Learning New Tricks

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By Kirk McCarley,

Kirk Mccarley

“We’re doing twice the work we used to do and getting paid the same.”

“This new machine’s not as good as what we had before.”

Sound familiar?

Consider the first statement, the “do more with less” complaint.  Aren’t nearly all of us are required to be more productive than we were 20 or even 10 years ago?  Yet, look at the tools now at our disposal.  Computer speeds are faster than ever.  A single cell phone has more capability than the technology that helped us land on the moon.  Groceries are delivered to our doorsteps often within a day or even hours of ordering.  Scientists developed an immunization for Covid in less than a year.

Still, learning how to Zoom, text, or even email can be uncomfortable propositions for many.

In my work in college sports for ESPN I provide statistical data and observations to “on air” broadcasters during the course of a telecast.  Basically the job description calls for sharing information during an event that will enrich the production and allow the announcers to come across as even more informed than they already are.

Although sports has slowly made a return during Covid, broadcasts are different.  For one, there may or may not be fans in attendance.  Further, on air talent may not even be present, announcing from a room or basement in their home or some other venue.  The same goes for me:  out of the events I have been assigned and worked thus far in 2021 all have been from my home office in South Walton.

I recall my first remote production a few months back.  Admittedly not as technically proficient as I would like, I felt overwhelmed at how I was going to adapt.  From that experience, though, I developed a step-by-step formula that not only worked for me, but that I believe can apply to challenges any of us face to make them seem not so intimidating.  If I may share:

  1. First of all be grateful that the powers that be have demonstrated confidence in your abilities and entrusted you with the responsibility.  They may very well know some things that are not so readily apparent to you.
  2. “How do you eat an elephant?”  “One bite at a time.”  Break the project down into smaller increments.
  3. Seek advice from someone who may have experience with the same or a similar challenge.
  4. Tackle the undertaking from the perspective of what you do know.  For me that is studying game notes and statistics from a variety of websites and transferring that information into the format and tools with which I have most familiarity.
  5. Next, start with technology options that are most comfortable.  Fortunately, I knew a little bit about Zoom.  In my instance it also meant acquiring two laptops to begin with—one for the live game broadcast and another in which to communicate notes specifically to on air talent.
  6. A third laptop was then to be added to in order to receive “live” statistical information.
  7. Assure that internet connectivity is strong and that there is reliable back up, such as a cell phone “hot spot,” just in case.
  8. Finally take a deep breath, say a prayer, have a good show, and feel gratified when you’ve done it.

These sophisticated times of ours also provide a reminder that none of us are ever too old to learn new things.  In my instance it is also good for me to get a taste of obstacles similar to those I task to my coaching clients.

What is the new challenge that you need to take on?

A graduate of the University of North Texas, Kirk McCarley is a Certified Professional Coach as well as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM-CP Certified. He also is a Production Assistant for both college football and basketball for ESPN and leads group cycling classes as a Certified Spinning instructor. Contact kirk@theseedsowercoach.com, theseedsowercoach.com, or call  314-677-8779.

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