Monthly Archives: June 2014

MAKE A DIFFERENCE – BE INTENTIONAL

I am always surprised at how often I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. The opportunities can sometimes be easy to miss and walk right by. One such encounter happened to me 2 years ago. However, I just learned of it last Monday.

I received a phone call from the father of a current division 1 college baseball player. This is not any ordinary college baseball player. He is a young man who has a great chance to be a high draft pick in the 2015 major league baseball draft.

This father shared with me that by my simple act of reaching out to his son when he was a junior in high school, showing interest in him as a potential prospect, and encouraging him, gave his son the nudge and confidence to believe that he was talented enough to compete against other professional high school prospects in the area. He thanked me, and went on to share how he and his son still talk about that moment today. It was a “Wow” moment for me.

In that moment a few things became very clear to me…

1) Be Intentional: Be aware of those around you and intentionally look for opportunities to encourage, empower, and influence others. You never know what small gesture or word you might say or do that will help that individual to the next level in life.

2) Little Things Make A Big Difference: Truthfully, you could argue that my gesture was small. However, to this player and his father it clearly wasn’t. Having someone remind him there is greatness in him, and that he was as good as the rest – and better than the best, could prove to be very big. 

3) Making A Difference in Someone Else – Makes A Difference In Us: When we seek to make a difference in someone else’s life, the biggest difference often times occurs in us. I walked away feeling good about myself for not being in a hurry and for encouraging a young influential baseball player that he had ability and could be a very good baseball player someday.

Today, don’t be surprised if you are given the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. It will be easy to miss, or even ignore. Don’t!!!

Choose a different way. Be a noticer and a doer. Someone needs for you to remind them they can be great. 

“Leadership is intentional influence.”

The word intentional takes it to another level. Many leaders achieve accidental influence. But the best ones are intentional.

Would the people you are influencing describe your leadership as intentional or accidental? Charisma, skill, and personality all live in the accidental camp …while humility, collaboration, and careful focus reside in the intentional world.

If you want to make a difference today, I suggest you start with being more intentional. You just never know what phone call might be coming your way. Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Is there an area where you need to be more intentional to make a difference in someone’s life? 

Comments? 

ARE YOU LISTENING TO THE “CHIRPS” IN YOUR LIFE?

Not long ago I was awaken out of a dead sleep. I thought that I heard a bird chirping, however it was the smoke detector in my home. About every 30 seconds I kept hearing a “chirp.” I tried to role over an ignore it, however there was no snooze option. There was no fire; just a sleepy homeowner who hadn’t changed the batteries in several months.

As leaders, wouldn’t it be great if there were small chirps to remind us that it’s time to take care of ourselves? It is very easy to take care of others needs, wants, and desires. Only to ignore the much needed chirps in our own lives.

A health issue needs your attention. Chirp. A co-worker, family member, or player on your team needs encouragement. Chirp. A relationship needs mending. Chirp. Your body needs attention. Chirp. Your wife and kids need your time and attention. Chirp. Sadly, the “self-leadership” chirps can be hardest to hear sometimes.

If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to listen to the chirps in your own life. Trust me, they are there. Small clues that are calling out for your focus and attention. If ignored, they will impact your life and leadership.

I encourage you to set aside some time this week and do some self evaluation. If your schedule is crowded and your calendar is to full; it will be only be a matter of time when the small chirps become much louder.

The comfortable thing to do is roll over, ignore the noise, and keep right on sleeping. Don’t! Because eventually there will be a life and leadership fire. if you want to be ready, you had better listen to the small chirps before they grow in to loud ones. Because those you are leading and influencing are counting on you. Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

7 QUALITIES OF A “SERVANT-LEADER”

As a major league baseball scout, I have seen countless college and high school games throughout the years. I get the opportunity to meet and know many fine head baseball coaches and scouts who are fantastic leaders. On occasion, I observe some who have the heart of a servant leader.

Last week, I was both encouraged and moved by the words of University of Louisville head baseball coach, Dan McDonnell at the conclusion of their super regional vs Kennesaw State University. If you haven’t seen the video, click on the link below.

Coach McDonnell exemplified the characteristics of a servant leader. Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader, you only gain more trust and respect from those you are leading.

I pondered the following question last week. What does it actually mean to be a servant leader? What are some characteristics and qualities?

Below are 7 essential qualities of being a servant leader on your team or in your organization.

1) Values Diverse Opinions: A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If the team must back down to only listening to, and abiding by the opinion of the leader, you are not in a servant lead team or organization.

2) Cultivates a Culture of Trust: A servant leader cultivates a culture of trust. People in the department, on the team, or in the organization don’t have to meet at the “water cooler” to gossip. The leader cultivates a healthy environment of trust. Team members can share their concerns and opinions without being frowned on or ridiculed.

3) Develops Potential leaders: A servant leader intentionally seeks out potential leaders on their team to invest in and develop. They don’t micro manage. It means teaching others how to lead, providing opportunities for growth, and then demonstrating by example. That means the leader is not always leading, but instead giving up power and empowering others to lead.

4) Encourages: A servant leader encourages their team members and staff. The hallmark of a leader is encouragement. They say, “Lets go do it” not, “You go do it.”  They look for opportunities to encourage their team and staff. 

5) Thinks You-Not Me: A servant leader is selfless. There is a genuine quality about the leader. Someone who is thinking, “How does this benefit me?”  is disqualified. The first four words in the Rick Warren’s best selling book, Purpose Driven Life simply and accurately states, “It’s not about you!” 

6) Thinks Long-Term: A servant leader is thinking about the next generation, the next coach, the next leader, the next opportunity. That means a trade off between what’s important today versus what’s important tomorrow. They seek to make choices that benefit the future of the team or organization.

7) Humble: A servant leader doesn’t wear a title as a way to show who’s in charge. Doesn’t think their better than everyone else, and acts in a way that cares for others. They may in fact, pick up trash, clean up a table, rake a ball field, get a cup of water or a towel for their team member. Just setting an example of service. They clearly understand it’s not about the them, but about others.

“Servant” and “Leadership” – They go hand in hand. I am reminded by the words of John Maxwell – “True servant leadership must be for the benefit of the followers…not to enrich the leader.”  Have a great week and be the best servant leader you can be. Those you are leading and influencing are counting on you.

s2s

Kevin

Question: Are their any additional qualities you can add that describes a servant leader? 

Comments Below…

5 MISTAKES LEADERS SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COST

This past weekend, major league baseball conducted the 2014 amateur free agent baseball draft. Over the past several months, scouting directors, crosscheckers, and area scouts have been hitting the road in a car, airplane or both. Players have been evaluated, draft boards lined up, and decisions made regarding the future of each organization.

MLB-Draft

Decision making can be challenging at times. Targeting certain players an organization wants to draft, only to be picked off just before selecting – scouting directors and their trusted group of advisers often times must quickly re-group and make an informed decision.

Decision making in life as well as on the job is crucial. When leading and making decisions, below are 5 basic essentials that all leaders should have on their list entitled “things to avoid at all cost.” 

Over many years I have seen countless leaders make the following choices and decisions and it has cost them dearly. The sad part is that they could all be avoided.

Some of these mistakes are obvious. Some may be a bit more obscure. However they are all critical.

1) Pride and Arrogance: The downfall of many leaders is that their early successes begin to inflate their egos. Never forget your roots, don’t think you are bullet proof, invincible or infallible, and don’t put yourself above anything or anyone.  An ancient proverb says, “Pride goes before destruction,” it would behoove leaders to tattoo that on their forearms.

2) Lacking Integrity: There are many things you can lack and still steer clear of danger. Integrity isn’t one of them. Establish a set of sound ethical policies, integrate them into all business processes, communicate them broadly to all employees, and make clear that you will not tolerate deviation from them. You have to carve out time to set the “integrity agenda,” for your own edification, and then to make it clear to the organization.  Don’t take for granted people will be able to figure out right from wrong. They won’t. Like the old saying, “Speed of the leader speed of the team.” 

3) Lacking Values:  Values are what the organization stands in. Establish a set of Core Values that can unite the organization, and then create an environment around them. I am convinced that Core Values become the foundation of a well-oiled, world-class, ethical organization.

4) Blind Trust: Former President Ronald Reagan said “trust but verify.” While leaders can’t do it alone, the wrong people with the wrong skills in the wrong place are a formula for disaster. Allow people to prove themselves. Take some time to properly vet, and then observe key people in their role before you let them fly solo. Any competent, well-grounded person should have no problem with this approach.

5) Negative Influences: There is no lack of advice in this world. Some voices offer valuable counsel that can help keep you on track. Other voices will nudge you ever so slightly until one day you wake up and find yourself way off course. Tune in to the voices of value and tune the others out. As a leader, I am sure you have no shortage of people who are eager to give you advice. The challenge is, sifting through the ones worth listening to, and ignoring the others. How can you tell the difference?  Listen to different perspectives from different sets of people, and then pay attention to the still small voice inside of you. The longer you listen, the better listener and discerner you will become. 

Whether you are a leader at home or in your profession, these are five things that can make or break the most charismatic, energetic, brightest and hardworking leader. I encourage you today, choose wisely in order to live a life of maximum impact and influence in the weeks, months, and years to come. Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Question: Are there any additional suggestions you could add to this list? 

Comment Below…

PRIME TIME = FAMILY TIME

A couple weeks back I was having breakfast at a hotel with a friend of mine who is a scouting director with a major league baseball organization. We shared about life, family, and work. Personally, it was very encouraging to hear my friend talk about his family and not just baseball.

It was very apparent to me that he prioritizes spending time and energy with his family members when he’s at home. With all the pressures and responsibilities my friend has in leading a scouting department – he “gets it.” He realizes being a husband and father first and foremost is priority #1.

Do you ever feel like you are missing something at home?  My wife and I are now “empty nestors.”  The kids are gone and It’s more quiet now than ever before around the house. However I am thankful over the years that we both were wise enough to invest time not only in our kids – but in each other as well.

Sadly, many parents invest all their time in their children – only to look up 18-20 years later when their children are off to college and out of the house, and not really know the person sitting across from them. Can I say bluntly…don’t allow that to happen!

Family relationships require focus and discipline just as work does. The harder you work at your marriage or your parenting, the more you will reap the rewards of a great family life in the future. However, many times we struggle at home more than anywhere else.

How can it be this way? After all, you would think the last people on earth we would have difficulty with would be the ones we love the most. But often home life can be very frustrating.  The temptation for many is to be so engaged at the office, or at the ballpark, that you become consumed with work at the expense of your family. Even when you go home you can be there without really “being there.”

So what’s the answer? I believe the following four action steps can be helpful.

1. Leave Your Work at Work:  Your work will be there when you get back to the field or to the office. Your spouse and kids need you to be fully present and fully engaged when you are at home with them. They deserve more of your attention than anything or anyone.

2. Be Intentional:  Depending on your travel schedule, plan some uninterrupted time with each of your family members each week or two. Pick a common interest or activity and learn to laugh. Go to your kids athletic events, a movie, a concert, a rafting day trip, or just a night away – whatever it is, just be intentional.

3. Save the Best for Last: How many of us bring more energy to our words at work than we do to our words at home? Choose to bring your greatest energy to your conversations at home. Learn to listen more than you talk. Make it about them. Capture this moment. Speak life in to your family members while you still have the opportunity. Bring encouragement and excitement into your home.

4. Remove Distractions:  Turn off the TV, power down the smartphone, go dark on the computer or IPad, and stay out of the lazy chair. “Down time” alone can often be more draining than spending focused time with a family member – which really can be very energizing.

There is a reason the night time hours are referred to as prime time by the TV networks. I encourage you, don’t make the mistake of burning the midnight oil at the office or the ballpark. For a leader, the hours at home are indeed “prime time.” Make the most of them while you still can, and you will live a life of no regrets.

s2s,

Kevin

Question – Is there anything other action step you would add to the list above? 

Comment Below…