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  • Writer's pictureNancy H. Cummings

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself - I'm Nancy.

How did you land here?

This is such a fun question to answer. Especially since it was a path that evolved throughout my life. Not a linear, clear cut ‘this is what I’m going to be when I grow up’ kind of professional path.

As a young girl, I wanted to be an Olympian. Everyday I did everything imaginable to run as fast as I could, be as strong as possible, and be the smartest runner on the track. Daddy was my coach for many years. He would always tell me ‘Baby, running is 99% mental. Once you get to a certain level, you’re all fast. It’s how you train your mind that will get you to the next level. That’s what will get you what you really want.’

When my realities of becoming an Olympian did not align with my dreams of becoming an Olympian, things began to shift.

Almost immediately, parents started reaching out asking me to train their athletes. My niche became scientifically pushing the human body and the mindset to the absolute edge; without misstepping, understepping or overstepping. Both from a performance enhancement perspective (strength and conditioning specialist) and from a sports medicine perspective (athletic training). Sport coaches did their thing. Nutritionists, massage therapists and many others did their thing. I did my thing. We were all part of a larger equation that was designed to produce greatness.

Most athletes were surrounded by a team of us that collaborated around the clock around the world so they could peak at a specific moment in time. And, ultimately, stand on a medal podium. World records, Olympic medals, World Championships, World Cups, national records, state records, personal bests - everything was on the line and everything was at stake.

Being part of a team like this for almost 30 years that always strived to be our best so others could be their best was absolutely exhilarating. It was so much fun. It was all about the mindset.

My educational career ran concurrent to my athletic training career. Being able to do both things that I truly loved at the same time was thrilling.

Teaching students at the university level, as well as in grades 6 through 12 in my earlier years, was incredibly rewarding. Working with a team of professionals to ensure appropriate concepts were understood and that learning was actually occurring was amazing. We brainstormed, challenged each other, and constantly reimagined how we could teach more effectively.

Watching a student experience what I call ‘the a-ha moment’ and really get it goes down as one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. I love opening the door to knowledge.

One of my favorite sayings I would start almost every class with was “Imagine if?” Creating an environment that inspires boldness, discovery and innovation has been deeply rooted in me for years. It’s all about the mindset.

What made you choose consulting?

Though on the surface both of these pursuits appear to be randomly woven together, they actually blend together beautifully and validate several realities for me. Realities that still drive me to this day. Realities that set the stage for my success.

Developing the right mindset empowers unlimited possibilities. Collaborating well with others can be extremely transformational and add high value to outcomes. Creating as many ‘a-ha moments’ as possible will inspire a trickle effect that positively impacts individuals, teams and organizations. The synergy of people working together as a team is what generates the most remarkable things.

My career has provided some amazing experiences. Athletic Training and Education were very, very good to me. Within both of these professions, I was able to pursue unique, once in a lifetime opportunities and I was part of some really extraordinary teams.

Through the years, I also consulted on numerous projects that tapped into several industries. They combined the best of all worlds. Consulting allowed me to wear all of my hats at the same time, so to speak. To bring all of my experiences and all of my assets to the table was liberating and refreshing.

Every time I consulted, I wanted more. Stepping in as an outside entity not shackled to any internal politics or unnecessary distractions became the ideal way for me to contribute my gifts and skills and guide best next steps.

Why do you focus on leadership, culture and business strategy?

People are our greatest resource. Bottom line.

When you empower people into appropriate roles, they can accomplish anything. Even if resources are limited, the human spirit unleashed is wonderfully ingenious.

One of my favorite sayings that allows people to reimagine what and how they do what they do is this - ‘We need to get the right people in the right seats on the right bus.’ Translated, let’s take a closer look and make certain that you have the right people in the right roles.

This often leads to exploring company structures, leadership paradigms and culture.

My experiences have afforded many glimpses into leadership within a large number of organizations. Some leadership models were astounding and generated outcomes far exceeding expectations. Some leadership models were not astounding and actually crippled people on the team. Results for this group, as you can imagine, were minimal at best and even negative or harmful at times.

A shocking reality is that frequently leadership and organizational success hinges on one person.

We know several facts based on decades of research from a plethora of experts around the world -

  1. Leadership is something everyone on the team should be empowered to embody. Leadership is about people and the team; it is not the same thing as authority.

  2. Results follow Leadership. If leaders are effective at fulfilling mission, vision, values and outcomes, everyone else will follow that example and the results will be staggering.

  3. Culture starts at the top and rolls down (depending on your organizational structure). Leaders ooze the culture; whether they realize it or not.

Peter Drucker is famous for saying ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ Culture is your people. Culture is how you live out your mission, vision and values. Culture is how your strategy comes to life. It’s the foundation for successful leadership.

You can have the world’s best plans and systems in place. If you do not have the right people in the right roles, your strategy means nothing. Success lies in your people.

When companies reach out and ask me to guide them, some of the first things I explore are company structure, the leadership model, and the culture. Frequently described as the ‘softer side’ of business, the truth is without people you have no business. With the right people in the right seats on the right bus, you have an organization that could accomplish anything.

It’s all about the mindset.

How can we empower your best next steps?

Chief Collaborator,

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