Angler’s Perspective – It’s Just a Cupcake!

The former legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson, made a statement one time that really stuck with me. To summarize, he said that he could take a great coach and make them a great CEO due to their ability to motivate people. As a guy who has worked both as a coach and was Louisiana Director of Manufacturing for Holloway Sportswear, I have to agree with his statement. So how does this relate to tournament bass fishing? Today, I’ll give my perspective on how these two are related.

While overseeing 6 factories with 95% of the staff being women, I discovered that some of the techniques used to motivate players during my coaching days also worked for motivating a workforce. The one thing a player needs in order to perform at a high level is motivation. This also holds true for an employee, whether working for a company or working for him or herself. It might be even more important for someone who is self-employed because they don’t have that person above pushing them to be better. They must be self-motivated in order to be successful.

But while taking over a Holloway factory in Ville Platte due to issues with previous management, I found out really quickly that people just want to be appreciated. The factory had major personnel issues due to a lack of leadership, therefore making the people working there very unhappy. Employees were literally writing letters to the President of Holloway expressing their displeasure.

My first goal was to make them feel appreciated. As Halloween came around, I decided to order 300 cupcakes and pass them out during the last break of the day. I took a cart full of cupcakes and made my way around the factory and personally gave one to each employee and told them thank you for doing a great job that week. The reaction was nothing short of amazing! As I stood by the back door of the factory while the employees clocked out and left, so many told me thank you for showing appreciation for what they did that week…and that they had never been told that by a manager ever before.

I thought to myself, “It was only a cupcake!” It made me realize that it doesn’t take much to make people feel special. Over that year of running this factory, we did more things like this quite often and the production numbers increased 40%. Factory moral was at an all-time high and if I needed an order to go out on time, all I had to do was ask and they would deliver, all because they felt appreciated.

Tournament bass fishermen are no different! While all anglers have egos and want to win every time, they back their boats in the water, in reality, they know that won’t happen. But bass tournament trails that pay way down in the standings are usually the most successful and have the greatest following. Why? Many of today’s tournament anglers just hope to get a check! Even if it’s only enough money to help pay for gas or maybe their hotel, they consider it a successful tournament if they just get a check or “a cupcake.” This is what motivates them to come back and fish again and follow a tournament trail…. the cupcake! Eighty percent of any tournament trail is made up of the guys that never win. The other twenty percent that complain because they want a bigger payback don’t understand the concept that the eighty percent that aren’t winning are the reason there is a tournament trail, to begin with.

The bottom line is this, we all want to be appreciated and it usually doesn’t take much effort on someone’s part for this to happen. Some anglers are perfectly happy finishing in 40th place and getting a $200 check, even if it only covers their entry fee. Most don’t fish for the money; they fish for enjoyment, and nothing is more enjoyable than walking across a tournament stage and getting a check in front of your peers…even if it is only a cupcake.

Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen. Also, make sure to schedule regular dermatologist appointments. If you don’t have a dermatologist, find one!

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down
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