Monthly Archives: August 2014


For many years I did not enjoy reading. To be honest, If it didn’t involve a ball and bat I avoided it at all cost. However over time, I came to realize that leaders are readers. 

In the introduction to his book, “Make Today Count,” author John Maxwell writes, “You are preparing for something.” He suggests that the “something” is either success or failure.

Maxwell recalls that his father used to remind him often, “You can pay now and play later, or you can play now and pay later. But either way, you are going to pay.”

Those are words that wise leaders heed. Any regrets I have in my life are due to the fact that I failed to pay up front. Discipline is like money. The more you deposit, the more you have available to draw from. A principle to this day, I continually poor in to my adult children.

So what are you preparing for?  Success or failure?  The answer lies in the choices you are making. Remember, choice = lifestyle.

Wise leaders consistently make great choices.

1) They are disciplined and lock in on their mission!

2) They manage their time, treasure, and resources!

3) They understand the power and importance of relationships!

You can position yourself to leave a legacy with your life. However only if you are willing to pay the price.

The choice is yours. Choose wisely!



What choices do you feel are important to leave a legacy in life?



Leadership is not about position.  It is not about power.  Leadership is about influence.  Poor leaders don’t understand this, so they spend their time flexing muscles, raising their voices, bullying others, and imposing their will.  Good leaders do understand this truth, so they focus their attention on improving their ability to influence.

As a baseball coach or scout, your leadership influence is vital to your success. It is a key ingredient. Ironically, I had a head baseball coach and a scouting director contact me last week by email and shared how much they value the characteristic of influence in leadership, however were not sure of some specific action steps they could take to live it out more effectively.

I’m glad they asked. Below are 10 action steps you should consider to help improve your ability to influence the people you lead. I hope they are helpful.

Treat people like human beings rather than human resources.

Too often, leaders threaten those they are lead, use them, or neglect them.  Remember, the people you lead are just that:  PEOPLE.  Leaders who write people off and treat them poorly always reap the negative benefits of those actions later. People don’t care how much you know – until they know how much you care.

Err on the side of generosity.  

Be generous with your time.  Be generous with your resources.  Be generous with forgiveness, praise, and encouragement.  Yes, this will cost you, but the results will be well worth it.

Always let people know where they stand. 

It is leadership cruelty to let under-performing team members think they’re doing well and to let excellent team members wonder if they’re succeeding.  Give your team members clear direction and keep them abreast of how you view their progress.

Believe in your team. 

People beat themselves up a lot; they don’t need you to add any bruises to their collection.  Help their confidence by believing in the people on your team.  Look for the untapped potential in all of your team members.  Tell them you are proud of them.  Tell them you believe in them.  When you reprimand someone, make sure you genuinely believe they can improve.  If you don’t believe in your team, you have the wrong people on your team, you have people in the wrong positions, or you are too cynical.  Figure out which it is and address the issue immediately!

Praise people publicly and correct them privately.

Never, never, never, never reprimand people publicly.  You’ll lose equity with the person being corrected and the people hearing the reprimand.  Always, always, always encourage people publicly.  This gives a boost to the person being praised and gives hope to those hearing the encouraging words.

Refuse to respond in anger.

This can be challenging at times. I know, because I have made this mistake in the past. You probably have as well. When a team member fails, don’t explode.  If you’re mad, go somewhere to cool off before you address the issue.  When you explode, you make the people you lead afraid of telling you when something is wrong.  Losing your temper is the fastest way to create a culture where your team members lie to your face and cover up their mistakes.  Can you say, “unhealthy?”


When you make a mistake, admit it.  Tell your team members that you regret your actions.  DON’T MAKE EXCUSES or say, “I’m sorry, (but)…”  Just say, “I’m sorry.”  The people you lead don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do want you to be humble.

Send hand-written notes.

In an era of e-mails, texts, tweets and Facebook wall posts, it’s truly astounding to be given a hand-written note.  Send hand-written apologies, thank yous, and notes of encouragement.  Your team will be moved by the fact that you’ve taken a little extra time for them.

Strive for excellence. 

I’ve heard it said; “Excellence honors God and inspires people.”  I couldn’t agree more.  As you strive for and expect excellence, your team will respond.  People want to do remarkable things.  They want what they do to matter.  Aiming for quality results contributes to a culture of excitement, hope, confidence, and expectation.

Honor your word. 

Nothing will undermine your leadership influence faster than inconsistency.  Never forget; people judge themselves by their intentions, but they judge you by your actions.  When you don’t do what you say, people begin to think you lack integrity.  They may overlook it at first, but eventually, they’ll think you are full of hot air (at best) or an outright liar (at worst).  Do your absolute best to always follow through on all of your commitments no matter what!

To sum it up, live life with the end in mind. Live a life that values character and conduct, and leverage your influence that lead others to do the same. You will not regret it!



Q: Are there any other suggestions or action steps you would add to this list? 



In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins says that great organizations and teams begin with disciplined people. The great ones, according to Collins, are all led by “Level Five Leaders” who are characterized by professional will and personal humility.

Whether you are a head baseball coach or a departmental leader, rather than deciding where you want to take your team, your first decision should be to make sure you have “the right people on the bus.”  Get the right people on the bus, put them in the right seats, and you will finish in a great place. If it’s drafting the right players that fits the organizational strategy, or you and your coaching staff selecting the right players to help you win a league or conference championship, the goal is to make sure you get the right people that develop outstanding team chemistry.

Through the years, one of my biggest goals as a leader has been to try and surround myself with great people. People that not only know more than me, but people that want to live a life of character, integrity, and influence. These are the ones you want to do life with, go to battle with, and win with.

As a professional baseball scout, it’s easy to say that I love baseball. In my opinion, it’s a great sport and environment to learn and teach leadership. Through the years, I’ve had the joy of teaching and coaching a few baseball players. From experience, I can tell you there is a major decision that every baseball coach faces . . .Do I play my nine best, or my best nine?

A head coach in baseball faces the same temptation that other leaders face. Namely, to play their nine best. That can be a mistake!  If you want to accomplish your mission, hit your target, or win the game (however you want to say it), you better learn to identify your best nine. Regardless of the politics, contracts, or any other outside challenge involved.

The “best nine” is simply a metaphor for identifying the people who work best together or play best together, whether in a boardroom, baseball diamond or scouting staff.  Most people refer to this “team concept” as having chemistry with one another – and it’s vital!  It’s the difference between having a championship team and organization, or not.

In baseball or business, teamwork defeats talent. Don’t misunderstand. If you are a baseball scout or coach, you know that tools and talent matters, and you should do everything you can to scout, recruit, and develop great talent. However, life is too short to surround yourself with people or players who are a drain on the process and your team.  Build a team of people that you love to work with, and you will find your work much more energizing and rewarding. However, in the end, if you have to choose. Choose chemistry!

Do you want to take your leadership to another level. Then start by playing your “best nine.” You won’t regret it!



What traits do you value and look for when building a team?  



For many years I have listened to speaker after speaker say, “Leadership is influence.”  However a few days ago, I read a quote from author Joseph Grenny. Grenny put a new spin on this idea. He said, “Leadership is intentional influence.”

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

One such example of intentional influence is a gentleman who lives in our community. His name is Brian Thompson. Brian is a Captain in our local county fire dept. You see, a couple years back, I took my son to see and visit one of our local fire stations. Captain Thompson was on duty this particular day.

Captain Thompson

Captain Thompson had a choice in that moment of being intentional to influence a young man who showed interest in a career as a firefighter / paramedic – or he had a choice of walking away and not carving out time in his busy schedule to invest in a young mans life.

Because Captain Thompson paused and prioritized intentional influence – today my son, Zack is a firefighter 2 for a large county in Georgia.

I am thankful that Captain Thompson chose wisely to show intentional influence and speak words of encouragement and wisdom into my son’s life regarding a career as a firefighter / paramedic. He was intentional not accidental. A lot more is caught than taught!

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 consideration reside in the intentional world.

Regardless of what you do in life, if you want to maximize your influence today, I suggest you start with being more intentional. Just ask Captain Thompson. 



Is there an area where you need to be more intentional?