As I wrote last month, Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman Bob Seelert has written a book – ‘Start with the Answer’ – based on the wisdoms he has acquired during his career to date. His book is being launched today at the Harvard Club of New York (the opening story of the book is about how he “took a flyer” on Harvard and got in). To celebrate this new publication and to give you a taste of Bob’s style, I have run one of the 94 stories in the book below. It’s called ‘You’ll Need to “Work Your Ass Off”’ – a 1970s version of “Winning Ugly”. This story comes from the Managing Your Career section of the book. KR
By the time he addressed our team at General Foods, Jack Twyman had strung together three careers, each impressive in its own right. He had been a Hall of Fame basketball player in the National Basketball Association; a successful sportscaster on the NBA Game of the Week for ABC television; and finally, Chairman and CEO of Super Foods Services, Inc., a major food distributor in the United States. A man with three consecutive career successes surely would have some important advice for us, and he did.
The most significant lesson we learned from Jack was the importance of hard work, preparation, and dedication. From early in his life, he felt anything was possible, as long as the person was willing to pay “the price”. The definition of the price is an absolute and total commitment to what you want to accomplish.
Jack went to Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where basketball was a highly competitive sport. He tried out for the team as a freshman, sophomore, and a junior, and was cut each time. During the summer between his junior and senior years, he wore out three pairs of sneakers practicing basketball on the playground. As a senior, he made the team, went on to play at the University of Cincinnati and the NBA, and ultimately was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. What an incredible record of achievement and testimony to personal commitment, preparation, drive, and energy.
Jack’s selection by ABC as Game of the Week announcer was not happenstance, but a result of his thorough preparation for the job. For Jack, there was never any magic formula for success. Rather, as he said, “I worked my ass off!”
Bob’s Wisdom: There is no substitute for dedication and hard work.