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Creating A Winning Culture In Your Company

By Cheval John

November 19th, 2016

The #HTownTakeOver reignited after the University of Houston (UH) football team defeated then No.5 Louisville 36-10 in front of a record 42,822 fans at TDECU Stadium on Thursday night.

The football matchup was broadcast in front of a national television audience on ESPN and a national radio audience on ESPN Radio.

This Tweet by KPRC 2 sports reporter, Lainie Fritz, who captured the storming of the field after UH’s victory.

And ESPN had one of the best live streaming thursday night viewership this season due to this matchup

The campus has been a scene of a winning culture since Houston’s coach Tom Herman took over the team in December of 2014.

Since Herman’s arrival, UH has a record of 22-3 with an American Athletic Conference championship and a Peach Bowl win over Florida State University.

What is more impressive is that UH’s success has taken over the city of Houston

City Hall is lit in Cougar red to celebrate the @universityofhouston's win over Louisville! #HTownTakeover #GoCoogs

A photo posted by ABC13 Eyewitness News Houston (@abc13houston) on

In a city that has plenty of professional sports teams, UH has found a way to get their football team into the spotlight.

UH has had success under previous football coaches like Kevin Sumlin and their softball team have been extremely successful since they began in 2001.

However, the recent success of UH’s football team seems to be in another level.

One could argue that UH’s recent rise to prominence started when they achieved the Tier One Status in 2011 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education under the leadership of Chancellor Renu Khator.

With the Tier One status, UH were able to bring in world class professors and recruit future college students who were elite in their respective high schools from around the world.

From there, they were able to secure the funds to build the 40,000 seat TDECU stadium over the same grounds of the demolished Robertson Stadium in time for the 2014 football season.

That first year in the new stadium, Houston finished with an 8-5 record.

However, the season was considered disastrous due to the inaugural home opening loss to UTSA resulting in the firing of Tony Levine.

UH administration understood that if they wanted to take their football program to the next level in their new stadium, they had to bring in leadership who would bring in a culture of winning.

That was why they hired coach Herman to lead their football program because he played a role in helping Ohio State win a national championship under the new College Football Playoff format as an offensive coordinator for coach Urban Meyer.

Coach Herman instilled a winning culture at UH and the entire university community was onboard with the #htowntakeover movement.

The average home attendance at TDECU stadium have increase from 33,980 in 2015 to 38,953 this year.

UH administrators are trying to keep their coach from leaving the football team as major collegiate football teams are trying to hire him away from their school.

University of Texas seems to be the front runner to poach coach Herman away according to this ESPN report that the Longhorn’s most powerful boosters are trying to get Charlie Strong fired

Though UH have already increased coach Herman’s salary to $3 million a year, it seems like the money will not be enough.

The UH fans can hope that coach Herman will stay due to the stability of the UH administration who only want the best for their faculty and staff.

The above story showcases that as a business owner, you must:

1. Create a winning culture in your company

2. Allow your employees to shine in their respective roles

3. Avoid a power struggle (like the University of Texas boosters) that could tear your company apart

When you create a culture that allows your employees to shine in their roles, you will end up winning in the long term because they will go out of their way to promote you.

In the same manner as UH, customers will see your company as a place where people can grow their skills and positive recognition from outside sources will find you.

Have you created a winning culture like UH? You can leave your comments below.

The Win That Shook The Baseball World

By Cheval John

Just for today, I am taking a break from the National Non-fiction Writing Challenge month because I am in a different world right now.

The reason being is because the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night in a crazy Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Ohio.

Many might not know that I am a lifelong Cubs fan and I have never been to the city of Chicago.

I was close to visiting the Windy City earlier this year, but thing just fell through.

Now you might wondering how a person from St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands who have never been to Chicago, be a life-long Cubs fan?

I will explain.

Though St. Croix does not have a professional sports team like cities here in the states, growing up we had sports teams to choose from.

What I mean is that on our cable television channels, we had Turner Broadcasting Station, which was the home of the Atlanta Braves, a station which broadcast the New York Mets and of course, WGN TV-Chicago which broadcast the Cubs and at times, the White Sox and the Bulls.

For some reason, I choose to follow the Cubs because watching the baseball home matchups at Wrigley Field felt like I were in a backyard neighborhood where people gathered to hang out with friends.

And seeing some of the great baseball players like Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, Andre Dawson, etc. putting in their best effort to win a matchup for the Chicago Cubs nation.

And of course, the late great Haray Caray, who brought excitement to the baseball game with his calls of “It Could Be, It Is” on homerun calls and “Cubs Win, Cubs Win” after they defeated an opponent in the matchup.

To add, the famous “Seventh Inning Stretch” which Caray led the fans and viewers to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

I grew accustomed to the Cubs losing because it was as if you expected something wrong was going to happen and they all of a sudden break your heart.

But no matter what, I stayed loyal to the Cubs despite the long suffering while watching other teams compete for the chance to win the World Series.

When I moved to Texas 17 years ago and seen the evolution of a great city like Houston, I stayed loyal to the Cubs because that was the right thing to do.

I honestly was wondering what would it be like when the Chicago Cubs would finally win the ultimate prize in baseball since 1908.

It seemed like everyone of us would have seen the Cubs win back in 2003 when they where 6 outs away from advancing to the World Series and finally seen them win the championship.

However, the Cubs collapsed and lost to the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship where many fans like myself blamed Steve Bartman for the loss.

I want to tell Mr. Bartman that I am sorry for blaming him for the Cubs loss in 2003 and that he is a true Cubs fan despite the vitriol that he had to deal with for a long time.

Seeing the Boston Red Sox breaking their own curse by winning the World Series in 2004 and then the White Sox winning in 2005 against the Houston Astros give us hope that we can break the drought of achieving the ultimate prize.

When the Tribune Company sold the team to the Ricketts in 2009, you had a sense that a championship was around the corner.

Then the hiring of Theo Epstein, the architect of the Red Sox team who won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and Joe Maddon, who took a losing Tampa Rays team and made them contenders for World Series championships, solidified that a winning culture was about to be established.

Slowly, but surely, the Cubs made it back to the post-season in 2015 and made some strides including defeating the Pittsburg Pirates in the Wild Card matchup and beating the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the NLCS, where they fell short to the eventual WS running up, Mets.

This year, they were the favorites and won 103 matchups and the central division title.

The pressure was on for the Cubs to make history and break a 108 year drought as they had to go through a San Francisco Giant team, who won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

When the Cubs, who had a 2-1 lead in the National League Division Series (NLDS), were trailing the Giants 5-2 leading up to the ninth inning in Game 4, I honestly thought that they were going to lose and then were probably collapse again.

But when Anthony Rizzo started the inning with a single, hope started to replace doubt.

Then they continued to put runners on base and optimism of a comeback against the Giants was a strong possibility.

All of a sudden, they scored 4 runs and defeated the Giants 6-5 to win the NLDS and break their chance of winning the title this year.

You knew that it was not going to be easy to beat the Dodgers because they had that fighting spirit due to the leadership of Dave Roberts, who was part of the 2004 Red Sox team.

However, they made it through and made it back to the World Series for the first time since 1945 to face the Indians.

It was awesome to see the Cubs in the World Series and break that so-called “Billy Goat” curse.

Though it was cool to see them in the ultimate championship series, I wanted them to win it all.

The Indians were looking to win their first World Series themselves since 1948 and it was an epic matchup.

I honestly felt it was our turn to win the championship because the city of Cleveland broke their 52 year championship drought due to the Cavaliers coming back from 3-1 to defeat the Golden State Warriors.

It seemed like the Indians had the Cubs number as they were leading 3-1.

But I had a strong intuition that if the Cubs won Game 5 at Wrigley Field, that they were going to win the championship.

Once the Cubs won Game 5, it was new life.

And the Cubs went on to tie the World Series at 3 matchups a piece, setting up the crazy Game 7 that probably made me age to 86.

When the Cubs had a 6-3 lead, it was like everything was falling into place for a win.

Then the Indians tied the matchup at 6 due to an RBI single and a two-run line drive home run by Rajai Davis and I was speechless and numb.

But for some reason, I was just more hopeful than ever and that 17-minute rain delay was very pivotal.

The Cubs scored two pivotal runs due to RBI hits by World Series MVP Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero for an 8-6 lead.

And with two outs and the Indians trailing 8-7, the batter hit a ground ball to where Kris Bryant got the baseball and threw it to Rizzo for the World Series Clinching out that sent the city of Chicago into a celebration frenzy.

At long last, we as Chicago Cubs fans don’t have to hear anymore about the last time they won a World Series again.

At the same time, we remember the long time fans, former Cubs baseball players who passed on without seeing their team capturing the World Series.

Now that this part of the story is complete, here are a few lessons that many of us business owners and professionals can learn from the 2016 Chicago Cubs team.

1. Ownership Have To Invest In Their Company

The Tribune Company, who in their brilliance made the Cubs a national team, did not fully invest the money into the iconic Wrigley Field. When Ricketts bought the team, he and his family fully invested in the team and made the organization a great place to work.

2. Find The Right People

Ricketts knew he had to bring in an executive who had fresh ideas to invigorate the Chicago Cubs organization and that is why Epstein was the perfect choice due to his previous track record of turning around the Red Sox. From there, Epstein hired Maddon as the manager and the rest is history.

3. Have A Winning Attitude

Epstein brought in the correct baseball players who had a strong winning attitude and providing them with the resources to compete against the best teams in Major League Baseball.

To conclude, a business must have leaders who care about the well-being of their business and the people who work for them.

If they don’t treat their employees correctly and allow their environment to be toxic, their business will end up failing overtime because their employees will not want to work for people who don’t give a flying leap.

When leadership actually cares about their employees, a winning attitude will occur and in the same manner, that company will break through to victory and be like the 2016 Chicago Cubs.

“Go Cubs Go”

Houston Has Arrived In The Collaboration Age

By Cheval John

The Houston Dynamo wanted to give their fans a win in the final home match of the 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

The Dynamo fell short after ceding a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 21,085 people on Fan Appreciation Day.

Dynamo coach Wade Barrett shared some of his frustration with the media when the team could not get points at home since taking over the team midseason.

Houston played hard against Los Angeles and nearly closed out the matchup with a draw.

Midway through stoppage time in the first half, Joe Willis made two crucial saves that kept the matchup scoreless.

However, Los Angeles got the break that they needed in the 72nd minute when Alan Gordon knock the rebound in the back of the net.

Those type of breaks help great teams to win a matchup.

Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena give Houston a lot of credit for playing his team tough throughout the matchup.

Despite the disappointment that the city of Houston will not be hosting a matchup during the MLS playoffs, they have a lot to look forward to when Partnership Tower (PT) opens up to the public on Wednesday.

The PT is what many in the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) calls “the front door” to the city of Houston.

And the people are not lying because the tower is strategically located in front of Minute Maid Park, connected by sky bridge to the George R. Brown Convention Center and a train ride to BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo and the Houston Dash play their home matchups.

Businesses and organizations can get an awesome view of Discovery Green Park, where most of the festivities during Super Bowl week will take place.

The PT is now the home of the GHP, Houston First, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Houston Hotel and Lodging Association and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, which gives them more opportunity to work together to bring in more visitors to the city.

Jamey Rootes, who is the Houston Texans president and is serving a one year term as chair of the GHP has every reason to feel truly confident about Houston going to the next level due to PT.

“When the Partnership leads a business delegation overseas, we are received in spaces that reflect the nature of the region and country, which instantly builds a memorable experience as well as the host’s credibility” Rootes said. “Partnership Tower will enable visiting business leaders and dignataries to experience many of the things that make Houston so special.”

PT has elevated Houston to another level of a unique city.

When people was taking a photo with Tap Snap, many could see the backdrop of downtown houston.

And people will see all of what Houston represents inside PT with the Houston Wall

The project to build the two floors of PT cost 8.5 million dollars.

Five companies provided the funding for the PT: CenterPoint Energy, Phillips 66; Reliant, an NRG company, Silver Eagle Distributors and the Texas Medical Center.

Mr. Rootes used a football analogy to describe the leadership of the five companies who made PT possible.

“This is a very special group of leaders; they understand the need and they know this is a great time to make an extra investment in Houston. When big things happen in Houston, you can be sure forward-looking, community-minded leaders are calling the plays, Rootes said.

It is great that the business leaders were able to come together to build a place that would allow Houston’s leading organizations to be in one place where they can collaborate on making the fourth largest city in the USA a leading destination in the state of Texas.

Small businesses can follow the lead in working together in order to succeed in the marketplace because they are constantly competing against the giant companies.

And once the Super Bowl arrives next year, visitors will see a more “globalized” Houston due to the major improvements to the city.

That is why Houston will continue to be the forward thinking city that it has established itself to be for the better.

Your Intuition Is The Compass To Success

By Cheval John

The inaugural National Women’s Soccer League Championship(NWSL) game between the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash is set to begin later today at 5 p.m eastern, 4 p.m. central that will be aired live on Fox Sports 1.

The championship will be held at BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Houston Dash, who failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The irony is that the Dynamo also failed to keep their playoff hopes alive last night when they lost to the Colorado Rapids by the score of 3-2 in front of a capacity crowd of over 18,000 fans.

You could have hope that the Dynamo could have won the matchup and set the tone for the NWLS championship.

But Colorado, who secured a spot in the West-Semifinals of their conference in the MLS, was too good

It is truly interesting that the NWSL choose the city of Houston to be the place to host their first ever championship.

In reality, it should not be a surprise because the Dynamo and the Dash are well run organizations that have made it easy for the staff of the NWSL to select the city of Houston for their inaugural championship.

This tweet by TexSports Publications captured Dash forward Kealia Ohai firing the cannon called “El Capitan” prior to the start of the matchup.

And of course, the Dynamo fans were excited to support their team.

Despite the loss, Dynamo fans were thrilled to see the post-game fireworks display.

Now if the staff of the Dynamo did not like their work, do you believe that the fan base would have been loyal? No.

Yet, there are so many people who hate their work, yet stay with the company because of the salary and the health benefits that their employer provides.

That is why “The Walking Dead” is so popular because people can relate to the theme of the show according to Nicole Welch.

They do not follow their intuition, which is 99.99% correct all the time because they are afraid that they will end up broke.

However, those who do follow their intuition will always end up succeeding in their business and careers.

Maybe that is the reason why the city of Houston has always been the first to achieve major milestones due to the leaders following their instinct.

And why the NWSL choose to host their first league championship matchup in Houston and at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Trend Heard Around Twitter #BOTPW

By Cheval John

The 91st edition of the Battle of The Piney Woods took place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Saturday afternoon.

The rivalry between Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University has become a part of the sports culture in the city of Houston.

Every year, the Battle of the Piney Woods has seen record crowds at NRG Stadium.

It really wasn’t a surprise that the Bearkats defeated the Lumberjacks 63-28 with twenty-eight of those points happening in the first quarter.

Maybe it was a surprise that SHSU’s quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe threw a Bearkat record of 7 touchdown passes in a single matchup against their rivals.

Or that the Bearkats (4-0 overall, 3-0 Southland Conference), also ranked No.2 in the country, had 653 total yards of offense, which was also the #botpw record.

If you were a Sam Houston State fan, you are happy to see this.

Even the people behind the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Twitter account have to agree.

If you are a Stephen F. Austin State University fan, you had to feel sick to your stomach as this lady pointed out in this tweet.

The biggest surprise is that the Battle of the Piney Woods hashtag #botpw was trending on Twitter.

I did not expect to see #botpw trending because normally college football matchups in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) would usually trend if these teams are colleges like the University of Texas, which of course trended after their epic lost to Oklahoma State.

The fact that a college football matchup between two FCS universities trended on Twitter shows how far this rivalry has come in the city of Houston.

Also, it shows how far the FCS has gained respect to a degree in the college football world.

You would only know about college football universities in the FCS level when national media outlets mainly ESPN would televised the NCAA FCS Championships.

Or if the FCS colleges are facing teams in the FBS.

The athletic administrators from the two universities along with the staff of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment were able to put together an awesome football matchup at NRG Stadium year after year.

And their hard work and dedication led to the Battle of the Piney Woods to stand out from the other college football matchups on Twitter.

This shows that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to put in the work and dedication to be successful in your business and career.

And also solve a problem for your audience because people will instantly trust you because you solved their problem.