July 19, 2013

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CEO of the Year

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Former NBA Player Shares Secrets to Help Businesses Excel

Rachel Madison

July 19, 2013

In 1977, when Mark Eaton was 21 years old, he worked as an auto mechanic and had no interest in playing basketball, despite his 7-foot-4-inch stature. Two decades later, Eaton was a well-known NBA All-Star who had just had his No. 53 jersey retired.

Although the former Utah Jazz defensive center had to work extremely hard to prove he was a high-quality basketball player throughout college, his six hours a day of practicing and working out paid off. In 1982, he joined the Utah Jazz where he spent his entire 12-year basketball career. He retired in 1994, and just two years later received the honor of having his jersey number retired.

Eaton credits former coaches and other NBA players for helping him achieve a lot of his success, but in addition to having a strong support team, he learned a lot about being successful on his own. Today, in addition to owning local restaurants Tuscany and Francks, he facilitates teambuilding and leadership programs and gives motivational speeches at various events.

Using his life experiences as a model, Eaton has outlined the four commitments of a winning team. He presented them to dozens of human resources professionals during the Utah Hiring Summit in South Jordan on Thursday. These commitments are meant to make any business or organization successful, he said, by taking employees to the next level and making them invaluable.

The first commitment is know your job. Eaton said this is important because it builds a good foundation for any company.

“There’s usually one thing you’re great at,” he said. “If you’re not doing that one thing, you’re probably not succeeding. Consider playing to your strengths. Learn to honor your role on the team.”

The second commitment is do what you’re asked to do. Eaton said it’s not about doing your best or what you think is best, it’s about doing what is asked of you.

“Go from doing your best to being your best,” he said. “You don’t hear this in the world today, but you’ll stand out if you just do what you’re asked. You need to let go of what you think works, and listen to what others are asking for.”

The third commitment is make people look good. Eaton said if employees all have the same goal to make their co-workers look good, that will make them look good in return.

“Provide other people with recognition,” he said. “The better you make others look, the better you look to them.”

The fourth commitment is protect others. This commitment has a lot do with trust, Eaton said, because if employees protect each other, then they will also be able to trust each other.

“Be the person people can count on,” he said. “Trust comes when people know you’re committed to protecting them.”

Eaton said following these four commitments helped him to have a stellar career with the Utah Jazz. He said everyone, not just basketball players, can achieve success in a team environment if they are committed to each other.

“To achieve lasting success, help people you work with to achieve success,” he said. “You will see miracles if you commit to that.”

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