I’m the guy who sits next to you
And reads the newspaper over your shoulder
Don’t turn the page.
I’m not finished.” – Lyle Lovett, “Here I Am”
Hopefully these words didn’t completely creep you out and you have chosen to continue to read on.
These lyrics above from a Lyle Lovett song resonated with me as like the character in the song, I am totally and completely nosy about literature and information. This isn’t nosy in the “I want to know intimate details about your life and will poke through your trash to get them” kind of nosy, but rather the “I want to see what you are reading” kind of nosy. In other words, less offensive, but more productive and benign.
If I walk into someone’s office, I’m distracted by the books that are on someone’s bookshelves even though I make best efforts to try to hide it. I am pretty sure that I will perform a quick scan (or so I hope) of the shelves before engaging in conversation. Otherwise, I’m going to be distracted and glancing over during.
If there is a book that catches my eye, and depending on the situation and my familiarity with the person, I will either ask questions about the book(s) or I clandestinely write the name of the books down in my black pocket notebook.
Yeah., I’m into books.
I’ve always been a big reader. I’m NOT anti-social and I have friends. I don’t read solely to accumulate knowledge and allow it to marinate in the deepest and darkest recesses of my mind, only to use it when absolutely necessary. What a waste that is! Rather, I read so I can share knowledge.
I’ve always been close to those people that take time out of what they are doing and share information with me. Doing this proves that you care about me, my development and/or my personal knowledge. I try my hardest to pass along information obtained to others.
Most people that know me can attest to the fact that their email inbox or text message center will often times have an unsolicited correspondence from yours truly (generally at some early morning hour) that either has a link to a book or an article or excerpt that I think is relevant to them and their particular situation. This isn’t meant to annoy or harass someone or beat someone into my way of thinking. Rather, this is a demonstration of my concern for another person and my sincere belief that I think this blurb or link that I passed along can help them in some type of way.
Sharing information isn’t limited to sharing that which is gathered by reading. You can share technical knowledge of sports, as well as institutional knowledge. However, many administrators and coaches are reluctant to do so.
Sharing information in sports is based on situations and relationships. In football we tend to be super secretive. Practices are often times closed. We are very protective of playbook dissemination. And of course we lose our minds and flip out when we see a cameraman take shots with a wide angle as opposed to the narrow angle.
Obviously there are certain things that you want to keep private and secret, such as plays, schemes, techniques, etc. Yet there are exceptions. Coaches go visit other staffs to try and gather information and improve on their own processes. Sometimes you don’t need to travel across the country to gain useful information. Often times, just going down the hallway and talking to coaches of others sports will prove useful.
I don’t know of a single successful administrator that withholds information. This is something unsuccessful people do. They keep it for themselves in order to get all the credit when things go well. They do it to gain favor with others by showing that they are the only ones with that crucial information or insight. They don’t want to make anyone better.
These administrators later bemoan the fact that there is poor communication within the department because no one is “on the same page” or worse that they have a weak staff that doesn’t take the initiative to improve upon processes.
Building a fortress around your information is silly. Sure there are trade secrets or attributes about how your team or organization conduct business that you don’t want out there. There is “family” business that you don’t want going outside of the confines of the hallways of your building. And not everyone is or should be privy to all of the information. But it is in the open disclosure of ideas and realities where you can get buy-in from student-athletes, coaches and players.
Accumulating knowledge is the product of an extensive amount of time and effort expended to build networks and gather information. Sharing information endears to you to others. It strengthens relationships. Sharing information allows the recipient to feel more invested in what is going on.
You don’t get everyone on the same page by repeating tired mantra during your weekly or monthly departmental wide meeting. Buy-in doesn’t work like that. You build relationships by sharing information that makes working together a reality instead of an aspiration.
What are you reading? Want to know what I’m reading? Have any information that you care to share? Need some from me? Email Juan at email@example.com
Juan Lozano is a sports attorney in Los Angeles, California that focuses his practice on representing coaching talent. He is a former Director of Football Operations at a number of schools. Lozano is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin Law School.