustments, maybe they could return to form.
Maybe head coach Andy Reid invited Swift to inspire the team by singing her hit “Begin Again” in the locker room. But we’re talking about football, not – as the song goes – a Wednesday in a café. So it’s more likely that the defending champions figured out a way to turn things around. It just so happened to be in January, but thanks to a late season new beginning, they still paved their way to another Super Bowl.
As a baseball guy, every new year means spring training is just around the corner. Players will report to Arizona in just a few weeks, followed by Opening Day in less than two months. As 2024 gets underway, I hope everyone will embrace all of the new beginnings that it has in store, inside and Out of the Park.
Baseball will soon be back in swing, and with it, so will my write ups about MLB stadiums. Until then, the legendary “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas deserves mention.
I realize that in my neck of the woods, declaring allegiance to the crimson and blue runs the risk of drawing ire from Missouri, Kansas State and other college sports fans who do not like them. The fun rivalries everywhere you go are one of the beauties of living in Kansas City. But I have to admit, I just love watching Jayhawk basketball.
Attending a game at Allen Fieldhouse is iconic. It’s like going to a Packers game at Lambeau Field or seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway Park. The experience of it all is the stuff of legends, but you really can’t appreciate the energy unless you are there.
My son is a student, giving me even more of a reason to catch a game. And because the school has no real rivalry with my own alma mater, I’m always happy to pay it a visit.
If you are in the Kansas City area, you MUST pay a visit to The Golden Scoop in Overland Park. It’s a nonprofit ice cream and coffee shop providing innovative, meaning employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Full disclosure, my wife is the new program director of its Golden Scoop University. Even if she weren’t, the ice cream, coffee and cookies are off-the-charts delicious. I guarantee that you will leave with a full stomach, and an even fuller heart.
Don’t just take my word for it. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Juston Watson and his wife Erica are also huge supporters of the Scoop. Days before winning the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens, both made time to attend a fundraiser in support of this amazing community.
The Golden Scoop has its own new beginning on the horizon. In May, it will open its second area location, furthering its mission of “Changing Lives One Scoop At A Time.”
Rounding the Bases Rewind
Most episodes of my podcast Rounding the Bases are recorded virtually, so I don’t always get to meet my guests in person. At a recent town hall for Community America Credit Union employees, I was thrilled to run into Dr. Nicole Price, one of my favorite past guests.
Dr. Price delivered a keynote. Her message on empathy was as insightful as it was on my podcast, Episode 833: Engineering Empathy in Your Organization that aired in February 2023. Incase you missed it or just want to give it another listen, be sure to check it out.
Earlier this month, I welcomed a man to the show who has been a part of college sports for decades. Bill Hancock is the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. After a lifetime of amazing stories and lessons learned, he will experience new beginnings of his own when he retires later this year.
As always, I’d like to extend another big thank you to all of the incredible guests who rounded the bases with me this month:
Our schedule is already being booked into summer, but we are always looking for interesting guests with standout stories. Would you or someone you know make a great guest on Rounding the Bases?
To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please email my Executive Producer Ashleigh Sterr: email@example.com
New beginnings are wonderful, but there is always room to appreciate the tried and true, like my partnership with Community America Credit Union. I’m incredibly grateful for its support of my podcast, Rounding the Bases. I’m also grateful for the trust it has shown me as a participant in some of its most significant events.
In January, Community America kicked off the new year with its annual town hall. The two-session event was held at Arrowhead Stadium. Half of the employees attended in the morning, while the other half attended in the afternoon.
One of its most prominent spokespeople is the Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. It was fun to attend the event at his “office”. But Community America also counts one of Mahomes’ friends among its spokespeople, fellow Texas-raised, Kansas City sports star Bobby Witt Jr.
Last year at only 23-years-old, the young Royals shortstop finished in the top ten in MVP voting. The sky’s the limit for him, and we had a great time sharing the stage as we delved into topics like leadership and the Royals’ optimistic 2024, made possible by some big offseason moves.
Bobby, or “Junior” as many call him, talked about growing up in the game. His father pitched in the big leagues and his three older sisters all married professional ball players. I found his take on leadership interesting. He’s a quiet kid, but mentioned growing more comfortable leading by example.
He told me he wants to help lead the young players on the team. When I asked him who was younger than him, he thought for a few seconds before replying, “No one.” We all had a laugh.
He works as hard as anyone, loves the game and has a skillset we haven’t seen in Kansas City since Carlos Beltran. Make no mistake, Bobby Witt Jr. is a future MVP. The incredible performance we’ve seen from him to date only scratches the surface of what he is sure to accomplish in his baseball career.
New beginnings also made for a great topic in this month’s discussion with Chief of Staff KC’s Casey Wright.
Keeping the Score
Every week on my podcast Rounding the Bases I get the opportunity to interview business leaders, athletes and everyone in between. No two experiences are alike, but each conversation tells a significant story and provides an enlightening lesson.
My blog Keeping the Score rounds the bases with a single, double, triple and home run from one recent guest on the podcast. This month, the blog covered my recent interview with Bill Hancock, the Executive Director of College Football Playoffs.
Over the course of his 50 year career, he has played a role in sporting events from the Olympics to the Final Four to the College Football Playoffs. Our discussion included insights on trust and a look back at some of the best stories of his career. Click here to see what he had to say.
Thank you to all of the groups that entrusted me to speak at their January events in Kansas City and beyond.
I spent time with the Ag Partners Co-op just north of Topeka and enjoyed a discussion about change in the farming industry.
ECS in Lenexa invited me to speak at its company meeting, and it was a thrill to see so many of its remote employees travel from all across the country to join the event in-person.
Every event by Community America Credit Union is one to remember, and I loved sharing the stage with Royals phenom, Bobby Witt Jr.
And of course, my trip to Alexandria was a blast. The star performers from American Federal Bank were an amazingly down-to-earth group. And it was an honor to share my new speech, Winning Trust, with them.
February will bring another event at Arrowhead Stadium as well as an event for Assured in Las Vegas. Baseball travel will ramp up following spring training, but I remain available to discuss opportunities all year long.
If there is an opportunity to serve your audience, please contact my speaking manager Charlotte Raybourn.
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