Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Perception Is Reality

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 07:07 AM

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.

Topics: Guest Author, athletic training conference, Good to Great, discipline, customer service, Leadership

Present and Accounted For

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 @ 07:01 AM


A few weeks back, I was asked to place an order for one of my coordinators.  “No problem,” I thought, “this should be a quick phone call.”  I phoned the salesperson listed on the quote and was greeted by a voicemail that told me they were on vacation (no timetable for their return) and advised me NOT to leave a message.  Really?  Ok.  For attempt number two, I called the company’s direct line and instead of being able to speak to a person who could help me I was greeted with a number of confusing options, none of which appeared to be sales or customer service.  I hit zero on my phone and was put on hold.  When someone picked up and I explained my dilemma I was told that they weren’t positive, but they thought I should speak with Sales.  After I hastily agreed, I was transferred there and got the voicemail of another salesperson.  Two days later that salesperson returned my call and after I explained myself again I was told that I really should speak with the salesperson that had sent the quote over.  For the third time over the course of three days, I explained that I had unsuccessfully attempted to do this, only to be rebuffed by his out of office message.  When the salesperson told me that their colleague would be returning next week “he thought”, I explained to him that if they could not help me place my order today that I would find another company that could.  Suddenly, they were very helpful. 

What can we learn from this experience? Quite a bit actually.  First of all, automated messages may save you some time in answering common questions or directing people to the proper source, but I think everyone appreciates the personal touch of an organization that has an actual person picking up their phone during business hours.  What a novel concept!  Secondly, if you do not know the answer to someone’s question, find it.  I do not ever want to hear the phrases “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” unless they are followed by “but let me find that out for you”.  Finally, when you get passed around repeatedly, the easiest solution is to go somewhere else.  If you are not the person that can help me, then . . . and get ready for this, it is a real doozy . . . how about finding someone that can?

The lessons from this story are many, but they all boil down to making sure that you and your staff are present.  It is a simple concept, but making sure that you are willing and able to assist your client base goes a long way towards furthering your performance and reputation.  This does not mean that you should be available 24/7 or that you should not be taking personal time.  What it does mean is that your clients understand how they can get what they need, when they need it.  For instance, if you are not available during regular business hours, is someone else on your staff ready to step up and assist or will the customer be brushed off?  We have all had those miserable experiences as customers from time to time, but ask yourself this; when you do have a miserable customer experience, are you likely to go back?  We are all consumers of differing varieties whether you are a student-athlete, patient, or just a person looking to buy a pair of sneakers.  If your customers cannot get what they need from you, it will not be long before they start looking somewhere else. 


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

Topics: Guest Author, Good to Great, discipline, customer service

Permission To Act

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

Seth Godin does it again...




Do You Need A Permit?


Where, precisely, do you go in order to get permission to make a dent in the universe?

The accepted state is to be a cog. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we're told. It's safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.

When someone comes along and says, "not me, I'm going down a different path," we flinch. We're not organized to encourage and celebrate the unproven striver. It's safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course). Better, we think, to let them down easy, to encourage them to take a safer path, to be realistic, to hear it from us rather than the marketplace.
Perhaps, years ago, this was good advice. Today, it's clearly not. In fact, it's disrespectful, ill-advised and short sighted. How dare we cheer when a bold changemaker stumbles? Our obligation today isn't to spare the feelings of our peers from future disappointment. It's to establish an expectation that of course they're going to do something that matters.

If you think there's a chance you can make a dent, GO.



You have my permission. Not that you needed it.

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, discipline, customer service, everything basketball, development, Seth Godin

A Week with Riley - Complacency

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

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)

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, basketball training programs, athletic training, Ownership, Pat Riley, discipline, customer service, development, Leadership

A Week with Riley - Relating to Players

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Oct 7, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

How important is it to relate to individual players and how can a coach improve his or her interpersonal skills?

everything basketball

RILEY: It depends on what level you are coaching.  When it comes to coaching on a youth level, in  a junior high school level, or a high school level, where kids are still maturing emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, I think the communication, talking, educating type of approach transcends the actual X’s and O’s.  I think you have to develop the mind and the will as much as you develop them on the court.

As players get older, especially as professionals, they will bring the philosophies of five to fifteen coaches with them.  That means they have been talked to, they have been coached by a lot of different people, they have been motivated and inspired, and they know what it’s like to be a player who is being coached. Sometimes in professional basketball, saying less is best.  Your actions and how they work and what you put in front of them every day will be noticed. 

If I were coaching a high school team, I would be teaching, teaching, teaching, and teaching verbally every single day to every single individual.

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

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, basketball videos, Pat Riley, discipline, development

A Week with Riley - Discipline

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 @ 07:10 AM

You have said that dscipline is not a dirty word. Some coaches are wary of disciplinary action fearing it may have an adverse effect. What is your approach? How can a coach use discipline to his or her advantage?

everything basketball

RILEY: Whenever somebody goes outside the covenants and does something that can break the spirit of the team it cannot be allowed.  As a coach, I liked to take some of my most experienced players and converse with them about what they think should be done.  It isn’t just a my way or the highway thing.  Even though at times someone can do something so egregious that yes, he’s out of here.   And I think we understand what those things are.  When that happens, there is no team consultation.

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

Topics: basketball performance, basketball training programs, Pat Riley, discipline, everything basketball, development

A Week with Riley - Teamwork

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 @ 07:10 AM

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)

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, Pat Riley, discipline, development, Leadership

A Week with Pat Riley - Leadership

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

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)



Topics: LeBron James, Pat Riley, discipline, Leadership

It's About Time

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 @ 07:09 AM

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

Topics: Guest Author, Ownership, Good to Great, discipline, customer service, development, Leadership

Leaders and Managers

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 @ 07:09 AM

everything basketball

There is a fundamental difference between leaders and managers. The manager will lead her group through the jungle with a machete, hacking away and clearing a path for the group to follow.

A leader, however, will climb the tallest tree and discover that they are actually heading in the totally wrong direction.

(paraphrased from Jim Collins, Good to Great)

Are you blindly working away day after day? Head down in your outlook calendar managing this week’s tasks and your “to-do” lists, delegating cleaning duties and administrative responsibilities or have you taken a moment to climb the tallest tree and discover that the work you’re so busy at on a daily basis is actually keeping you from realizing that you’re heading in the wrong direction?

The challenge of course is putting down the blackberry and looking up long enough to realize that you’re actually trapped in a hamster wheel.  Hint: Hacking away will only keep the wheel spinning.  The only way to get out is to climb the tallest tree.

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

Topics: Art Horne, Good to Great, discipline, development, Leadership