Monthly Archives: March 2014

LOOKING FOR THE “F.A.T.” LEADER

In just over two months from now major league baseball will be conducting the 2014 amateur free-agent first your player draft. It would not be hard to emphasize the importance of selecting the right prospect when it comes to a Major League baseball player. Professional baseball organizations understand the priority of doing their homework when it comes to drafting players.

The same should be said when it comes to leveraging your influence in selecting the right kind of leader. So what is your grid for selecting potential leaders who will carry on the mission of your team or organization? Simply put, what do you look for in a leader? What are some characteristics you feel are a priority when selecting a potential new leader?

I believe it all starts with the heart! There are three essential characteristics that every potential leader must have in order to be an effective leader. Selecting leaders who buy into the mission, follow the model, work the methodology, to start a movement is vital!

A Leaders Heart

To say you are looking for the right heart is one thing, to know what the right heart looks like is something completely different. Using the acronym F. A. T. here are three characteristics of a right heart that you might want to look for when selecting a leader to invest in:

1) Faithful: Faithfulness means you can depend on a person. It means they will be true to their word and can be counted on when you need them most. Faithfulness is one of the most important traits to look for in a leader. If a person does not indicate faithfulness, you do not want to place them in a leadership position on your team.

2) Available: When you look to select a person for leadership, choose a person who is available when you need them. You shouldn’t have to be chasing them down relentlessly. Availability is vital. If that individual is having a hard time being available, they probably are not ready for leadership.

3) Teachable: No one likes or respects a “know it all.” A person who feels that they have all the answers is not a very good candidate for leadership. In fact, they can do real damage to your team or organization. Leverage your influence by looking for individuals who are willing and ready to learn from you. Avoid at all coast an individual who is not teachable and willing to learn.

You could add to the list of heart characteristics, however I think you get the idea. It is not the outward appearance of a person, the most charismatic personality, the smartest or brightest, but it’s the condition of their heart that matters most when selecting the right leader. Leadership development takes time, however it begins with selecting the right person.

Who is it on your team or in your organization that is proving to be Faithful, Available, and Teachable?  That person has the potential to be a great leader and worthy of your investment!

s2s,

Kevin

What other characteristics do you look for in a potential new leader? 

Comments? 

TOOLS FOR CREATING A LIFE PLAN – “FOCUS”

Any baseball coach or scout will tell you that they look for players with “tools.” Don’t misunderstand, knowing how to play the game is important, however tools are the key element. When you build something you need tools. This is true for any coach and scout who desires to develop their leadership skills. It helps to have tools for living the life of a leader. It helps to have tools for leading others, and it is very beneficial to have tools to effectively leverage your influence.  “If you don’t tell your life where you want it to go, someone else will.”

Several years ago that one statement caused me to believe that every baseball coach and scout needs to develop a “life plan.” A life plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a plan for how you want to effectively live out your life. It helps you to think through your purpose and priorities. It helps you focus and gauge how well you are accomplishing the mission of your team and organization. A life plan guides your life in such a way that one day you can look back and know that you have accomplished what you set out to do, personally and professionally.

Many years ago, I heard the following statement “If you aim for nothing – you will hit it every time!”  I encourage you to remember; disaster is not failing to meet your goal, disaster is never having a goal to start with.

For the past several years I use a life plan called “FOCUS.” This is just a tool for keeping myself focused and accountable for what I consider important in my life. As always, my goal is progress NOT perfection! I write down some annual goals and objectives in five areas of my life.

1) Family: Each off-season you should develop a plan for how you want to be intentional about building your family relationships. With you wife, kids, parents, etc…Write out some goals and actions steps for how you plan to spend time accomplishing this.

2) Objectives in Work: Every off-season you should plan out your goals for your work. If you work as a scout, then you should plan your goals for scouting. The same is true if you are a coach. Your life plan should reflect the role you are in.

3) Connecting with People: No matter what team or organization you work with, I believe that God has put you on planet earth to influence people. Each off season you should develop an intentional plan for how you want to connect with people and other leaders. When you look back in a year, whose life will you have impacted and influenced?

4) Below the Surface: Each off-season you should be intentional about personal growth. Reading the bible, connecting with a group of coaches or scouts for a time of weekly sharing, fellowship, and accountability, reading a book on leadership or personal growth, writing, listening to audio resources that develop disciplines in your life,

5) Staying in Balance: This might be the most challenging and by far takes the most focus and discipline – however it is very important! Each off season you should plan how you want to manage your time, talents, treasure, and temple (body). These stewardship priorities help you to accomplish everything else you want to do in life.

Once I have an annual written life plan, I transfer it to a spreadsheet. I can then refer back to it weekly or bi-weekly to evaluate how I’m making progress. In order to make these priorities a reality, you will need to plan them in your schedule. If you don’t like calendars and schedules, that’s fine, just find a system that works for you.

The goal is not to be locked into a system; the goal is for the system to help you live the life you say you want to live. I cannot stress the following enough. You will fail at times, You will drop the ball on some or even many of these goals and objectives. It’s OK, because remember the goal here is to make progress…day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year.

Be the best leader you can be. Make an impact with you life. Leave a legacy that will out live you. Because in the end, those you are leading and influencing are counting on you!

s2s,

Kevin

WRITE, DO, EVALUATE, IDENTIFY = 4 KEYS TO ACCOMPLISHING YOUR GOALS

I have an accountability partner who is always reminding me that…“Discipline is remembering what you want.” I couldn’t agree more.

Goal

However, often times I get so focused on my goals that I forget what I want and discipline leaks in my life. I’m guessing the same might be true for you?  Whether you are a baseball coach, scout, or executive, it can happen.

The 2014 major league draft will be here before you know it, the conference championships, regional’s, and college world series are fast approaching, the high school state playoffs are just right around the corner. So, how long has it been since you reviewed your goals that you laid out, and thought through where you are and what you really want?

If it’s been a while, I encourage you to set aside some time in the coming days and evaluate your life and leadership from a discipline standpoint. We are nearly 3 months in to 2014, and it’s a great time to do some inventory before it’s to late.

I trust that the following four suggestions will be helpful as you evaluate your goals.

1. Write down what you want: Every week, spend 30 minutes reviewing what you write down and identify those objectives that will get you to where you want to go. Personally and professionally. Plan, don’t wing it. Careful planning is the first step to ending up in a great place. Remember the old saying – “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” 

2. Do what you wrote down: That is the discipline part. Things will seem hard at times. It will be a grind. However, just do it. Keep moving forward. Do what you’re supposed to do. And every time you want to quit, that is proof enough that you are moving toward what you want.

3. Evaluate your progress:  Just as a hitter or pitcher has to make adjustments from pitch to pitch or at bat to at bat, a leader must also make adjustments along the way. If you find yourself failing to make progress or headed in the wrong direction, make the necessary changes and adjustments to get back on course. Don’t wait! Do it, and do it immediately.

4. Identify an accountability partner: You will have a lot more success if you have to look someone in the eye from time to time and give an account of how you are doing. It will keep you focused and disciplined to accomplish your goals. As always, this is about progress NOT perfection! Your accountability partner is there to encourage you and help you make progress.

As a reminder – discipline is remembering what you want. Write down what you want, Do what you wrote down, Evaluate your progress, and Identify an accountability partner. If you do, it will keep you hungry, focused, and disciplined.

s2s,

Kevin

What is your top goal for the remainder of 2014? 

Comments? 

SIX PRIORITIES TO HELP BALANCE WORK / HOME LIFE

With so many encouraging emails and text from coaches and scouts regarding last weeks blog on balance, I decided to continue the conversation by sharing six priorities I use to help bring more effective personal balance between my work life and family life. These are suggestions. Like you, I am a work in progress. The goal is to make progress NOT perfection in the balance between work life and family life.

Pepple Stack in Water

In my experience, the key to work life / home life balance begins by getting crystal clear on your priorities. As I mentioned above I have six, and they are arranged in a specific order:

  1. God
  2. Self
  3. Family
  4. Work
  5. Church
  6. Everything Else

1) God: This is priority #1. Everything else flows out of a relationship with Him. He is the ultimate priority. I realized many years ago, until He is first, everything else will seem out of kilter. On a practical level, I do my best to read the Bible first thing in the morning. I want to get a divine perspective on things. I also pray in the morning, in my home, hotel room, or maybe on my way to a game while driving in the car. It’s rarely formal. Most often, it’s just an ongoing conversation about my day, thankfulness, family, friends, goals, needs, etc…I have learned that God is big enough to handle anything I talk to Him about.

2) Myself: Perhaps surprising to some people, I come next. That’s right, me. Not because I am selfish or ego-centric. It’s because I can’t take care of anyone else unless I take care of myself; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I do my best to get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly so I can be effective the next day. If you fly in an airplane much, you have probably heard the flight attendant say, “In case of an emergency … put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help others.” This is how I look at life. I have to attend to myself first in order to help others who might be in need in their life. Life is about others, and if I can take care of myself first, then I can serve and help others more effectively.

3) Family: Frankly, this was very difficult when my children were little. I was traveling all over the country and Latin america scouting. Gone for 15-20 days at a time. Home for 2 days then gone again. I had a hard time balancing my work and my life because I lived a life burned out. My priorities were all out of whack. Sadly, the priority of family sometimes got shoved to the bottom of the list. Fortunately, this was usually temporary. However, I constantly had to fight to keep from neglecting my family. When I got too far astray, my wife, Valerie would gently reel me in. Today, my wife and I are “empty-nestors”. However, I still carve out margin in my schedule for family time and date night with my wife.

4) Work: As many in baseball can clearly understand and relate to, baseball season is a grind. Whether you are a coach or scout, it can consume your time and life if you’re not careful. There is a fine balance between all that a scout must do and get done to be effective and stay accountable. One question I use to stay in balance is; Am I working to live – or am I living to work? This helps me to keep the main thing the main thing. I encourage you to always work to live, not the other way around. Harder and longer hours doesn’t mean “smarter.”  No one ever said at the end of their life, “Man, I only wish I had spent more time in the office or at the ballpark. I told a veteran scout just the other day – “If we die tomorrow, they will fill our scouting position quickly, and the game of baseball will keep right on going without us, it won’t miss a beat.” Like Col Sanders use to say; “There is no good reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.”  Work to live – don’t live to work!

5) Church: During each baseball off-season, I make it a priority to invest my life into a handful of men every week for leadership training, equipping, and accountability. Iron sharpens iron. We all attend different churches in our community. However, It is a great way to maintain balance between our personal life and spiritual life. This is my ministry in the church I attend. Valerie and I have been at the same church for many years, so our relationships are long and deep. I believe man was created for worship. If we don’t worship God, we generally end up worshiping something else. For me, church is a great way and healthy environment to start the week on the right foot.

6) Everything Else: The truth is that I rarely get past the first five priorities. These pretty much make up my life. The bottom line is that you don’t need to get everything done. You only need to get the right things done and leave the rest with God. You’re only human and you can only do so much.

God, Self, Family, Work, Church, and Everything Else. Six priorities to help bring more effective personal balance between your work life and home life. Remember…Progress NOT Perfection!

s2s,

Kevin

Question: What system or structure do you use to help balance work life and family life? 

Comments? 

LEADING AT WORK AND HOME – IT STARTS WITH T.I.M.E.

Any baseball coach, manager, executive, scout, scouting director, or crosschecker will tell you that the game we all love requires time away from home. There is a cost, a trade off if you will. Blink, and your children go from age 7-17. Many of these men will travel between 100-250 nights a year on the road. Ballpark to ballpark, town to town, and city to city. Multiple weeks of long grinding road trips, on a bus, in a car, or on an airplane. Time and miles away separated from their wife, children, and loved ones. Many reading this today can clearly identify.

Recently, I read an interesting statement from a gentleman named, Phil Bolsta.  It was a great reminder about how important it is to relish the moments you have with your family and loved ones. Without being morbid, let me remind you, that at some point in life’s journey, there will be one last time that you will have the opportunity to talk to each of your family members.  What if you knew your next time…would be your last time?

Bolsta states, “Imagine that earlier in the day you got the news that your loved one had passed away suddenly. If that had actually happened, you would have given all you owned to sit with them like you’re sitting with them right now—to hold their hand, to look them in the eye, to say “I love you” one more time. What a gift, what a miracle that would be! And yet, that same experience barely registers in the course of an ordinary day.”

Family

Wow! I am quickly reminded that authentic leaders not only lead on the field of competition, in a ballpark, or in their departments. They lead at home first and foremost. It starts with not just being there physically when you get home, but really “being there.”  Fully engaged, totally present, and thoroughly interested in what is happening in the lives of your wife, children, and loved ones.

Computer, tablet, and cell phone in the off position for an appointed time. Fully engaged and focused on the ones you are leading first. It must be a priority to maintain balance between work and home. Always remember, the word LOVE is spelled T.I.M.E. 

If you find yourself unbalanced between your home life and baseball life, maybe it’s time to re-focus the way you look at your family members and loved ones. Determine today to carve out margin in your schedule to make it a priority. Time is short, and those you are leading first are counting on you.

s2s,

Kevin

Why do you think it’s so difficult for leaders to maintain balance between work and home? 

Comments?