Monthly Archives: April 2015

ICEBERGS, STORMS AND LEADERSHIP

For many years, the iceberg has been a great visual for leadership…the 10% above the waterline represents the skills of the leader and the 90% below the water represents the character of the leader. What’s happening below the waterline has more of an impact than what’s going on above. In an attempt to learn more about these unique products of nature, I did some research.

iceberg

In my research of icebergs, one of the things I learned was the critical role storms play in the formation of them. You may have thought about this, but I had not. Icebergs are formed over decades of snow and ice storms. The more storms, the deeper the snow, the deeper the snow, the more pressure, the more pressure, the more the snow is compressed – to form ice. This process repeats itself over and over again until the weight of it all forces a break from land and the newly calved iceberg is launched into the sea.

Here’s something to consider, could the iceberg as a metaphor for leadership extend to the way leaders are formed? What role do storms play in our formation? There are several ways I believe storms in life can shape our life and leadership.

Storms Strengthen Us:  Think about the hard things you’ve encountered in your life – at home, at work, in relationships, with your health. If you and I have learned from these experiences, we are stronger. Whenever I find myself in a storm, one of my first questions is, “What can I learn here?” Try not to ask “why” but “what.”

Storms Deepen Our Experience: One of the more treacherous features of many storms is the element of the unknown. And certainly, every new storm can bring its own surprises. However, I’ve experienced numerous situations in which past storms provided insight regarding how to survive a current storm or a coming storm. Experience matters!

Storms Shape Our Character: Character is who you are. This is where I want to stretch the metaphor just a little. If storms form an iceberg and if the amount above the waterline is directly proportional to what’s below; storms shape and deepen our character. I believe this to be true. When you and I move through a storm in our life or leadership, our resolve and our beliefs are impacted in a profound way. How we react under pressure is a true test of our leadership character.

In summation – We only learn from the storms we survive. So, if you find yourself in a storm – (and you will) – hang on and learn all you can from the experience. It will serve you well when the weather clears. Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What are some ways you endure the storms of life?

Comments? 

RECHARGE YOUR BATTERY

Last week, I had a conversation with a respected scout and fellow friend who travels the country. He has a lot of responsibility. He shared with me about how much he use to stress regarding rain and bad weather across the country impacting the games he was traveling to scout. Today, he has learned not to let it bother him, that in the end, all the prospects that need to get seen –  will be seen. He has figured out something very important as a leader.

At the moment, I’m writing this post from the swing on my back porch. Over the weekend, I had the privilege to spend some time around other scouts at baseball games. Probably like them, I’m recharging my battery out here on my deck by relaxing and writing – preparing for another busy week ahead. How do you recharge your battery?

This is no trivial question. If you’re anything like me, you know how demanding leadership can be. You throw in life demands of family responsibilities, community involvement and work responsibilities, and your battery can get drained very quickly. Plus, if you have any additional stressors in your life – health issues, team concerns, player issues, financial challenges, aging parents, teenage children, etc. –  the pressure increases.

At the base level, one of the first things you’ve got to know about yourself is your energy orientation. Do you tend to draw energy from spending time with others or do you get energy from time alone? That’s a great place to start. My answer to this question seems to have changed over the years. Maybe that’s normal – I’m not sure. Like you, I’m still a work in progress, however here are a few things that have helped me over the years.

Rest – When I was younger, it didn’t matter as much. However, today, I’m not quite as fresh after pulling multiple late nights. Rest for your body is vital, Whatever you do, don’t burn the candle at both ends. Get your rest. If you don’t, It will catch up to you and you will crash and burn. It will not only impact your health, but also your ability to lead effectively. I have learned this all to well.

Recreation – A friend told me many years ago that the word is RE–CREATION. What re-creates you? Is it long walks, golf, writing, watching TV, reading, working out, sailing or running? You need to know the answer to this question. If you don’t, start experimenting. Put whatever works for you on your calendar, and do it often.

Solitude – This is not everyone’s cup of tea – I get it!  However, some time alone may help you re-focus, re-prioritize and re-charge. Even a few hours may invigorate you. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl. For me, it’s some personal quiet time early each morning. Power down the cell phone, turn off the computer and TV, and just have some time of quiet solitude. It will do wonders.

Reflection – Think about your purpose – I hope you have a sense of why you’re on earth. I believe you’re here for a reason. If you know why, think about what you’re doing to fulfill your purpose. If that doesn’t light your fire, your wood may be wet. The two most important days in a persons life is – the day they were born – and the day they discover why they were born.

People – Who are the people in your life that give you energy? When you see them coming, your energy, enthusiasm and engagement go up – spend time with THOSE PEOPLE. Make them a priority. Put it on the calendar. By the way, you also have a list of people who drain you – they have the opposite affect as those who energize you. They are what I call “EGR” people (Extra Grace Required). Minimize or eliminate time with those people. They will drain the life right out of you.

It’s natural for a leader’s battery to drain – what we do as baseball coaches, scouts and leaders is extremely hard. But we can do the necessary things to recharge our lives and our leadership. We must own this. No one else can or will do it for us.

Carve our margin in your calendar for Rest, Recreation, Solitude, Reflection and People. Let’s stay charged up, so we can effectively serve those we are leading.

s2s,

Kevin

How do you charge your battery? 

Comments? 

GREAT LEADERS – VALUE CONSISTENCY & A GOOD NAME

As a scout, I am always looking for consistency in the players I scout and evaluate. Regardless if it’s a position player or pitcher, there is nothing better than watching a prospect who is consistent week in and week out. You know exactly what you’re getting.

The same is true for a leader. The great ones are consistent. Never to high and never to low. They are steady. They value a good name. They live each day protecting and building a good name.

One of my favorite verse in the bible is Proverbs 22:1 It says; “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” 

How do you build a good name? I think the secret to building a good name is consistency. Below are some ways to build a good name and live a consistent life of leadership…

Consistently Help People – Genuinely care for people and devote yourself to helping others. Look for and find ways to serve those in need financially, physically and emotionally.

Consistently Live Your Priorities – Ask yourself how you want to be remembered. For me it’s..God, family, baseball, church – in order.  Maybe it’s different for you? However whatever it is, live out your priorities and be consistent doing so.

Consistently Give Your Time – How generous are you with your time toward others? I remember long ago when I visited the HQ of Chick-Fil-A. The owner, Truett Cathy was in that day, he stopped what he was doing and visited with me. He didn’t have to, however he valued giving and sharing his time with others. That always made a huge impression on me.

Consistently Work Hard – This is different than allowing your work to define who you are. Ask yourself an important question; do I work to live…or live to work?  This is a very important question to confront. Work hard. Give 100%. Be your best. At the end of the day do not let your work define who you are – but rather what you do.

People always watch the leader. What kind of leader do they see in you? People watch the same behaviors repeated over and over and over again whether positive or negative.

Do the right things, in the right way, consistently year after year – and as a result, a good name will continually grow every step along the way.

s2s,

Kevin

What do people see consistently in your life? 

Comments? 

BE THE LEADER – “GRAB AND DRAG”

Over the past few weekends, I have watched several college baseball teams lose to teams they were suppose to beat, and win against teams they were suppose to lose to. Thankfully the game of baseball is not played on paper.

Recently, I read a quote from U of Florida basketball coach, Billy Donovan. He said, “Sometimes, to coach this team, I feel like I have to grab them all by the back of their shirts and drag them up a hill.” As a leader, perhaps you can relate to Coach Donovan’s sentiments.

Regardless if you are a baseball coach or scout, no matter how successful you are, it is important to recognize that there will be hard and difficult days in your life as a leader. When things don’t go as planned, the following reminders should help….

Stay Hungry:  Reading Donovan’s quote, you would think Florida was the bad team going into the game. The reason they have an elite program is that they have a coach who refuses to tolerate mediocrity. Desire is contagious! As I’ve said many times before, “A lot more is caught than taught.” You are the leader – stay hungry!

Stay Positive:  The emotional morale of your team is always a reflection of the leader. If the leader goes south emotionally, so will their players or staff. Negativity is contagious. Above all else, stay positive. Keep casting vision!

Stay Engaged:  It is a lot easier to give up when things are hard. Don’t! Remember what brought you success in the first place and keep doing the right things. The right things, done the right way, will always lead to the right success. Soon you will be back on top!

Lead: There is a reason you are the leader. Leadership is hard. It is not easy. However, If you cave under the pressure of difficult or challenging circumstances, so will the rest of the team. Keep dragging, clawing, climbing, scraping, and believing. There is nothing better than staying the course and helping your team reach the summit. Lead with purpose!

The next time your team or organization hits a rough patch, grab them by the back of their shirts and “keep dragging.” 

Have a great week and keep leading!

s2s,

Kevin

What other reminders need to be added to the list? 

Comments?