Archive for the ‘2016 Events & Posts’ Category

Inclusion Camp

Posted: November 10, 2016 in 2016 Events & Posts

On Saturday, September 24, 2016 I had the privilege of participating with the NFLPA Former Players Houston Chapter to conduct a Free Inclusion Football Camp. The camp included kids with disabilities and non-disabled kids side by side having football fun.

The best part was giving the kids an opportunity to come out and compete which is at the heart of all athletes.  When interacting with the campers I was able to get a sense that most kids with disabilities under normal conditions do not get to participate in athletic camps. Typically kids with disabilities get no love from athletic camp organizers.  This event made me realize how important it is to use my platform to reach out within areas of our community that are often overlooked.

Some kids needed assistance navigating the cones while others were not able to really understand the concepts of agility. No problem at all. We, the Camp Coaches, got right in there and guided them through the courses.

Only at the end of the camp was I able to realize the depth of the affect we were having. At the conclusion of the event as I spoke with parents listening as they communicated their appreciation and gratitude regarding how we engaged and coached their kids.

Although no one cried or handed us a bouquet of rose it was very evident that we made more than a fitness and health impact but impacted hearts and minds.

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My 40 at 40: The 40 Most Impactful in My Life

Today I turned 40 so I thought I would celebrate the people, places and things that have made the most impact in my life up until this point. So with that here is my list of the 40 Most Impactful persons, places and things that have made the impacted my life over my first forty years on the planet earth.

  1. The Father, the Son and Holy Spirit
  2. Mom
  3. Dad
  4. Grandma Betty
  5. Grandma Nira
  6. My Grand Paw Phillip
  7. All my brothers and sisters
  8. My wife and kids
  9. Uncles
  10. Aunts
  11. My In-Laws
  12. My Second Grade Teacher
  13. My High School Algebra teacher
  14. Waller
  15. My College Team mates
  16. College Coaches
  17. Everett Hatcher
  18. Brookhaven MS
  19. LSU and Baton Rouge La
  20. San Francisco 49ers
  21. Jacksonville Jaguars
  22. My 88 Cutlass Oldsmobile Supreme
  23. Coach Rusty Funk
  24. Coach Eugene Sanders
  25. Brookhaven High School and Solider Field
  26. Alexander Junior High
  27. Brignal Road and my brothers from the neighborhood
  28. True Friends
  29. Egypt Circle
  30. Tiger Stadium
  31. Two-A-Day Football Camps at LSU
  32. Berlin Germany
  33. Berlin Thunder
  34. Houston Texas
  35. New Pine Grove C.O.G.I.C.
  36. Lumberton MS
  37. Mary’s Temple C.O.G.I.C.
  38. 21 Laws of Leadership
  39. John Paul Jackson
  40. The Arts

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businesscardsBusiness Card Statistics Data. 

  • Number of business cards printed daily 27,397,260
  • Number of business cards printed in the U.S. annually 10,000,000,000
  • Company sales increase for every 2,000 cards passed out 2.5 %
  • Percent of business cards handed out that will be thrown out in less than a week 88 %


Networking Event

Last week I attended the “First Thursdays” networking event hosted by JLabs(Johnson and Johnson) at the Texas Medical Center Innovation center located here in Houston.  The intent of First Thursdays is to bring together company and business leaders, investors, founders, CEOs, and managers of start-ups within the Life Sciences community to socialize and build networks.

At this event attendees are given the opportunity to take part in a tour of the JLabs facility. This was my goal.

I attended the event last month but missed the tour due to a meeting that ran over schedule at work.  I was intent on making the tour this time. But what do you know? The same scenario happened to me again! Darn it!

Once I arrived and checked in the first question I asked was “Is the tour still going on?” The host answered, “Yes! The next one will be in five minutes.”  I was relieved.  I walked over to the tour waiting area but was the only person standing there. I figured I had few minutes to spare so I went to the restroom.

Once I got back the unthinkable happened.  As I was walking up I saw through a glass door, that separated the event area from the tour area, the last tour had started without me! I was in a panic. I waived my hands side to side. I saw the group walking away at a snail’s pace in slow motion.

A woman and a guy on the tour visually acknowledged me. The woman turned away as if not to see me. The guy looks at me and waves back. Yes, he was trying to be funny. I felt like giving him the Terry Tate Office Linebacker treatment.

It seemed they had just started and I was one minute too late. Although I was crushed I thought it was a little comical. I decided to use that experience as an ice breaker for networking. I called it my “Left Behind Story”.

No Business Cards Needed

As I began meeting people, we would open up with the usual, name, rank and serial number introductory exchange. Then at the right moment I would interject the “Left Behind Story”.  As I shared it over and over everyone had a good laugh with me.

But what I found during the introduction exchange only a few people did ask for my business card.  I thought “This is unusual”.  Coincidentally I didn’t have any business cards with me but I did have my smart phone.

The first question I was asked “Are you on LinkedIn?”  The next person I met stated “Let’s exchanged contact information via Facebook.” These are all digital paperless methods.

The Ride Home

As I drove home it made me think “Why do we still use business card?”  I have hundreds of business cards in a box at home from people who never contacted me or returned my call.  The “Information Age” in my opinion is fast making the Business Card a slow dying technology.  Is the Business Card the next “Horse and Buggy” business case and scenario?

I am connected to more people via online networks. I can instant message them in seconds and get a response equally as fast.  Business Cards occupy space and only increase company sales about 2.5 % per 2,000 handed out.  88% percent of them are thrown away in less than a week.  Since Smart Phones are more affordable and becoming smarter (yes pun intended) I ask do we really need business cards?

brain-with colors

Last week my company celebrated Safety Week.  Each day of the week was dedicated to a different subject related to safety.

I was asked to present from our list of topics in which I selected “Innovation”. This was interesting to me as over the past several months my company has been shifting our goals and strategies in regards to how we do business.  We have been making the push to infuse more creativity into our culture and become more Innovative.

I conducted some reading to gain understanding of what the innovative process is and how to ignite more of it within myself.

This lead me to an article published in December 2009 by the Harvard Business Review titled “ The Innovator’s DNA”. I figured this must be for me.

Once when I was in college I decorated the shower in my apartment by hanging a fish designed floor mat on the wall. I was going for the ocean look.

My roommate said he was o.k. with it, but over the next several weeks he would talk about it to anyone who would listen. Obviously that type of creativity is not the innovation we are talking about.  I thought he would have understood the creative thinking behind it. The ah moment. The funny thing is that today he is a musician and founded his own record company.

In the article “ The Innovators DNA” a great point is made relating how most companies go about the innovative process.  A group conducted a six-year study to “uncover the origins of creative—and often disruptive—business strategies in particularly innovative companies.  Their goal was to put innovative entrepreneurs under the microscope, examining when and how they came up with the ideas on which their businesses were built.

In most companies, top executives do not feel personally responsible for coming up with strategic innovations. Rather, they feel responsible for facilitating the innovation process.  In stark contrast, senior executives of the most innovative companies, a mere 15% in the study don’t delegate creative work. They do it themselves.”

This made me ask myself two questions.

Are Innovative Companies the Most Profitable Companies?

  1. Are Innovative Companies the Most Profitable Companies?
  2. Does Innovation Facilitation work?

Looking for Answers

Are Innovative Companies the Most Profitable Companies?

Using the Comparative Research model, I reviewed multiple list and articles of the world’s Most Innovative Companies versus  the world’s Most Profitable.

A few companies did appear on both lists of the Most Profitable and the Most Innovative but only one company appeared to be the Most Profitable and the Most Innovative. APPLE.

Although, I must say, there were few companies to appear on the Most Profitable list and on the Most Innovative List.

It was easy for me to deducted that based on a company’s industry and market, it may not put a premium on infusing high levels of innovation in their business operations.

Example, while ExxonMobil’s bottom line benefits from low cost oil production they are more profitable when the price of oil (Price per Barrel) is high.

They are market based. While Apple is consumer based it would appear that a premium is placed on the innovative and creative process because consumers want new and fresh products constantly.


It all boils down to what drives the companies market and earnings.

Does Innovation Facilitation Work?

Innovation Facilitation is complicated.  It really turns into a Leadership question. Is the leader mature enough to understand what equals a truly innovative approach to solving challenges?

In most cases the leader may only focus on executing the task according to stringent work processes and procedures.

In January 2016 General Electric released their “Global Innovation Barometer” results and in it they published some interesting results.

The results make clear that companies understand and know that they will need to be innovative in a rapidly changing environment driven by technological improvements.

As reported in Fortune 500 Magazines review of the report, “more than four in five executives (81%) worry about being left behind as technology evolves faster than they can adapt, creating this “fear of becoming obsolete. GE calls this the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO.

So again, the question, “Does innovation facilitation work?” Turns into a Leadership question stating “ Is the Leadership mature enough?” In some companies the great ideas and innovative approaches get snuffed out like a candlelight in the dark. The light was there but when it gets to middle management it is often left in waiting until all of the wick has burned out. This is not to say that all persons in middle management are killing great innovative ideals but  it is to say innovation must become a process in which it is;

  1. Valued at all levels.
  2. Rewarded.
  3. Merges with Company objectives.

So in the end I conducted a presentation, asked a few questions and got a few answers. Although more research is needed regarding the Innovation Facilitation question.

I am not sure I got to the bottom of it yet.

Wow, it is 2016 and just like every year things have changed. This is my first post since June 2015 and boy that has been a long time. I think this past year I just got busy doing. I spent a lot of time thinking and understanding what it was I wanted to carry out. I read a lot of good books. Together with some great people, in the Houston Former Player Chapter, I believe we planted a lot of good seeds within business and community organizations using our seven sector strategy. This year I believe we will see those yield their fullest returns.

I did a lot in 2015 that I should have published to I would have made for some great reading. Maybe I go back and capture some of those things. Like the time I went the Mission Control at NASA, visited Chicago or the time I let my son shave my beard to end my Movember Drive. All good stuff.

Here is a quick 2015 recap.

  • Elected NFLPA Former Players Houston Chapter President,
  • Suspended a Board Member
  • Attended my Sister’s Wedding
  • Visited my Hometown, Brookhaven Mississippi
  • Moved into a New Home
  • Broke my SUV
  • Got a New Truck
  • Become an Official Product Spokes person
  • Did meet a lot of Great People
  • Read more of the Bible
  • Prayed More (Lords Know we need it!)
  • Got on Instagram

I could keep going but I think that is enough.

So far this year the Chapter has gotten off to a great start. We partnered with Rebuilding Together Houston and KHOU11 to complete a home repair for a Vietnam Veteran. That was a fun time. I have included the link below.

I just wanted to write a quick post to get back in the habit of posting. Check out the link and catch yall in a few!

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