I felt a deep sadness when I woke to the news early on Saturday morning of the death of Muhammad Ali. It is with me still. I spent the weekend listening to radio, watching television and reading once more my many books about the great man and again they touched me.

‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ (WHAM!) is one of our key phrases here at i2i – it’s what we help people learn how to do, and we’re world class at it.

How many people really can win hearts and minds the way this man did? Think about it. Name some who could WHAM! on the same scale as The Champ.

Nelson Mandela? For sure.

Mother Theresa? Close. Very close.

Diana? Not bad.

Tutu? Very close again.

Yoda? Ooh; left field, but okay.

I’ll add my inspiration, W Clement Stone, but who has heard of him?

Was Jobs on your list? Gates? Dyson? Branson? Buffett? Trump? Obama? No.

Difficult isn’t it? Seven billion people on the planet, and we’re down to four possibles, and we’ve got people there born close to the 19th century!

That tells you what a skill it is, and that tells you why people the world over today are feeling the way I am.

When I talk to our team, I often mention that when they work with our clients I want them to have in mind that their job is to be ‘adored’; it’s at the core of what we do, and you know what? They pull it off, always.

Ali was The Master of WHAM! though, and the key word in it all is the word my mentor, Art Niemann always uses; ‘Love’. It’s that simple. The Champ loved people and he could make you love people too. All you had to do was see him do it, watch him at work, and you’d feel like a better human being.

In his early life, he was boastful, even arrogant, divisive and belligerent, but as he grew older, he matured, learned from his mistakes (shunning Malcolm X), apologised for them (Joe Frazier) and then made up for them a billion times over, or seven. Instead, he showed us humility, sincerity, inspiration, caring, giving, sacrifice, dignity and of course courage.

He was interviewed by David Frost, who asked him how he would like to be remembered.

We’ll leave the last words with him, but let’s make them ours this week, in honour of the great man, and you’ll experience something magical, I bet. You nailed it Champ, you nailed it, and we promise to keep it alive for you.

‘I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love.
He took one table spoon of patience,
One tea-spoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness,
He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.’

i2i Team - i2i Founder - Michael Finnigan
About The Author – Michael Finnigan

Michael Finnigan works with the world’s most famous businesses, helping them to understand how to unleash the power lying dormant within their people. Michael consults with corporate, public sector and sporting clients all over the world to lead and deliver positive change.

Michael’s work within elite sport includes clients in Premier League football, international cricket. He worked closely with Darren Clarke ahead of his victory at the Open Championship.


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