To keep growing, you need to know where you’re going. The only way to figure out where you want to go is to know the reason behind your motivation. In this episode, the show’s guest is Molly Fletcher, a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance, and unwavering optimism. Molly shares with Rodney Flowers how knowing your WHY gives you energy. Join in the conversation and grab some tips on how to know the reason behind your motivation. It’ll affect not only your performance but also your relationships. Tune in to become more productive and feel more connected!
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Want To Have Clarity? Know The Reason Behind Your Motivation With Molly Fletcher
I’m extra excited because I have a very special guest who you are going to love. Her name is Molly Fletcher. She has spent decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents. She has recruited and represented hundreds of some sports’ biggest names, including Hall of Fame Pitcher John Smoltz, PGA Tour Golfer Matt Kuchar, Broadcaster Erin Andrews and basketball championship coaches Tom Heinsohn and Doc Rivers. As a sports agent, she has observed and adopted the traits of coaches and athletes at the top of their game. Molly is here to share these tips and techniques with us to help us unleash our full potential. Without further ado, let’s welcome Molly Fletcher to the show.
It’s awesome to be with you. Thanks, Rodney, for having me. This is going to be fun.
I am excited to have you here. I am a follower, just so you know. I’ve been checking you out. You interview some amazing guests on your show. Let’s go ahead and plug that in, Game Changers with Molly Fletcher. You have interviewed some amazing, game-changing athletes, coaches, entrepreneurs, thought leaders. I’m like, “This woman is amazing.” I understand where you’ve been to a degree overcoming an obstacle of being a female in a male-dominant field. Yet, you have seemed to rise to the top of your game and be amazing.
I love what you’re doing. I love your message. I wanted to have a conversation with you and understand your mindset, how you’ve been able to accomplish so much given the adversity that you faced and continue to lead the field when it comes to success. You have this idea about game changers, which is something you and I have in common. You can tell, I have so much that I want to talk to you. Let’s put this in perspective. Let’s talk about how you’ve been so successful in a male-dominated field. Can you give us a little bit about where you are and where you come from?
Just like you, Rodney, I’m a believer in being who you authentically are. That’s what the world wants us to be, and that’s how we connect. At the core as human beings, that’s what we all want is to connect truly with other people, not just communicate with them. How I did it right? One, I got to thank the athletes that I worked with for giving me a shot, for believing in me, at some level, sometimes teaching me things along the way.
They helped me and they were good to me. I’d be behind dugouts oftentimes at BP, Batting Practice, and my guys would run over to me to talk to me about something that was going on. They’d seen the lineup card, and they were dropped to the sixth hole. Their spikes didn’t come in, their pitching toe was ripped off or pick something. They’d come over and talk to me. Their managers would yell at them and go, “Quit hitting on that chick. Get over here.” My guys would bow up, look back as a manager and go, “Relax. It’s my agent.” That for me was big. They helped me and supported me.
There are moments that we all have in our own lives where we have to reframe these moments. There were lots of moments where it would have been easy for me to say, “I didn’t play in the big leagues. I didn’t coach D-1 Basketball. Who am I kidding?” People think I’m somebody’s wife. I may need to call this, but in my heart, I felt like I could connect with these players in a way that was different than the people that I was seeing I was competing with. I felt like I could connect with coaches. I felt like I could serve a whole family, not just the athlete if it was a male athlete.
That required me to get curious about how to get resilient, which you believe in and you talk about. I need to recover from these tough moments, tell myself the right story, reframe these moments and recognize that at the end of the day, making it in this space is up to me. I’ve got to find a way if I want it bad enough. I believe that in life, if you want something bad enough and you’re willing to put in the work, you can find a way to get there.
How did you reframe? Let’s talk about that because that’s an interesting word. How did you do that? A lot of times, we believe the narrative of the past. It’s difficult to create a new narrative, especially one that’s futuristic. We have a vision. We want to go there. This is what it looks like but to live by that, presently, when I’m dealing with everything, that’s seemingly stopping me from progressing forward. How do I put that reframe in play and execute?
One, we’ve got to know where we’re trying to go. At the core, we’ve got to know where we are going. We have to pause and get still enough at some level to say, “What are the stories that I’m telling myself that’s keeping me stuck, keeping me in this place that isn’t where I want to be?” If I was sitting behind a dugout, I started to say, “Maybe I can’t do this.” Being a woman in this world, I didn’t do it but that wasn’t a story that was helping me. At that moment, you have to recognize the story that you’re telling yourself that isn’t taking you where you want to go. You’ve got to get intentional about reframing it.
There’s maybe somebody reading that maybe the world is working so different than they did months ago. People are burned out or approaching burnout. There’s no in-between. We were hearing that. There are lots of people maybe reading and saying, “I don’t have time to work out. How in the world can I work out?” They know they want to be a healthy person but they say, “I’ve got emails. I’ve got kids, bosses, colleagues, meetings, Zoom one after another. I have way too much going on. There’s no way I could work out.” That’s a story that they’re telling themselves that isn’t taking them where they say they want to go.Be who you authentically are. That's what the world wants you to be. Click To Tweet
You say, “How do I reframe the story and say, when I work out, I feel better. I have more energy. I’m more productive. I connect better with the people I work with. I serve my kids, my spouse, my partner. I serve all of them better. I feel better. I’m more efficient and I serve the people that I lead even better.” When we can change the story, we can then change the behavior. What I would challenge people to do is say, “What are the 2, 3, 5, 10 stories that you’re telling yourself that are keeping you stuck in a place that isn’t where you want to be?” Rewrite the new story.
The truth is when we’re pushing ourselves in life, we’re going to get uncomfortable. We’re going to navigate change. It’s going to get hard, uncomfortable and scary. You’re going to feel fear and all those things, but what I believe is through little moments of stepping into these little moments of change, we get stronger, more resilient and better in the little moments. That helps us build the strength and muscle memory maybe for the bigger moments, recognizing that we’re in charge of that.
That’s the one thing that we do have control over.
It’s our mindset and our story. We live in a world where there are many things we can’t control. We have to pause and say, “What can I control?” When we try to control things, we can’t control. It’s tiring. It’s exhausting actually. Whereas if we just lean into what can I control, what are the little moments, the big moments, then we say, “I’m going to lean into what’s controllable.” When I worked with athletes, that’s one thing you’ll hear the best athletes and coaches talk about all the time. You can’t go nuts over an obstacle. You can’t control that. Get back on defense and go do what you do, control what’s controllable.
Molly, tell me. How did you go about building the trust in these athletes? I want to take you back a little bit very early in your career when there weren’t many women even considered to be in sports across the board. You’ve been on it for years. The landscape was a lot different years ago as a place for women in sports. How were you able to build that trust with your clients?
You know one moment at a time, one conversation at a time, one meeting at a time, one ballgame at a time. It was about being consistent and authentic. Consistently, the first guys I signed were baseball players down at Georgia Tech. I would show up at that fence every day, day after day. They began to realize that it was the same person showing up every day. It was a person who cared about their ability to take something that they’ve done since they were five years old, and they’ve loved to keep doing it at another level and to potentially get paid an interesting amount of money to do that thing that they have lost since they were young. One of the things that I believe is that we can give authentically to the people in our lives that we want to serve, be it a prospect, anyone in our lives that we truly want to have an authentic relationship with and potentially serve them in some way.
One of the things I often say to sales folks is, “Act like you have the business before you have the business. Behave in a way that sends a message to the people that you want to work with.” This relationship matters so much to me. I’m going to start doing some things for you to show you what this might be like. Granted there are things that you can do legally and there are things that you can’t do. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t buy a Minor League, a guy, a draft kid, anything. I could give him a Coke. It’s illegal. You have to show up authentically with who you are consistently over and over. Potentially provide authentic advice. Trust to me, at some level, is built over time through consistent behavior and effort that demonstrates that the relationship matters to you.
When I would recruit big-league baseball players or PGA tour players, there were ways that I could get them endorsement deals, do a camp for them. I had a baseball player once. With my first job, I made $24,000 a year. My first job was at the Super Bowl host committee. I made $600 a month answering the phones. My parents and I moved from Michigan to Atlanta to try to find a job. I got this job to answer the phones at the Super Bowl, which was an opportunity to meet all great people, people that were sponsoring the Super Bowl in Atlanta, but $600 a month.
I had negotiated this deal to teach tennis in exchange for my rent. I got a job doing endorsement deals and appearances for a few athletes that we had. Going out and recruiting new athletes for the agency was something that I thought we could do to help us grow, but I share that only because over a period of time, we can behave in a way. I remember when I share that story because I didn’t have enough money to fly home to Michigan but I wanted. I’m close to my parents. I remember I called a buddy of mine in Michigan and I said, “Who’s the nicest guy on the Tigers? Who’s the good dude? People like him. He’s authentic, kind, heck of a player. Who is it?”
My buddy said, “It’s this guy named Mike Maroth. He’s a left-handed pitcher. He’s a great guy.” Everybody loves him. He was arbitration-eligible, so he was getting into free agency, which was great. I thought, “I’m going to start recruiting this guy. If I can sign a guy with the Tigers, I can see him. I can also run over and see my parents. I could fly up.” As I was recruiting him, I went up and had dinner with him. I brought him this endorsement deal and act like you have a business before you have the business. We go to dinner. His wife looks right at me in the eyes, Rodney. She says, “I want you to know that we love our agents, so I’m not sure what you’re doing but we love our guy.” I was like, “No problem.”
I brought him that deal and a couple more deals. While at the dinner, I found out his dad had MS. It was hard for Mike and his wife. They wanted to do something for him. I called a guy that I knew at the Tigers, “What if we do National MS Day at Tiger stadium? His dad could draw out the first pitch. Maybe $1 for every ticket sold goes to MS. We could serve his father. It would be special for Mike, for his dad. Should we pull this thing off?” That was very authentic in the sense that I was able to raise money for a nonprofit, pour into his dad, pour into Mike.At the core, we have to know where we are going. Click To Tweet
After a few more things like that, Mike looked at me and goes, “You don’t even represent me and you’re doing this stuff for me. My guy that does doesn’t do these things. You do care. This is different. I want to switch.” That was a strategy. You’ve got to continue down that journey even when you sign up. My mom used to always say, “Remember, a guy is going to be as nice as he’s ever going to be when he’s dating you.” Fortunately, I married a man that’s nicer to me. He was always incredible, even when we dated and still when we’re married years later. That’s the thing that I think we need to in life with regards to building trust. That’s such a long answer to your question, Rodney, but little moments create trust.
My next question was going to be how do we develop that level of authenticity? You’ve already answered that question. It’s a simple answer and that’s caring. Building relationships is important in sports, teams, as well as businesses, corporations, organizations. We work with people. How do we build trust among ourselves in order to accomplish something? Being authentic is the key yet challenging for a lot of people. We live in a world where society is representing all of these things.
If you want to be liked, you’ve got to choose which side you want to be on. Pretend that you’re there and all of these things. Being authentic is very challenging for people to show their true selves. You could start with caring. It’s easy to care about what matters most. It’s not all about the money, business or contract. All of those things are important, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have those relationships or if you don’t care enough, what good is all of those things?
That’s why it’s important to know why we do what we do. It can’t be driven by money. I’ve been around a lot of wealthy, miserable people. It’s important. Money creates choices, resources and tools, but it’s never going to make you feel peace, make you feel connected, replace a relationship or a loved one. To me, life is about human connection and relationships. All of us are on this constant journey to find this superpower that we all have. Everybody has this superpower gift that they were put here to do.
As young people, we continue to get closer and closer, hopefully, to this thing that we can do that not only creates success maybe in your own eyes or in the world’s eyes, but most importantly in your own fulfillment. What we’re all after is fulfillment, not really success. At some level, it can be for women that if you chase success, you compromise over here, maybe family fulfillment. If you chase fulfillment, you’re probably not going to make any money, but there’s an opportunity to bring these two things together in life and that we all have that thing that we can do without a lot of preparation. That’s our gift. That’s our thing. That’s easy for us at some level. That’s the lane we want to find and then run down. That’s when we can marry at some level the success and fulfillment. It’s powerful.
How do we start that journey, Molly, in your opinion? A lot of times, we are programmed to chase the money. You brought up that you’ve got to get a job, support yourself and gain some level of independence. Your whole upbringing is about being able to accomplish that. What does that going to look like? What kind of life do you want to live? That could be very huge. You take on this huge challenge, request and demand on life to be this big-time entrepreneur, be all of these things. If you fall short, you feel shame and doubt. That leads to a spiral effect.
I truly believe that’s not what you do first. You don’t focus on all of those things. What is it that you love? What is it that you are good at? How do you contribute? What would you like to give back to life? Whom and how would you like to serve? They don’t teach you this in school. School is all about learning how to get a job so you can go make yourself some money and you can be independent, but I feel like the approach is all wrong. What are your thoughts about that?
We go to school to find a job, to get paid, to contribute to the world and to others in some way, but that’s not necessarily how school works. It’s interesting. The success and fulfillment thing to me, it’s about saying spending time getting clear on your why. What drives you? What matters most to you that’s uniquely you? It’s something that probably only you can do, show up as and say. We’ve got to spend some time getting clear. At some level, it’s getting clear on the things that give you energy. I wrote a book called The Energy Clock. One of the things I saw with my athletes was that they lived in a world where their linchpin for performance was energy. It wasn’t time.
I transitioned more into the business world with speaking and our training products. What I realized is the world operates primarily by their calendars, which is fine as long as the things on your calendar are the things that give you energy and/or taking you to a place that you want to go. I say all that only because it starts with some level of clarity, getting clear on the things that matter most to you and the things that you need to have, the discipline and the courage to say no to. Recognizing those moments when we say no to something. In fact, what we spend a lot of time in the moments that we say no to things is feeling badly about the no, but the mindset shift and the opportunity in that is, “What am I saying yes to?”
There were lots of things that I said no to that people would go, “You’ve got to be crazy.” Fifty-yard line tickets to the Super Bowl, no because my daughter is the lead in the fifth-grade play, and I’m going to that. Before that moment happened, I knew that I’m the only one that can be their mother. Nobody else can sit in the audience that they can look at and know that she was there. There are going to be a lot of Super Bowls. I’m not changing the outcome of that game, but I can change the outcome of this game. I’m going to say no to this, but the shift you have to make quickly in your mind is, “I’m saying yes to the person in my life actually and the people in my life that mattered the most.”
People in life talk a lot about balance. This world is interesting, particularly inside of COVID and inside of this meshed world that we’ve all been living in. To me, balance is a byproduct of clarity, having the discipline and the courage to say yes and no, and then reframe the noes. It’s hard to say no, particularly for people who are authentically kind and giving. We live in this FOMO world. We want to be everywhere all the time, but we can’t. We have to say no so that we can show up for the things in our lives that matter most.
We talk about this in our Energized Leader training a lot because what I see happen so much is people say yes. They accept things on their calendars. Their calendars are packed back-to-back-to-back. They don’t even have time to take a walk outside, go to the bathroom, eat lunch. People come into their office. They light them up if it’s their family or their kids because they’re busy. They get to the meeting. That’s important. The big pitch that week or the big interview. They have no energy for that. What I saw the best athletes do is say, “What matters most? I’m going to have the courage to say no to the things that matter most so that I can perform as my best self on the field or the quarter.”
I remember I had a draft kid, Rodney. He came up to the office. His name was Jason Heyward. He’s still in the Big Leagues. He’s a young kid coming out of high school, signed up for piles of money, from a middle-class-ish family. He’s getting ready to walk into a lot of money in a signing bonus. I’m sitting in the boardroom with him, and immediately card signing deals, automotive deals, sign autographs at our thing, will trade a car out for you for six months for free. One opportunity after another once he signs. He’s a professional and can take these deals. He could do card signings, appearances, commercials, endorsement deals, speaking engagements, all of it. It’s all coming in.Balance is a by-product of clarity. Click To Tweet
You’d think for an eighteen-year-old kid from a middle-class family, sitting in your living room and sign a baseball card for $15,000 while you’re watching cartoons sounds interesting. Literally, this guy is like, “No. You know what I know? If I can put up the numbers, if I can get through the Minor Leagues quickly, if I can get to arbitration, if I can do what I know as an athlete, I can do on the field and at the plate, all that in spades will be there later.” He knew what mattered most, which was performing as an athlete.
This doesn’t mean this is the formula for everybody at all, but he showed crystal clear and knew that he needed to stay focused on the things as an athlete, and then all those things would be there. They have. He’s still in the Big Leagues. This conversation happened years ago. To me, in life, clarity is a powerful thing. That means that we could have things like purpose statements for ourselves. Companies have purpose statements. Why don’t people? Why don’t we? It becomes a little bit of a filter for us to know what to say yes to and what to say no to.
What type of failures have you experienced that you’re willing to share that were lessons for you and game-changers for you?
How much time do you have? There’s about a ton. It’s funny because I get this question a lot. They started truthfully when I was young. I grew up with twin brothers five years older than me who treated me a whole lot more like a little brother than a little sister. That’s for sure. It started with them wrestling at the top of the stairs with my dad and me deciding, “I’m going to jump into that pile. I’m going to see what I can do here.” Within a couple minutes, I’m getting thrown out the backside with a black eye. I’m bleeding. My dad looking up and going, “You decided to jump in, so good luck. Get some Kleenex. Figure it out.”
It was up to you to jump into that pile, so you better figure out how to clean yourself off after jumping into that pile. You don’t want to play tennis in Michigan State. I remember I came home. We had played a school that we should have beaten pretty handily. Everyone won their match, except me. I lost. I should have beaten this girl with all due respect, a broom and my other hand. I lost. I shouldn’t have lost the match at all. I was so embarrassed. I was mortified. Back then, you think it’s a big deal. Camps for kids. I poured into him for 24 months deals. It was like I was his agent.
We’re sitting at dinner, bring the contracts, ready to go like done deal. He’s got 29 other teams out there. We’ve got to shop him to a free agency. It’s going to be a 4 or 5. It’s going to be a sweet deal. He looks across the table at me and goes, “You’ve been amazing. I’ve got to tell you, the stuff and the deals, I can’t thank you enough but, Mol, I can’t switch. I can’t leave my guy.” He’s been there when I got off the boat. He’s like a dad, a brother. He said, “I can’t do it.” It was a lesson in having the courage to be early, to have asked the difficult questions earlier. I should have early on been in the journey with Andrew. I knew a lot of other guys on the team at the time.
I should have said like, “What do you love about your guy?” I always tell financial advisors this or people who are trying to procure business. Every athlete I had, unless they were a draft player, they switched. To me, I signed about 300 guys in years, unless they were coming out of high school, switched. The mistake I made in that moment was I never once said, “What do you love about him?”
What I would have heard in that moment was, “He’s like a daddy. He’s like a brother. He’s been right there. He was there when I got off the boat. He’s my guy.” I would have gone cool. There are 750 Big League guys, “I’m glad that you’re happy. I’m glad you’re in a good spot but cool, no big deal. There are 750 other guys I can get, so move on.” There have been many failures along the way, professionally, personally. It’s important in those moments to recover fast and to move forward, which I know you believe in too.
Molly, you believe that negotiation skill is a critical part of success. For you and me as an agent, you have to be pretty good at that. You’ve taken it a step further and said, “In business, it’s all about negotiation. If you don’t have the negotiation skills, you’re probably selling yourself short.” Could you talk to us a little bit about your philosophy around negotiation and why that is important? Especially we’re navigating a new normal, why is it important for us to power up our negotiation skills?
We do this life thing once. At the end of the day, negotiation is all about connection. It’s not about what often the world thinks, which is about taking your gloves off, get across the table and go at it. I don’t think that’s what it is. I have never found success negotiating that way. To me, when you think about what negotiation is at the most basic level, it’s a conversation. It’s a conversation that can be difficult and arduous. It can be all those things but what I found over and over was the more connected I was to the person I was negotiating with, whether it was a general manager, a network executive at NBC, ESPN, an athletic director, any manufacturer’s rep, the better the relationship, the better the outcome.
A lot of times, the mistake people make when they negotiate is they spend a lot of time worrying about what they want, the gap that they’re trying to close, the salary, the terms, the deal and the bonuses that they want. What is incredibly important is to get inside of the head and the heart of the person that you’re negotiating with. What problem are you solving for them? What other issues are they navigating? What matters most to them? What are they truly driving toward? How are you negotiating with and/or solving a problem for them and getting paid for that? How are you truly closing a gap? Connecting to what matters most to them is imperative, instead of getting out of yourself and say what matters to them.
If I was negotiating a deal with Titleist for a ball deal or negotiating an apparel deal with Nike, I knew what my guy needed to make. I do all that research, get my head around that and get prepared but what I also would do is spend a ton of time going, “Who else do they have? Where do they have gaps? What tournaments are those guys and gals playing?” I would get in their world as much as I could, show that I understood what was potentially driving them. We’ve got to get curious inside of the conversations. To me, zipping it at some level, listening and asking great questions is incredibly important and then having the courage to take all that in and pause.
Sometimes in negotiations, people talk way too much. They don’t listen enough and pause. They keep going. They ask for what they want and then they kept talking. If we have built a relationship, set the stage, prepared, got lots of information, asked the difficult questions, at some level maybe added value to them even, then when we ask for what we want, we need to zip it. Stop talking. I can’t tell you the number of times where somebody says, “I think I should be paid $80,000 a year because when you think about it,” then they never stop.
Just stop. Say, “I should be at $80,000 a year.” Hopefully if you’re doing it right, in my opinion, you’ve done all kinds of things before you ask. Negotiation is a difficult conversation but if we have a great relationship, we know that when we ask for what we want, they’re not walking out of the room. They’re not leaving. My husband and I have been married for years. We can have a difficult conversation. I know we’re good. He’s not leaving me. I’m not leaving him. We’re connected.
In life, we need to build relationships so that we can have difficult conversations and know that the relationship is safe. I’m not suggesting by the way that this is easy to do. It takes time, energy, intentionally getting curious in moments that we want to get defensive, but when we can shift from defensiveness to curiosity, that’s when we can connect in big ways too.
There’s a lot of fear around difficult conversations. Most people would rather avoid difficult conversations instead of stand in them and go through that. I know this is something that you teach your company that’s training on increasing negotiation skills. What are some of maybe 1 or 2 of the basic elements one may want to consider strengthening or improving as it comes to connecting, building those relationships and being able to stand in those difficult conversations?We need to build relationships so we can have difficult conversations and know that the relationship is safe. Click To Tweet
One would be knowing who you’re negotiating with and what matters most to them. What we know is that people generally show up inside of these conversations in four primary personality styles. They’re either very financially focused, worried about the numbers, relational in their approach potentially. They can be very logistical in their approach. They’re financial, relational, logistical or may be very strategic. They’re thinking big picture, high-level, long-term. We find that people show up in those four ways.
Spending some time trying to ask the kinds of questions that can get you clear on who that person is and what matters most to them then can help you drive the conversation in a way that’s delivering the information that you think and you believe matters most to that person. That can be important because what that does is it helps drive connection. I was negotiating with a general manager once. He showed up always. I did negotiations totally financially focused. That was all that mattered to him. He didn’t care that my guy was a leader in the Clubhouse, that he sold a ton of jerseys, that he did community service, that he was always the guy ready to do the interview after.
All that he cared about was how much am I going to have to pay him. He’s a wonderful man, but that was what mattered to him. What I needed to do is recognize that’s what drove him. I needed to get inside of that very strategically from the team’s perspective, from my player’s perspective, where his head was at. I needed to live with that because that’s what mattered to him. That’s what drove connection at some level potentially with him. Knowing who we’re negotiating with and how they show up in those four categories is powerful. Also knowing that about ourselves, what our tendencies are.
They’re either left or right-handed. It’s not right or wrong. It’s how you’re born and how you’re wired. That to me is an important thing. Something that’s counter-intuitive is giving to the person that we’re potentially negotiating with in some ways, adding value, contributing. That can be powerful. It’s counter-intuitive people who think, “Why in the world would I add value to somebody?” When you think about it, it makes sense. You’re adding value to somebody who you’re going to ask something of at some level. That can be important.
Having the courage to pause is very uncomfortable and difficult to do but incredibly important. Having the awareness and intentionality to get curious when maybe our instinct is to get defensive. If I was negotiating for a player, even for myself and somebody said something that was inconsistent with truth or inconsistent with what I believed or all those things, I wanted to come out of my chair, go at them but that doesn’t work. Nobody likes that.
A lot of people are uncomfortable with negotiation but for me, for years, I woke up and did it every day, all day long. I didn’t start negotiating $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $100 million contracts. I started doing card signings for $10,000 or appearances for $5,000 or whatever it might have been. To me, leaning into opportunities every day to negotiate is important in helping build the confidence and the strength to do it for yourself maybe in bigger moments. Practice, like everything in life, some reps on it, makes you better in the bigger moments.
I love what you said about the exchange. The value that you’re giving, realizing that you’re going to be making an ask. It brought up to me that you want to get to an authentic exchange, where the value that you’re given is equal to the value that you’re asking for. That’s what makes an authentic exchange. Molly, as a leader and as we navigate the effects of COVID, going forward and what is considered a new normal, what are some of the skillsets or mindsets you feel we need to take into this new era of being in business and leading?
It’s an interesting environment that we’re living in, for sure. It’s going to look a lot different. At some level, one of the things I said to a teammate was, “Let’s not waste this crisis. What can we learn from this? How can we potentially lead, solve, serve and show up differently? Let’s not waste it. Let’s learn from it. Maybe there are some things that we learned during COVID that we’ll stay with, that we’ll be able to continue to help us lead better, to help us serve the people that we work with better. I believe as a leader, so much of what I think we see the best coaches in the world do is they give feedback quickly. They aren’t afraid to hold people accountable. They create a tremendous amount of clarity.
People in sports know their role and other’s roles. They know that they need to be present and do their job. I believe that that clarity is important. As leaders, we’ve got to create that clarity and then have the courage to hold people accountable against that clarity that we have interned created. We’ve got to support them along the way as well. We’ve got to pour into them along the way. Doc Rivers is one of the things I love. He’s an incredible guy. One of the things Doc does all the time is he ends his meetings with, “Anything you need from me,” which when you think about it on a lot of levels, it’s pretty powerful. Some of what he’s saying is, “Anything you need from me, tell me and let’s do it.”
Tom Otis does something cool. At the beginning of every season, he gives them all a 3×5 card. He says to every guy on the team, “I want you to identify what does success looked like for you this season. Be an individual for me and tell me what does success look like for you.” He gets all this stuff like, “I want to win a national championship, graduate an all American, get a 3.0 or above, win Big Ten Player of the Year.” He gets all this stuff on the card. They write 5, 10 things.
He takes every guy into his office one by one. He looks at him. Let’s say it’s a sophomore. He says, “You want to win a national championship?” The kid goes, “Yes.” “What do you think the behaviors are that win national championships? What does that look like?” The kid says it. He goes, “Have you ever done this before?” “No, sir.” “Have you ever won a national?” “No.” Tom is like, “I have. That’s cool. I can help you with that.” “Yes, coach, totally, for sure.” “You want to graduate with a 3.0 or above? What do you think people that graduate with a 3.0 do?” The kid goes, “They do their own work. They go to class. They study.”
If a prof calls me and tells me, “You hadn’t met a class in a couple of weeks, what can I do to support you with that?” “We need to get through. If you can help support me in that, remind me, get me going, that would be great.” If you’ve ever seen this on the sidelines, he goes ballistic. It’s like his head is going to come off his body when he’s talking to his guys on a huddle. He has created so much clarity and gotten them to tell him what they want and then gotten them to say, “Coach, you’ve done this. Hold me accountable.”
That simple exercise is incredibly powerful because it’s the reason that his players play hard for him, that he can go nuts on them, and they love him. You’ve never seen a program bring more guys back after they’ve graduated and write checks back to the program than Tom. He holds them accountable. He helps them be their best selves, unleash their potential, maximize that window of time as an athlete at Michigan State, lean into all of the things that those athletes have an opportunity to lean into in that period of time, and then hold them accountable. Clarity, accountability are big with me. They’re incredibly important to helping our people be their best selves. It’s recognizing that that is our role as leaders. It’s not at all about us. It’s about them. Helping them go where they believe they want to go and can’t go
Molly, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more about you?
Thank you for that, Rodney. People are welcome to go to MollyFletcher.com/Leadership-Huddles. We made a special code for you, Rodney and for your readers, which is GAMECHANGER. If they enter that code, they get $10 off the monthly subscription, but it’s our Game Changer Leadership Huddles program.
It’s a one-to-many coaching model. It’s a community of incredible people. We have several hundred people in it. I deliver on a particular topic every month. Your readers or people that want to wake up and get better every day, my promise is 57 minutes or less, you’re going to leave with clarity around a particular topic, behavior shift and a real clear action plan on how to do that. Sometimes, I bring in special guests, so that’s pretty cool.
Molly, thank you so much for stopping by and joining me here on this show. This has been a great conversation. It’s full of value. You are amazing. I thank you for your time. This has been a great show.
Thank you, Rodney, for having me. I’m humbled and grateful. Thank you for the work that you do, for the lives that you change. It’s awesome.
Thank you very much.
There you have it. It’s another successful episode of the show. I have one question before we go and that is, what do you want your future to look like? Even in this post-world, post era of COVID, what do you want that to look like? I suggest that you write that down. If you want to get a 3×5 card, write that down somewhere. Who do you need to be in order to bring that forward?
Ask yourself if you’re willing to commit to those behaviors, those thought patterns, whatever it is that come up for you that you feel is necessary. Not anyone else to do but for you to do in order to bring that forward. I’m holding you accountable. Molly is holding you accountable. More importantly, hold yourself accountable to whatever you put on that card, to be that person, to execute on that every single day. That’s the game-changer. Until next time. Peace and love.
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About Molly Fletcher
Molly Fletcher is a trailblazer in every sense of the word– a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance and unwavering optimism. A popular keynote speaker, she shares the unconventional techniques that helped her thrive as one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur.
Formerly, as President of Client Representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Molly spent two decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents. She was hailed as the “female Jerry Maguire” by CNN as she recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers.
As she successfully negotiated over $500 million in contracts and built lasting relationships, she also observed and adopted the traits of those at the top of their game. Molly shares her proven approach to negotiating in her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops, teaching people how to close more deals faster, while strengthening the relationship.
Molly has been featured in ESPN, Fast Company, Forbes and Sports Illustrated.
A sought-after motivational speaker, she delivers game-changing messages to top companies, trade associations, and teams worldwide. Molly is the author of five books: The Energy Clock, Fearless At Work; A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; The Business of Being the Best; and The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career.
Molly currently serves on the board of directors for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and the national advisory board for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Molly earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University while captaining the women’s tennis team. Molly’s energy and passion for life shine through everything she does. She finds her greatest joy at home in Atlanta with her husband Fred and their three daughters.