In the 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 must 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 myself, but people that want to live a life of character, conduct, 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.
In a couple of weeks the 2015 high school, junior college and college baseball seasons will begin all over the United States, and I can tell you there is a major decision that every head baseball coach is facing right now – “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, scholarships, contracts, parents, fans, media 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 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 are teachable, coach-able and 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 team and 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?