Delayed dividends are received well after the initial investment. Dividends are one of the ways an investor receives a return on their Initial Investment. In life and leadership, delayed dividends are paid out through the person that was initially invested in. Financial investment dividends are returned to the original investor. People investment dividends are paid out through those who were invested in, to benefit others.
Young People Investments
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go watch a couple of eight grade football games. The two games I attended featured more than fifteen kids that I had the privilege of coaching in baseball, football, and wrestling over the years.
In 2021, I made the difficult decision to start scaling back my coaching commitments. My son Grant finished up his youth football experience for the Acworth Warriors, a program that I grew up in and coached in for twenty-one years. It was time for me to move on as well. About that same time, I decided to take him to a private wrestling gym and step off of the mat. I had coached that sport for close to fifteen years. Now, my coaching is limited to helping Grant’s travel baseball team.
This group of eighth graders is a special group to me, mainly because they are Grant’s age. Many of them played multiple sports for me since they were six years old. Prior to Grant coming along, I usually stayed at the same age group in football, coached a group for one year, and let them move on. Not these boys.
The less I see them, the faster they grow up. While they have matured physically, I still see the younger version of themselves when I look into their eyes. The reality is that as time passes, I will see them less in person. I will track their successes, their failures, and their futures on social media. My hope is that the investment we made in them as coaches, gets passed on through them to a generation of people I will never see.
This week, I wanted to share my experience as a developer of young athletes and how it translates to the leadership world. Here are two practices of those who are tasked with producing delayed dividends in the lives of others:
I genuinely love each and every kid I have ever coached. The lives of young people are truly one of the most beneficial investments you can ever make on this earth. The returns are not immediate though, they are delayed.
In this particular bunch of kids, there were some that took A LOT of love. In order to love them, it required the practice of patience. Sometimes the patient of a saint! Some warranted regular discipline, some required tough love for motivation, and at times I was well within my right to give up on them and send them on their way. At times, I think most coaches would have chosen the latter.
How did I make it through those moments? Simple…I saw the potential for delayed dividends. I firmly believe that vision is, “the ability to see further.” Patience is the pathway to the vision. I saw their futures, their potential, and the impact they could make on the world one day. That vision for their lives made the practice of patience worth it.
High performing leaders are results orientated. It is easy for us to get frustrated when we don’t see immediate returns on our investment in people. Patience allows the fog of the now to settle, so that we can see the beauty of the future for those we lead. While the dividends are delayed, the practice of patience will see us through to the vision of someone else’s future return.
Consistent and Constant Teaching
Coaches invest through teaching. The easiest thing for coaches to do during the grind of a long season is to stop teaching and start managing. I believe that every single moment of a season is an opportunity to teach and reach. Whether it is casual conversation before practice, during a timeout with the game on the line, or after a tough loss, there is always a lesson to be taught.
Consistent and constant teaching was the identifying mark of any coaching staff that I have had. In addition to the natural grind of a season, an easy opportunity to stop teaching is when we are winning. It is easy in those moments to become complacent and stop investing. You could walk the sidelines of a forty to nothing blowout and never know we were winning. We always coached the kids as if we were playing for the Super Bowl against our toughest opponent.
Whether we are in the grind of a tough season at work or we are setting records, we should never stop teaching. Every moment is a teachable one. As leaders, if we want to see a delayed dividend in the people we lead, it requires consistent and constant teaching.
Coaching is something I have spent my entire adult life doing. I have watched kids that we have coached play in the National Football League and at all levels of college football and baseball. Just as importantly I have watched kids that we coached turn into doctors, educators, solid businessmen, and coaches as well. More importantly, I have seen them become great husbands and fathers.
If we want to do this leadership thing right, it requires a full comprehension of this unique investment strategy. The delayed dividend model does very little for the investor. The model simply takes one person’s investment in another person and multiplies it through others into future generations.
I will close with some wise words from a friend and former coach of mine, Bobby. A few weeks ago, I awoke to a lengthy text message from him. He had finished watching a football documentary that moved him.
He said, “We shouldn’t look at games won or lost, but instead what you did as a coach/leader to better someone’s life. This is how leadership and success should be measured.” He also shared his gratitude for the ability to, “help mold all the children that have come through our paths over the years.” He understood the assignment all along…the people we invest in produce delayed dividends.
What is your people investment strategy?