My Trip to Ukraine – How to Build and Sustain Relationships

 In Blog, Business, Family, Football, NFL, Super Bowl

It is hard to put into words what it’s like to spend 12 days in a completely different culture on the other side of our planet, but that’s what I did. I just returned from a powerful mission trip to Ukraine, and along the way I met some incredibly fearless leaders who taught me a lot about how to communicate with courage, clarity, and compassion. The message of this trip was “everything in our lives boils down to one thing: relationships”. The question then became, how do you decide, design, deploy, and direct a culture that will produce healthy relationships and result in total unity and engagement within the individual members, leading to the creation of a successful team?

The strongest reaction from our audiences on the tour came when our leaders spoke about how valuable each individual is and that they have been given a unique identity with a special purpose. I watched as people discovered their own relevance for the first time. Many were brought to tears by the experience of someone looking into their eyes and telling them, maybe for the first time, that their lives are not an accident, and that they each have tremendous value. I couldn’t help but think about what effect that type of language and leadership would have on employees in a business, children in a family, or athletes on a team.

I was fortunate to have played for an NFL Hall of Fame Coach whose leadership style was to serve. Coach Tony Dungy was very intentional about communicating to each of his players how much he valued their talent and their identities. Coach Dungy’s goal was to create a Family environment between 53 different men. The only way to do that was through teaching us as players how to love and value one another, despite all of our differences. Therefore, we built a team with a foundation of trust and loyalty.

Coach PJ Fleck of the MN Gophers uses the acronym Forget About Me I Love You for FAMILY, and I believe he is spot on. You see, in today’s culture, fear may be used to deliver fast results, but love (value) is what produces sustainability. If we choose to design a business and life strategy built on how to create a family environment in our teams and grounded in a value system of love, I believe that’s where Super Bowl Championship teams are created. That is what I experienced with the Colts in the 2006 season when we defeated the Bears in Super Bowl 41.

It all comes down to building and sustaining healthy, fruitful, and engaging relationships. Choose to communicate in a way that creates a culture of Family, and I guarantee you will experience success!

– Ben

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