Monthly Archives: July 2014

INTEGRITY = SUCCESS

Yesterday, was a great weekend for Major League Baseball as they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I noticed there was one word that kept coming up all day throughout the various speeches. It was the word Leadership. However, leadership is only successful when it is draped with integrity. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” 

“Integrity” Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Classrooms, Baseball Teams, and Families could also be added to the former president’s list.  There is no walk of life where integrity isn’t the supreme quality of a leader.

As a baseball scout, there are two questions among several that I always ask a prospect when meeting with them one on one.

1) “To you, in your own words, what does integrity mean?

2) To you, in your own words, what does character mean?

The two are linked together and It amazes me at how many do not know either.

When surveyed, 95% of employees listed integrity as the number one thing they want to be present in their boss.  Integrity is vital.

When it comes to your own integrity, where does it rank on your list of priorities this week? The same could be said for character. Who you are on the inside will eventually be revealed.

If you want to make a difference this week and leverage your influence, make integrity your focus.

Most of us never consider what we will do to intentionally maintain or grow our integrity.  This seems foolish if, “without it, no real success is possible.”

Why not set aside some time this week and work on your integrity?  Why?  Because failing the integrity test means failing as a leader – and those you are leading and influencing are counting on you. Integrity = Success!

s2s

Kevin

What are some specific ways a leader can work on his or her integrity?

Comments?

LEADING FROM THE HEART

Last week, I was reading out of the best book I know – the Bible. I came across this verse in the book of Matthew – “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

Can you think of anyone who derailed his or her organization or career because of anything on that list? I’ll bet you can. In fact, I know far more stories of failure rooted in these issues than those resulting from a lack of competence or skill.

The simple truth is that leaders who fail to monitor their hearts jeopardize their organizations. If we neglect the arduous work of monitoring what’s going on inside of us, our organizations will suffer.

Everything we say and do springs from our hearts. The implications are huge for those who manage and lead people. What’s in our hearts eventually affects our ability to lead effectively. Consequently, learning to guard our hearts is critical to our success as leaders. There are three things in particular that if ignored have the potential to create chaos in the heart of a leader and, consequently, in his or her sphere of organizational influence.

Guilt: Leaders that carry unresolved guilt are forced to hide a part of themselves from those closest to them. They have secrets. They expend time and energy ensuring that no one finds them out because they know they are not completely trustworthy. And because they are suspect, they begin to suspect others. Their inability to trust others makes it almost impossible for them to build cohesive teams.

Anger: Angry people live as if the world owes them something—something they can never quite identify. Angry leaders are impossible to please. They attract employees that are more concerned with making their bosses happy than doing what’s best for the organization. This leads to poor decisions, eventually putting them at odds with their angry bosses and the cycle of dysfunction continues.

Jealousy: Professional jealousy is understandable, maybe even unavoidable to some extent. But when it is unrecognized and ignored, it has the potential to destroy the synergy of a team. Jealous leaders measure their success by the failure of others. An organization cannot sustain momentum when its leadership is focused on how well others are not doing rather than looking for ways to move forward. Maybe most crippling of all, leaders who carry jealousy in their hearts rarely surround themselves with competent and talented people. They feel threatened. And their insecurity stifles the growth all organizations need.

If you can identify with the ailments cited above, welcome to the human race. We all wrestle with guilt, anger, and jealousy at some level. That’s why we need help from God. They might never be eliminated, but they certainly don’t have to control our lives or contaminate our organizations.

Guilt? Confess. Confession eradicates guilt. Go confess to the person you’ve wronged.

Angry? Forgive. Forgiveness is simply a decision to cancel a debt. Take time to decipher what you think the people who’ve hurt you owe you and cancel those debts. Otherwise, you will make the people closest to you pay.

Jealous? Look for ways to celebrate the successes of people who’ve pulled ahead of you. Write ’em a letter. Praise their accomplishments in public. Refuse to allow jealousy to take up residence in your heart.

The writer of Proverbs summarized it this way, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” You live from the heart. You love from the heart. And yes, you lead from your heart. So pay attention to your heart. It impacts everything you do.

s2s,

Kevin

Is there anything else you would add to this list? 

Comments? 

SCOUTS HONOR…STRATEGIES EVERY LEADER CAN USE

A old friend of mine is a major league baseball scout.  He was a master at finding talent.  Over the years he has discovered a couple of gems that might otherwise have gone overlooked.  He would tell you that great recruiting can overcome a limited payroll.  Don’t believe me, just ask the teams who will be sitting at home watching the major league baseball playoffs this fall.  

In the fall of 2014, all the hours of hard work that has been done by the pro and amateur scouting departments of the remaining playoff teams might very well be the difference in who wins the World Series.

As a major league baseball scout myself, I can assure you the scouts won’t be dancing on the field during the celebration holding the World Series trophy in October, however rest assured the players won’t be either if it were not for the scouts. 

wwba scouts

For leaders, few things are more important than being a great recruiter. The effectiveness of your team depends on you getting this one right. Whether you are building a baseball team, company, school, or law firm, there are some tested strategies of scouting that you should embrace. 

1) Define your philosophy and stick to it: Without a doubt, I believe it should start and end with the 3 C’s . . . character, chemistry, and competency. If the person being recruited doesn’t pass any one of the “3 C’s” you would be wise not to go near them.

Character is the foundation of everything you do. If a person can’t be trusted, they are useless to your team. Character involves work ethic, trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty, and even punctuality. 

Chemistry takes time to discern, but it is equally important.  A friend of mine says, “Life is too short to dance with ugly women.” He doesn’t say it to offend anyone, but rather to remind himself that you better get along with the people you work with. Multiple interviews in a variety of settings will help give you a read on chemistry.  A good scout understands that there is more to building a team than what happens on the field.  What happens in the clubhouse is by far just as important.

Competency answers the “Can they get the job done” question.  Are they proven?  Are they skilled?  Are they properly trained?  Do they have the required relational or financial skills?  Competency is different for every position, but ultimately, “Talent Matters.”

If you want to build a great organization you better define your philosophy and refuse to compromise.

2) Protect the culture of your team: Anyone who is going to join your team better bleed what you bleed or you are asking for trouble.  They better be seeing the same thing and saying the same thing. A cultural fit is often, though not always, easier to find inside your organization.  But whether you hire from within or go outside to find your next team member is irrelevant.  What does matter is that they share your vision and values.

A bad cultural fit can be like a cancer to your team.  You can’t ignore cancer because it will spread.  Don’t hire a weak cell.

3) Know what you are looking for: Professional baseball scouts have certain “tools” that they look for in a prospect.  They know that 5 tool players (hit, power, run, throw, and field) are a rarity.  However, you can have a great team without having any 5 tool players.  A good scout knows the need of the team and he goes and finds the right players that fit the philosophy of the team the GM wants to build. 

In business you better know what kind of person you need.  If you need a marketing expert, they must understand the market and know what creative looks like.  If it is a receptionist you need, find someone who is friendly and personal and who relishes the chance to be the first voice someone hears when they call your organization. However you want to build your team or organization, it is a must to know what you are looking for. 

4) Do your homework: As a scout, it is imperative that we do our homework on the players we want to draft. Many years ago I was considering a guy to sign after the draft. It was down between two players and I decided to make a few phone calls on both players. I’m glad I did. One of the coaches I spoke with said that this particular player had poor work ethic and wasn’t always easy to get along with. He had a lousy attitude and was not liked or respected by other players on the team. Red flashing “character & chemistry lights” started flashing in my head.  I was stunned, but thankful I had done my homework. I assure you, it is a lot easier to not hire someone than it is to fire them.  Do your homework!

5)  Leave no stones unturned: My old scouting friend is famous for saying, “If they can play, someone will find them.”  Scouts will go anywhere to get their guy.

While pedigree is an indicator of performance, it sometimes can be misleading.  There are some great players who went undrafted.  Just because a person has an impressive resume or a formal education doesn’t mean they can deliver.

Be diligent and don’t make assumptions.  The person you are looking for might not even be in the same line of work that you are needing done.  As long as you know what you are looking for and stick to your philosophy, it doesn’t matter where you find the person.

6) Expect to make some mistakes: Let’s face it, there will be times when you will miss.  It is a part of drafting baseball players and hiring people.  I have experienced the feeling and it is less than pleasant. However it happens. All I can say is learn from your mistakes.  They usually are the result of violating one or more of the above strategies.  I can tell you that I have made progress through the years.  Progress, not perfection. My secret is not that I have gotten smarter.  It is that I have embraced and trusted these 6 strategies.

Scouting for potential major league baseball players is not easy work, actually it is quite difficult, however it is vitally important if you want to build a successful team.  Stick to these strategies and before long you will be surrounded by winners.

s2s,

Kevin

Are there other strategies you would add to the list?

Comments? 

 

65 YEARS

Today is a milestone day. My wife’s parents (my in-laws) round out their family legacy as they celebrate 65 years of marriage. Well done!

Nan & Crawford

I feel blessed that my wife and I can watch each of our parents set an example of what marriage really is all about. 

For Crawford and Nan they were childhood friends, high school sweethearts, husband and wife, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and still best friends today. Throughout great times and challenging times spanning 65 years of marriage to each other, my in-laws have stayed the course. Not wavering on their commitment to each other. They have agreed to disagree, with divorce never being an option.

In a day and age when no one goes the distance anymore, you would do well to copy my in-laws. They have stayed firm and resolute, and given us all something to target. They are by no means perfect any more than the rest of us. However, they have persevered over six decades of marriage better than anyone I know.

Well done Crawford and Nan. I could not be more proud of you both. Today is your day and we honor you both.

Happy 65th Anniversary!

s2s

Kevin

Who do you know that has modeled perseverance? 

Comments?