It’s NCAA time and people are bemoaning their busted brackets. Mine is broken, damn you Iowa State and damn you Big Ten. A friend of mine knows a lot about busted brackets, and busted psychology. I met Tom Heitz when we traded together in the Eurodollars at CME Group. His badge was TJH. Tom grew up in Noblesville, Indiana. If you know anything about Indiana high school basketball, it’s the be all and end all. He was an All-American high school basketball player, and went to Kentucky. He was in Sam Bowie’s recruiting class. The little guy #33 at 6’9″.
They competed for an NCAA championship every year when he was at Kentucky, but they never won one. He knows what it’s like to be naked and performing under the spotlight. We were chatting on Facebook about the mental error the player from Vandy made and Tom is one of the few people that can understand what a pressure cooker the NCAA tourney is. He knows what it’s like to be 18-22 and under a white hot spotlight.
Learning from great leaders and putting their lessons into practice is a great way to become a leader. Tom has been exposed to some pretty good leaders in his life. Coach Joe B. Hall and others. He’s been a leader himself. He took his nephew, Brad Miller, under his wing and helped turn him into an NBA player. Tom’s older brother Mike was seven feet and played at West Virgina. (Can you imagine the driveway basketball scraps?) From trading to his personal experiences outside of trading, he understands psychology and failure. He also knows how to win.
Tom says, “Athletic teams are perfect models for this because it’s constant failure every time you’re on the practice floor or the arena. You have to go through several iterations in order to generate the desired results. Our culture today is judgment and cultural castigation in the media. The Practice Gym is a more mindset, skill set and hearts than philosophy and strategy to help make people and the entities they serve great again.” (no pun intended)
He’s right. Leaders today are plain vanilla. They are measured. Instead of leading, they are worried about the repercussions of a phone video taken out of context. You cannot lead successfully unless you manage that fear.
Tom has moved to Florida. Much easier on his joints. If you want to be a leader, you can subscribe to his podcast.