Monthly Archives: February 2014

“Y:OU O:NLY L:IVE O:NCE.”

Y.O.L.O. is short for “You Only Live Once.”

It’s a big buzzword in my world these days. I have picked this word up from being around many high school and college age athletes recently while out on the baseball scouting trail. To be quite honest, if you don’t know what this word means – consider yourself old or out of touch. 🙂

YOLO

“Y.O.L.O” is a great word for coaches, scouts, and leaders who find themselves stuck in a ditch or rut of life. The tendency for those who are experiencing success on the ball field or in the boardroom is to become complacent, passive, out of balance, not focused, and not disciplined. Complacency leads to playing it safe, and playing it safe leads to not being – “Y.O.L.O”!

As a leader, coach, scout, father, or husband – where do you need to go “Y.O.L.O”?  Where are you are holding back? Is there an area in your life where you have lost your passion? Are you out of balance between your family life and professional life as a leader, coach, and scout? Are you in a rut?  Are you just hanging on? Is there a decision you have been putting off?

If so, go find a mirror, look at the person staring back at you, and say out loud to him (or her), “You only live once. Do not hold back – go for it!”  What will it require? Glad you asked. It will require discipline, focus, and courage, but in the end, it will not be as hard as you think. Nothing great ever happens when you’re stuck in neutral.

Do you want to enhance your life and team in the coming weeks and months as a leader, coach, or scout? – then go “Y.O.L.O”!  I challenge you, don’t hold back. Because in the end – “you only live once” on this earth.

Go for it – You will not regret it!

s2s

Kevin

What is one action step you need to take this week to go “YOLO”? 

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TWO TYPES OF COACHES / LEADERS: WHAT KIND ARE YOU?

There’s more to coaching than sharing your expertise. The way you communicate that expertise is just as important as the knowledge itself.

Golf Coach

Years ago I bought a new set of golf clubs and went golfing with my friend. I was, and still am to this day, a “casual” golfer. I reviewed the rules, and even read a golfing book. However, I was still lacking the one thing you must have to succeed at the game of golf – confidence!

 I sliced my first drive, embarrassed as the ball bounced into the tall grass and disappeared. Unfazed, my friend Brett said. “You have a great swing, Kevin. You’re a natural. You’ll get the hang of this in no time.”  Rather than dwelling on my failed attempt, Brett’s assurance immediately turned my mind to the next shot. I couldn’t wait to take another swing. After a few more shots, I was within striking distance of the green. As I approached the ball and began to setup for the shot, my friend gently interrupted me. “For these kinds of shots, this is what you need to remember, then just take a nice, full swing – like this.”  I nodded and then mimicked his stance, took a slow, steady swing, and put the ball right on the green, about eight feet from the cup. “Beautiful, Kevin. I told you you were a natural.”

Over the next few years, I played golf with my friend, Brett numerous times. I always played my best when I was with him at my side. His kind, reassuring voice gave me the one thing books, expensive clubs, and even lessons couldn’t: confidence!

On the other hand, I occasionally played golf with another friend. I’ll call him John (not his real name). He was older than I, however a great golfer – even better than Brett. But the two were complete opposites when it came to coaching. I still remember the last time I played with John. On hole number three, I sliced a drive into the deep rough. Certain it was unplayable, I dropped my club to the ground, and sighed. “Shoot, I did it again” I exclaimed. “Well, that was a lousy shot,” John grumbled. “You didn’t finish your swing – you just gave upon it.”  He then frowned, chuckled, and walked away.

With that, he stepped up to the tee box, pinned his tee and ball to the ground, and without so much as a practice swing, he drove his ball straight down the middle of the fairway. It was picture perfect. Just like on TV. Speaking to no one in particular, he announced, “Now that’s how it’s done!” He stood tall. I felt small. Unfortunately, this scenario was typical. John was often quick to point out my faults on the golf course. If I happened to hit the ball well, he would say something like, “Well, you got lucky on that one, didn’t ya, Kev?”

As you can imagine, I always played my worst golf when I played with John. He chipped away at my confidence, and my performance unraveled as the game progressed. He made me want to quit. Rarely encouraging. Rarely wanting to help me improve or get better. Speaking words of failure NOT success. Needless to say, I stopped playing golf with John.

However, it was just the opposite with my other friend, Brett. He was always seeking and looking to find the positive. He took time to invest in me. He was patient. He focused on what I could do. He saw what I could become. He saw some potential. He prioritized encouragement. He spoke words of success NOT failure.

In reflecting on these two different “coaching styles”  and “leadership styles” We have a choice in how we coach and lead. We can either focus on what our players, staff, or team members are doing right and increase their confidence, or we can focus on what they are doing wrong and increase their self-doubt. Both styles will have an impact on their performance. And both will have an impact and influence on our effectiveness as a coach and leader.

I encourage you to be the coach and leader that others want to be around. They choose you to come to for help, advise, coaching, and encouragement. If you do, you will impact and influence your players, staff, team members, and organization for a life time. Try it, and watch what will happen.

The choice is yours – so, choose wisely!

s2s,

Kevin

Question: What style do you use in coaching those you lead? 

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“YOUR WORD IS YOUR BOND” – WHY LEADERS NEED TO KEEP THEIR WORD

When I was growing up and hanging out with my father, a promise and a hand-shake was all he needed. Contracts were largely foreign and unnecessary for my dad. In fact, to insist on one would have been an insult to him. Why? Because my dad’s word was his bond. He treasured it. It was of high value to him. He was not willing to risk his community influence or relational equity by breaking his word. If there was a picture that could be displayed of someone who valued keeping their word – it would be a picture of my dad!

Dad Photo

Simply put, to this very day his word is sacred to him. I don’t think it is claiming too much to say that this quality is the foundation of our society generations ago. Without keeping our word, our society begins to fall apart.

My, how times have changed. In the not to distant past, I have experienced two people blatantly dishonoring their own word. Both are leaders in the community where I live. Sadly, both have lost respect they have enjoyed among their peers and with those they are leading and influencing.  It’s tragic – especially for them.

Keeping your word is the essence of integrity.  The word Integrity comes from the root word integrated. When our private lives and our public lives are one and the same (integrated) – we have integrity!

As Stephen Covey points out, “Honesty is making your words conform to reality. Integrity is making reality conform to your words.” It is essential to leadership. Without it, you cannot be an effective leader at home, in your personal life, or professional life. It is vital!

Why?

1) Integrity is required for trustIf people can’t trust your word, they won’t trust you.

2) Trust is necessary for influence: People choose those they let influence them, and this is based largely on trust.

3) Influence is essential for impact: You won’t make the impact you want to make, unless you can influence others and shift their behavior.

As a leader, keeping your word is sometimes difficult, expensive, and inconvenient. But the cost of not doing so is much more expensive. The truth is, it will ultimately cost you your leadership and influence with those you are leading. I encourage you, as a leader value keeping your word. If you do, your influence and impact on those your are leading will out live you.

As my father always told me – “Your word is your bond, so choose wisely, son”!

s2s,

Kevin

Questions: Have you had a recent situation someone did not honor their word? What impact did it have on you? 

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6 WAYS LEADERS CAN BUILD TRUST & RESPECT

One of the most important parts of being an effective leader is building trust. Whether you’re a family leader, baseball coach, scouting director, crosschecker, pastor, or executive in corporate america….Trust is vital to be an effective leader!

We have all had a coach or boss that we did not respect. No matter how intelligent, kind, or charismatic, you knew that placing “blind faith” in him or her would be a mistake. You were always watching your back and waiting for the sucker punch to come. A lack of trust allows fear to become a primary motivation with your team members. Don’t miss this! They will fear your opinions. They will fear your decisions. They will fear your evaluations. They will fear failure. And most importantly – they will fear you! Once fear creeps in, your team members will become paralyzed and your leadership and influence is destined for failure. It will just be a matter of time.

Trust Pic

Trust is something that must be earned. Trust is something we are all told to give away slowly and to take back quickly. Below are six ways that a leader can build trust and earn respect with the team they are leading.

1) Expose Yourself: Open yourself up to others. Not in a dangerous way where people can take advantage of you, but rather in a way that demonstrates honesty and humility. Be genuine. Be “real.” Your team needs to know that you are just like them. You struggle with some of the same challenges they do. Be willing to admit your failures. Own up to them. If you put up a wall around yourself – don’t be surprised that your team will too.

2) Take The Death: When undesirable outcomes happen, we are all quick to point the finger. If your team members see that you are willing to take the death or the blame for the good of the team, even if its not directly your fault, then they will start to let go, trusting you, and respecting you. A leader is out front. They are willing to take the bullet. As the leader of your team, you need to accept responsibility for both the good and the bad.

3) Build Up Your Team Members: This is the opposite of taking the hit. Whenever it is appropriate, make sure you praise your team members in front of their peers and superiors. Be sure to applaud their efforts and results. Never try to take credit for something good that the team did. Champion what they accomplished, brag on them, be proud of them. Everyone desires and deserves an appropriate “at-a-boy.” Leaders recognize what’s recognized. 

4) Get Rid Of The Leash: Allow your team members freedom to explore new ideas, make decisions, and be creative. Stop micro-managing! It will eventually cost you your leadership. If people feel that you are micro-managing them, they will stop trusting you – and quickly!  Make room for failure, and more importantly the opportunity to learn from failure. Remember, failure is never fatal!

5) Accept Confrontation: Fighting is not good, but neither is false agreement. Don’t just “Eddie Haskell” your team members. Telling them only what they want to hear. When there is a difference of opinion, promote discussion. Listen to what your team members are saying. Explore solutions with the intent to solve problems. If disagreement never occurs, there is high probability that your team members are afraid of telling you the truth. This will paralyze your leadership and influence.

6) Find The Value In Each Person: We all have weaknesses, however we also all have strengths. Everyone brings something different to the table. If you’re a wise leader, you will utilize each team members strength for the betterment of the team or organization. Find what is unique in each individual. Find out what they are passionate about, what they are strong in, and use that strength and talent for the good of the team or organization.

With trust, a team can work together. Individuals will accept roles. Leaders will be respected. Most importantly, the team will be productive. Expose yourself, take the death, build up your team members, get rid of the leash, accept confrontation, find the value in each person, and then watch the impact that your leadership and influence will have on those you are leading.

s2s,

Kevin

How do you build trust with your team? 

Comments?