Changing The Suit of Armor

As my final season approaches and I look back and see how far I have come, I am amazed. I started as a boy who just wanted to have fun and slowly transformed into a man who loved the game of football and all it has done for me. Everyone says that football is a great comparison to the real world, it provides you the things necessary to excel in life. As I am here writing this blog, I begin to realize that those parents and coaches were right, it really is the small things that can put you ahead in life.

cleatsI was taught from a young age that some things do not require talent, these traits and habits just take effort and practice. A few of them can give you that great first impression or once you have that job or internship, allow you to stick out among the rest of the employees and interns. The things that I believe translate the most from wearing my shoulder pads to tightening a tie are, accountability, being able to work on a team, being on time, and work ethic.

Accountability, to me this is one of the most important things to take away from football and bring to the workplace. Being able to take responsibility for your actions is prized whether you do something wrong or right. When you are wrong on a decision you made, being able to say, “I did that wrong, but this is how I would fix it,” shows a high level of maturity. It also shows that you want to get better and learn from your mistakes. When you make a mistake you understand that it was unacceptable and you were already trying to figure out how to fix it before your boss or superior told you about it.minion Having accountability is something that in football was necessary because if you were the one player who did not do their assignment correctly on a play the other ten players suffered. Accountability is the beginning of being a good teammate and being able to work on a football team is very difficult. You have roughly one hundred and twenty kids on a football roster, filled with different egos (good and bad), cultures, and regions of the country. This also resembles the workplace, although you may have less employees than a football roster you still have to deal with and work with all kinds of people from different walks of life. What better practice for this than being an athlete where you are forced to work with people you do not know, (at the start) to achieve this goal of winning? Being a good teammate is more important than just being able to work with others though, being able to understand the needs of individuals from different backgrounds is also important to being successful in the workplace. It allows you to help the group move forward instead of holding them back, which allows you to stay focused on the task at hand.

At every level of football I was always punished for being late. My coaches always preached that, “15 minutes early is on time and being on time means you are late.” This saying did not mean much to me when I was playing youth football until it started translating to my work life. As this habit of being on time was burned into me by countless hours of extra wind sprints because a teammate was late while that individual watched, it became clear. Being late does not hurt you, it hurts your teammates, and it hurts the people who got there early because they wanted to get started earlier or get in an extra rep of one thing or another. Being on time and being early is a must for me and translates to the real world because it allows you to be the ideal teammate and employee.

Intern Shwoing upon time

The most important thing I learned through my athletic career is work ethic. Work ethic is something that is all on you. The amount of work you put in is exactly what you get out of it. When you get to the field early or you show up to the office early to get started on a project, people notice. They gain a respect for you that previously was not there. When asked who they want to work with on a certain project they will pick you because they now that you will work as hard as you can to get the project completed on time with a high level of satisfaction. Your work ethic screams that you want to be successful and it all started from a game. A game that just so happened to teach you how to be the best possible teammate you can be.Working hard'

When you look into the mirror, and see the man or woman, that the sport you love has made you, you finally understand why they pushed you so hard. Coaches are more than just teaching us the skills of the game, they also teach us the basics of being successful in life. As I tighten my tie on a daily basis instead of throwing on sweat pants after a long morning workout I realize that accountability, being able to work on a team, being on time, and work ethic, are the traits that will allow me to be successful in my transition to the real world.

Tie                           Football


Finding the Bigger Picture: The Value of Critical Thinking and Strategy

Making moves

                       Making moves

I’ve been told I’m not a good critical thinker. Back in Mrs. Gardener’s colorful 5th grade class we had “critical thinking assessments” of different selections of history each week. Week by week I would receive the same unsatisfactory marks on my paper including a big red circle with the text “MORE?” What more could I say about Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves? Back then I couldn’t see further than that, I didn’t understand the gritty implications that the Emancipation Proclamation had on America for years to come. I’m not saying I should have been a history buff by age 10, this is just an example of how I was not going deep enough with critical thinking. I was missing the final, most important component to critical thinking, the connection. Understanding the events of a situation, the facts and figures, the smallest details is meaningless if you do not realize the consequences and apply them to real scenarios. This crucial last step of critical thinking paves the way for strategy – solving problems, finding alternative solutions, overcoming challenges and reaching goals that were thought to be insurmountable, and achieving lasting success in any endeavor.

Working the gears

                  Working the gears

Critical thinking is the soil and strategy is the seed, you can’t benefit from the fruits of success without either. Strategy can be implemented towards all aspects of life, it lets us learn and grow as individuals and it drives the interconnected realm of business. The ability to deconstruct a situation, process, event in history, whatever it may be, into separate parts to discover how the whole comes together is necessary to fully grasp the infinite value of the bigger picture. This produces a moment of clarity, an “ah-ha!” moment where it all comes together, an awesome moment where all the effort from digging and analyzing and struggling finally pays off. Putting the pieces together doesn’t require formal use of critical thinking or strategy, but they certainly improve the process. The greatest aspect of the bigger picture is that it can mean anything to anyone; the moment can come at any time or place because it is the       result of learning and making progress.

Putting the pieces together

Putting the pieces together

From an individual standpoint, critical thinking means using open-mindedness to seek new outlets of understanding while strategy means the effective use of time and resources to meet personal potential. Many people live their lives never seeing or knowing their full potential, I challenge you to not be one of those people. You don’t have to be an expert to use critical thinking and strategy, you just need the desire to see further and the knowledge will follow. Never stop learning and experiencing, live your life looking for that deeper connection and find your own bigger picture.

I’d like to acknowledge Chris Ratcliffe for the inspiration to write this post.

-Cullen Crowley, Bryant University Class of 2015


This past Wednesday Management Search’s own Senior Partner, Anthony Pivirotto, CPC, joined colleague and Bryant University alumna, Meghan Johnston, at a meeting of Bryant’s student chapter of SHRM to address a fear that is common among upperclassmen: finding a job after graduation. Students expressed concerns about their options after college because of the high unemployment rate (almost 10%) that our country is currently facing. However, Tony charismatically explained that for skilled individuals with a bachelor’s degree this number is actually closer to 4%.

Tony also noted the effect that the retiring baby boomers will have on the workforce in the next two decades. This boomer exodus will result in the vacancy of over 42 million positions nationwide and Generations X and Y combined will not be enough to fill the roles that these retirees are vacating. Companies will be actively seeking out talented, educated individuals to use their skills to add value to the organization. Many companies already have vacancies that have been left unfilled for months on end because they can’t find anyone qualified to fill the position. Manpower Group Inc. recently conducted a study that reported 52% of US companies struggling to fill critical positions within their corporation, up from 14% in 2010. (Manpower, 2011) Tony then talked about what a retained search firm is as opposed to temporary and contingency recruiting. Proceeding to address how MSI builds a next step for the clients by assisting them in succession planning.

The conversation then shifted to interviewing and preparing to enter the workforce. First Tony recommended two books by Jim Collins, Good to Great and Built to Last, to truly understand how business operates today. Good to Great focuses on how a company can set itself up for long term success from the beginning. It identifies different characteristics that allow companies to become exceptional through research and analysis of historical data. Some findings include leadership style, use of technology and the ability to implement change at an appropriate pace. Built to Last continues with this investigation, explaining what practices differentiate companies that have consistently been successful from those who have not been.

When addressing the interview process, Tony gave the group a brief introduction to the “Play to Win” method of interviewing and stressed the value of closing the interview strongly by asking the interviewer if there is anything that would lead them to believe that you wouldn’t be successful in this position.

To close his presentation, Tony talked about MSI and the internship program that the company offers. Three current interns were in attendance and offered a brief account of the work that they do on a daily basis and how heavily involved they are in each step of the recruiting process from research to interviews to making an offer to a candidate. Students were encouraged to apply for these internships through the Bryant Career Connection or emailing Tony at

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