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Perception Is Reality

by Shaun Bossio 

A while back, I went out to lunch with an old friend that was in town and was introduced to his father-in-law. We started talking about social media and its prominence (necessity really) in today’s business environment. The father-in-law was a little nervous about getting involved in social media as he was not as tech savvy as most, so we did our best to explain the ins and outs and the benefits that he could expect vs. the precautions he had to make sure he took. His biggest apprehension though was that anybody could post negative remarks on his Facebook page for the world to see. He was concerned that unhappy clients would take it upon themselves to write up negative reviews and drive business down. I explained to him that they could of course control what was posted on his page, but also that negative comments can be seen on virtually any company’s website. If the volume of negative comments outweighs the positive ones then the real issue at hand is not their use of social media, but how they are perceived by their consumers.

Let’s just put it on the table; how your customer-base views your business is reality. No matter how great things may seem from the view of yourself or management, the customers are the ones that drive your business perception. In that manner of speaking, even negative feedback is good feedback in that it helps to alert you to issues that may have arisen within your organization. If a customer perceives an aspect of your business as not fully meeting their needs, then it only makes sense to examine that portion to see if things can be improved. Sure, in some instances it might be a case of a particularly picky client and they might only be a single voice among the crowd, but more often than not, feedback comes from a constructive place and helps you identify areas for improvement. The problem rests in seeing feedback, both positive and negative, as an excellent way to keep you customers in touch with your business. Not only does it help you pinpoint the weak points in your organization, but it also lets your clients know that you are genuinely interested in the job you are doing. Regular interaction and personal responses to customer concerns shows them that you are willing to go the extra mile to keep their business.

So first off, do not be afraid of social media. It is your friend and there to help you grow your business. Like any business tool though, you have to know how it works and be careful while you are using it. That being said, it can be a great help in soliciting feedback from your clients and also in attracting new ones. Sure, you may get some negative feedback, but it is a great opportunity to respond to those folks to let them know how their issues are being addressed. What better way is there to show current/future customers that you value their business? Despite what you may think, their perception is your reality. After all, your business may be the best in your field, but if your customers do not see it that way then you will not be the best for long.

 

Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager at the Boston University FitRec.

Measuring busy-ness by Seth Godin

basketball resources

 

Feeling good about getting some "work" done this holiday season - making some phone calls, checking off the to-do list and of course checking my emails, I realized I simply invested my time in keeping busy, and not producing anything of worth.

Was your weekend spent checking emails or was it spent producing something remarkable?

Read what Seth Godin has to say about "busy-ness"

 

Measuring busy-ness...

 

is far easier than measuring business.

Busy-ness might feel good (like checking your email on Christmas weekend) but business means producing things of actual value. Often, the two are completely unrelated.

What if you spent a day totally unbusy, and instead confronted the fear-filled tasks you've been putting off that will actually produce value once shipped?

How Are You Feeling Today?

basketball resources

Are you kidding me? I feel great!

When I arrived at Boston University as a Graduate Assistant a very long time ago I was fortunate to work alongside and for Mark Laursen.  For those that don’t know Mark, his ability to instantly put you at ease while placing the biggest smile on your face has become legendary.

Each day I would walk into work and ask Mark how he was doing, and every day he answered the very same way, “are you kidding me? I feel great!”  It was hard not to smile upon hearing how happy he was and how genuinely happy he was to see you.

It didn’t matter if an athlete was recovering from knee surgery or simply passing by the Athletic Training Room, Mark’s infectious and upbeat mood crept into each and everyone’s facial muscles.

Mark knew how very important it was to smile at work.

Your passion, your energy and the way you show you care matters!

You have a choice on how you feel today….

Choose wisely : )

 

Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at a.horne@neu.edu.

For Hire

Need a doctor, hire a doctor.
Need a lawyer, hire a lawyer.
Need a real estate agent, hire a real estate agent.
Need a dentist, hire a dentist.
Need a computer analyst, hire a computer analyst.
Need a strength coach, hire an assistant football coach, or assistant basketball coach, or an athletic trainer, or a PT, or a the director of operations, or your high school buddy..

Is there something wrong here???


Ray Eady is the Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Wisconsin and can be reached at RDE@athletics.wisc.edu

A Week with Riley - Complacency

How do you avoid complacency in a team setting?

everything basketball

RILEY: First of all, you have to realize that complacency is a way of life.  You don’t ever avoid it.  You have to alert your players to the fact that there are so many things that can get between them and what you are trying to teach them.

You can’t become distracted and let all of these things get into the way and take your mind off of the prize. It’s a deadly disease because it simply gets in the way of your energy and your effort.  And when your energy and your effort are down, your efficiency is going to be down.

(Interview questions and answers taken directly from the February 2007 edition of Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director)

A Week with Riley - Teamwork

Your award-winning motivational video, Teamwork, applies winning philsophies to business and life in general. What is your definition of teamwork as it applies to sports?

everything basketball

RILEY: Teamwork is the essence of life.  And teamwork is an interactive relationship, whereby all of us are either hired or brought together for whatever reason to get a result.  It is the essence of life in family.  It is the essence of life in sports.  And it is the essence of life in business.  In order to be successful as a group of people the dynamics of being a team are all the same, with the exception that you are jumping off a different platform – probably from a different industry.  But really, the principles are the saem.  People have to come together for the common good.
The only way you are ever going to do that is through trust.  It’s even more than belief.  Belief just isn’t enough.  You simply have to get to a point where you trust one another – in their motives, in their approaches, in their games, in their idiosyncrasies, and their personalities, and what they bring to the table – not be judgmental as a coach, or a teacher, or a parent.  No student, no player, no child will ever let you coach, parent, or teach them unless they trust that you are absolutely sincere, competent, and reliable. They are smart enough to see that.  If your intentions as a coach or a teacher or a parent are nothing less than sincere, because you want to get something out of it yourself instead of what’s in the best interest of the person, then they won’t let you.  They will sort of punch the clock with you.

You have to be competent because they want to learn.  Most kids and most players simply want to learn and get better.  And so you have to know what you’re doing.  It’s the same thing when it comes to reliability.  If they know you’re going to be there, then the trust and the fact that teamwork can cross over from sports into real life will be there, too.

(Interview questions and answers taken directly from the February 2007 edition of Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director)
 

A Week with Pat Riley - Leadership

Team-Building Leadership Philosophy

Whether you agree with the Heat’s move to acquire and sign Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James this off season are or not, one thing most of us can agree upon is that only a weathered and tested leader could handle the ego’s and attitudes of all three at the same time.  With the NBA basketball season quickly approaching, the following week’s inserts will focus directly on the man with the mission of delivering an NBA championship to Miami – Pat Riley.

everything basketball

What is your team-building leadership philosophy?

The overall philosophy is that you have to, voluntarily, get out of yourself and get with the program.  Whatever the program is.  You have to find a way to decide to either jump in or jump out. And getting yourself to that point first, instead of riding the fence philosophically, is first and foremost in trying to develop the confidence of the team. You’re either with me or against me. A house divided against itself surely will not stand. The most difficult thing any coach or teacher or parent ever has to do is to get someone to do the things they don’t want to do in order to achieve what the team needs. An that’s our challenge.

(Interview questions and answers taken directly from the February 2007 edition of Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director)

 

 

Would your athlete's choose you?

everything basketball

The free market doesn’t exist in college athletics.  But let’s just say it did, just for a day.  When “your” athlete walks into your Athletic Training Room, or into your Strength and Conditioning Room and could choose from any member of your staff to help them, would they choose you?

What about the athlete from the rowing team? The Softball team? A male athlete? A female athlete? The freshmen athlete?

College athletes usually don’t have a choice, but if they did, would it be you?

Are you known as the “Football Guy” or the “Shoulder Girl” and those are the only athletes you work with or care about?

What does that say about your customer service?  Your willingness to listen to your athletes and patients? Your ability to follow up with them after an incredible training session or a devastating injury? Your ability to send an email, a text message or a simple word of encouragement?

What does it say about you if your designated athlete was able to choose their care and chose someone else on your staff…?

Would you choose you?

 

Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at a.horne@neu.edu.

 

It's About Time

I have previously mentioned in this blog a team building event that we run for our student staff every year.  Though it is a lot of work, it is always a very rewarding experience for everyone involved and in particular the students.  Though some of our full-time staff are otherwise occupied and unable to volunteer, we do always have a good number of staff who are willing to give their time for a good cause.  One of the keys to the event of course is the formal invitation to student staff that goes out several weeks beforehand so that we can gauge attendance numbers for food, prizes, etc.  The collecting of student email addresses from their various supervisors on our full-time staff is always a challenge, but one staff member in particular has proven year after year to be “unable” to provide the email addresses of her students.  This year they emailed me five days prior to our event to apologize for not getting back to my inquiry until then and wondered if it would still be possible to include their staff.  I promptly returned their email, again requesting just the email addresses for their staff in whatever form was easiest for them.  The day before the event their response finally came and it said, “Dear Shaun, I just got time to get to this email.  This September has just been too overwhelming.  I truly appreciate the offer – maybe next year.”  Maybe next year?  Now, in all fairness, this person does have upwards of seven students working under them.   In the time that it took to send me two emails apologizing for being busy though, don’t you think they could have found the time to send me seven email addresses instead?

What’s our most valuable resource as employees?  Yup, you guessed it . . . time.  There’s an old saying that goes, “There are only so many hours in the day.”  That’s definitely true, but it’s not the time you spend at work or working that matter so much as what you do with those same hours.  That’s not to say that quantity is more important than quality (any medical professionals reading this?), but why take the time to send out a two page email to half of your colleagues when a simple phone call to one of them can clear up your issues in a fraction of the time?  Why have a meeting with ten people when you really only need three of them to resolve the issues at hand?  Are our assistants meant to perform the same tasks as us simultaneously or are they better suited to handle some tasks so that we can focus on others?  Think of it this way; if your company hired an independent consultant to come in and evaluate your work habits, would they report back that you were a model of efficiency or someone that would benefit from some additional training? 

A former colleague of mine recently posted or perhaps re-posted a tidbit that I found extremely interesting.  It said, “If you could only send 10 emails at work tomorrow, I bet those emails would really count for something.”  Working on cutting down on email vs. more personal contact (over the phone or in person) is just one area that we can focus on to improve our use of time.  This is a point that I harp on again and again, but just because you or your workplace has always done something one way does not mean there is not a more efficient way of doing it.  Take some time to evaluate your day to day tasks and ask that imaginary consultant on your shoulder if this is the best (time efficient and of high quality) way to do this. 

One of the larger problems however is that some of us look at a clock and see work time as the same whether we are being productive or not.  If you fall into that category, then my suggestion is even simpler . . . perhaps it’s time you looked at a new career.

 

Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager and ProShop Manager at Boston University FitRec. He can be reached at sbossio@bu.edu

Join my community

There’s a big difference between 1) surrounding yourself with random people of a like mind, whether it’s a social club, a network of professionals that share the same passion, or simply the running group you belong to that meets every Saturday morning and 2) actually knowing someone.

Your buddy at the running club may get you a free cup of coffee and muffin, but knowing someone, I mean really getting to know someone, will get you a job.

The community of people that you lightly associate yourself with may become a future asset, but the people that you have been investing time with will become your currency today.

 

Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at a.horne@neu.edu

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