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The “why” behind the NFL’s memorable Super Bowl Ad – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | The Encourager

If there was one Super Bowl ad that drew rave reviews the next day this was it.

The NFL nailed it big time with Eli Manning’s and Odell Beckham Jr.’s version of the famous dance scene from “Dirty Dancing.”

Of course, the fact that the movie premiered 30 years ago and has always been popular with “boomers” certainly didn’t hurt its appeal last Sunday, either!

As impressed as I was by the Super Bowl itself – I was equally impressed by the the explanation the NFL’s chief marketing officer gave for creating the ad in the first place.

Talk about having a purposeful and clear “why” to serve as the springboard for a great result!

Check out what Dawn Hudson said in Adweek. 
(You can also see the 1 minute video too!)

“Celebrations were a highlight of this season, and we had so many breakout moments where players showed their creativity together,” she said. “We wanted to keep that fun going for the Super Bowl and give our fans something to smile and laugh at that was just about football and how awesome it is to be part of a team.”

It’s definitely swipe-worthy.
Just fill in the blanks below with your school district in mind.

“Celebrations were a highlight of this [school year], and we had so many breakout moments where ____________________ showed their creativity together,” said [a good-looking school leader like YOU]. “We wanted to keep that fun going for ________________ and give our ________________ something to smile and laugh at that was just about __________________ and how awesome it is to be part of [our school family.]”


This works pretty well, don’tcha think?

Now… I may not be able to dance, dirty or otherwise.

But I sure know a great quote when I see it!

When someone brings you an idea, do you whack it or back it? – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | Knucklehead Moments (The Real Tom)

Or do you want to hear a lot more about the idea first?

This seems to be a reasonable response too, don’tcha think?

What caused me to stop and think about how we respond to new ideas was this week’s cartoon from marketoonist Tom Fishburne.

Obviously, Fishburne believes many leaders – in keeping with the strong tendency to be automatically “risk averse” – are far more likely to greet incoming ideas with a speedy-kwik whack instead of taking a different approach.

This also seems reasonable to me.

After all, school leaders shouldn’t blindly take on potentially detrimental risks/

How responsible would that be?

But still… 

we must be open to new ideas, better ways, and well-intentioned critiques, right?

(At least that’s the common refrain I hear at home!)

So we don’t always help ourselves by playing it overly-safe and immediately begin bopping new ideas back down from whence they came.

A leadership coach I heard the other day said it’s better to respond to people offering new ideas by simply using the word “wow” instead of “how.”

He said that when we hear a new idea, we will often say “how?” in reply.
(Meaning, Huh? How much would that cost? How would that help? How do you know?)

And by doing this we shutting down the idea presenter without providing any encouragement or affirmation.

That isn’t optimal leadership.

When substitute “wow!” for the word “how?” we’re still remaining non-committal about the idea itself (which ain’t all bad, of course, because the devil’s always in the details) – but at least we’re affirming the presenter as a person and demonstrating we’re open to giving all suggestions a bit of consideration.

This is important.

Because remember, to actually get one or two good ideas you can act upon every now and then, you need lots of ideas to come your way.

So there’s nothing to be gained by not extending a pleasant head-nodding “wow” to the folks who report to you.

Besides… after you hear an idea, 

and allow some time to go by, 

you can always give the idea a big whack when no one’s looking!

(FYI: I added this last part. The leadership coach just basically said to affirm your people and left it at that.)

Need a favor? Be sure to include this word in your “ask.” – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | Knucklehead Moments (The Real Tom)

It’ll improve your chances of success by 9 times.

It’s totally research backed.

By a Harvard professor no less.

Learning what’s the best word to use when making a request is just one of the many things I’m picking up from Vanessa Van Edwards book “Captivate – the Science of Succeeding with People.”

One of the other things I’ve learned from this book – by the way – is not to put it on the shelf where Cindy keeps her cookbooks.

She spotted it immediately when she got home from work and shot me a speedy-kwik “what the…?” look right away.

Even though I told her the book was power-packed with Harvard based research, this didn’t stop her from moving it to “my stack” of stuff.

(See? By knowing what bugs Cindy, I can have fun with a book at home and not even have to read it!)

But I am glad I took a few moments with the “how to ask for a favor” section of Captivate.

Van Edwards outlined a classic experiment with copy machines at Harvard.

WIth a number of student and office worker participants in on the act, the participants went all around campus to various copy machine stations to try and “squeeze in front” of people who were about to make copies.

They wanted to see which types of requests would work and which ones wouldn’t.


The Harvard participants used and evaluated the results of three different requests.

#1  “Excuse me. I need to make some copies. May I use the copy machine right now?” (Simple request only)

#2  “Excuse me. I need to make some copies. May I use the copy machine right now because I’m really in a rush?” (Simple request + a decent reason.)

#3  “Excuse me. I need to make some copies. May I use the copy machine right now because I have to make copies? (Simple request + a dumb reason)

Here is how two of the requests fared.

#1  A sImple request only = 60% yes

#2  A simple request + a decent reason = 94% yes

Now where do you think the “simple request + a dumb reason” scored?

Surprisingly, request #3 came in with a 93% success rate!

The Harvard professor and Van Edwards said this proves the value of adding a “because” explanation at the end of every request.

A “because…” component is critical.

Apparently, when a request of some kind comes our way many of us aren’t overly critical about the stated rationale behind it (the “because” part), we just want to know that there is one… that the requester is making at least a minimal effort.

And yes, this is true, even if the accompanying explanation is lame.

At first this puzzled me.





But then I asked Cindy why she quickly yanked “Captivate” away from her cookbooks.

“Because I wanted to,” she replied firmly.

And all of I sudden I got it.

That explanation was all I needed!

Do you know the #1 quality that makes Amazon an unbeatable competitor? – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | Knucklehead Moments (The Real Tom)

Like most things in life, I found this fact surprising.

It seems Amazon’s founder and driving force Jeff Bezos really does have a competitive ace up his sleeve.

It’s one we could copy… if we only had a large dose of daring swashbuckler in our DNA.

And a small cut from Bezos’ personal $85 billion bankroll wouldn’t hurt, either.

But think about it.

Nearly half of every retail sale that occurs online in the U.S. today involves Amazon.


So the guy must know what he’s doing.


Now can you guess the #1 quality that makes Jeff Bezos and Amazon unbeatable?

I tried without success.

Here’s what I tossed out:

•  low prices
•  large selection of products
•  knowing my interests
•  decent packaging
•  order tracking
•  speedy delivery
•  having a “partner” incentives
•  providing a % kickback to non-profits
•  immediate email notifications
•  lots of peer reviews
•  great customer service
•  Amazon Prime membership
•  a quality self-publishing division

It’s too bad none of these make up Amazon’s #1 competitive difference-maker, however.

It would’ve fun to win a prize and brag to you about it.

But nope –

all I can do is pass along what I heard a researcher say in a recent podcast.

He said the #1 quality that makes Jeff Bezos (Amazon) unbeatable is his total “willingness to lose now” in order to “win later.”

The vast majority of leaders and organizations do not have the wherewithal to do this.

Jeff Bezos is comfortable with losing – and is comfortable with it long enough – until eventually (lo and behold!) he finds himself standing all alone in the winner’s circle.




Now tell me.

Would you have guessed the #1 quality supporting Jeff Bezos’ and Amazon’s competitive advantage had to do with “losing” and being strategically comfortable with it?

I sure didn’t.

The whole losing to win thing was never even on my radar.

For you see, whenever I lose something – money, my keys, my scribbles with a big idea, my will to diet, or my hope for the Tigers – I’ll go to the nth degree pretending it never happened!

Which certainly is a pretty crummy response on my part, especially after  you compare my results to those of Bezos.

So given this reality, I wish you a fantastic “lose to win” weekend!

I really do.

But I gotta tell you.

Despite Amazon’s success, I’m still a little uneasy about this entire concept.

So if a “TIE” comes my way on Saturday or Sunday – I’m going to call it good and quit.

What’s your dream? (Is it big enough? Specific enough?) – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | Knucklehead Moments (The Real Tom)

I’m glad no one asked me.

I can’t articulate “my dream” without first boomeranging back with, “who’s asking?”

No sense embarrassing Cindy and the girls any more than I do.

(That is, trying not to embarrass them nay more than I do since it’s so much fun and I’m so dang good at it!)


What got me thinking about big dreams – significant dreams – was MLK Day yesterday.


His famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963 definitely established the gold medal benchmark for all future speakers, don’tcha think?

It never fails to resonate no matter how many times we’ve heard it even though it was delivered 54 years ago.

If you read the transcript of Dr. King’s speech, it’s clear that transcendent principles and values also play a big role in its ongoing appeal.

Those are the kinds of things that live forever.
(Or so I’d like to believe!)

President John F. Kennedy also gave a number of speeches that many leadership coaches are referencing in their workshops and trainings today.

Although JFK’s dream for taking the national commitment in space exploration to new levels do not cause us to necessarily to reflect upon our transcendent principles and values like Dr. King, leadership coaches say we’d do well to model both the magnitude and specifics contained in JFK’s rhetoric.

They claim we rarely come close to dreaming big enough – and furthermore – we often avoid spelling out the specifics that would hold us accountable. 

Here’s a two minute clip of JFK in 1962 that many leadership coaches use to drive this point home.

They’d say it was in speeches like this in the early 1960s that JFK spoke the words which inspired our nation all the way to the historic walk on the moon seven years later (1969).

Now if you and I were at one of the leadership trainings today, we’d likely be pressed to define and specifically answer, “What’s your moonshot?”

They don’t want to hear about how we gobbled up some low-hanging fruit.

They’d want to know if we were in the active pursuit of a big time “moonshot” dream.

Because that’s what good leaders do.

Even if they must embarrass their spouse and kids occasionally.

(Dang, I was afraid that’d be the case…)

Super Bowl Night and Warren Buffet’s 6 keys to success – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | Knucklehead Moments (The Real Tom)

It doesn’t happen often for me.

But the stars in the heavens aligned perfectly last night!





Usually a Super Bowl Party is fun and all, but I could never claim it was an essential part of my personal development plan.

After all, you’re just hanging out with folks and well… you know, Super Bowl partying.

Where’s the growth in that?!?

But thanks to Warren Buffet’s “6 Keys to Success” I’m seeing “party time” in a new light.








Did you catch the #1 key?

Dang, I think I made a significant stride in this critical first step big time last night without much stress or strain at all!

And I don’t mean to brag, but I may already be close to mastery level with respect to #1.

Now how ’bout you?

Did you also turn the Super Bowl into a quasi-mini-PLC for your benefit?

I hope so!

If you did, then both of us are positioned to immediately leap into Key #2 – and then zip our way through the rest of the keys with ease.

Given Buffet’s track record and considerable success, I can’t imagine his “6 keys” NOT YIELDING similarly great results for us in record time.

In fact, I’m so gung-ho I’ve already alerted my bank not to be shocked if they see my checkbook and saving balances go through the roof soon now that I’m on the Buffet plan.

I even told my bank I’d pay any of their fees associated with multiple large deposits.







Since I’ve never actually had to worry about this circumstance before, I thought i’d better get it on the table with my bank from the get-go.

I don’t want my windfall to cause any avoidable misunderstandings.

I’m that confident in the power of Buffet’s 6 keys!

I really am!

Now… as you might suspect, Cindy doesn’t share my enthusiasm for all of this.

Even though she too would like to believe there’s some personal growth value in the typical Super Bowl party.

She just doubts there is.

So she asked me not to get my hopes up and to quit bugging the people at the bank.

Cindy specifically thinks Key #3 might require too big a leap for me.






She’s not sure I could finesse my through “studying myself” without being a knucklehead about it.

Yeah, she’s probably right.

But she offered to pay for an outside healthcare expert if I wanted help with this –

so I took that as a good sign.

But now I don’t know if she’s just curious about what an outside healthcare expert might say about me or if she really believes in the potential of Warren Buffet’s 6 keys!