Monthly Archives: August 2015

ARE YOU BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT GROWING YOUR LEADERSHIP?

While reading this week, I read a statement that said; Growing teams are always led by growing leaders. If you are a leader in baseball at any level, you already know this could not be more true.

As you think about your team and organization, do you hope to grow your life of leadership and influence more in the weeks, months and years to come? If so, let me remind you, hope is not a strategy. A growing leader is.

So, let me say it again…Growing Teams Are Always Led By Growing Leaders. 

Since everything rises and falls on leadership; below are five ways you can intentionally grow your leadership…

Set A Growth Goal: It helps to have a target – an intended destination. Once I know my target, all I need is to aim and fire, armed with a few proven disciplines. Remember, your direction always determines your destination, and your disciplines will launch you in the right direction.

Read: Discipline #1 is to establish the habit of reading. Leaders are readers. If I could choose only one habit to pursue growth it would be to develop a love for books. I use to despise reading, however over time and maturity that changed. I often meet people who say they hate to read. Rarely are they living up to their potential…often unimpressive. Reading requires focus, discipline, and commitment. However the payoff is huge. Books expose us to ideas, and stretch our thinking. If you want to jump start your leadership growth, spend at least 30 minutes a day reading.

Think: The best leaders influence the thoughts of the cultures they lead. In fact, they create those cultures. This is done either accidentally, with little thought, or strategically, with careful intentional focused thought. The question is, what kind of culture do you want to create? How much time do you give to thinking about a preferred future and mapping out a plan to communicate your vision. Carve out margin in your schedule to get away and just think.

Write: Growing leaders capture their thinking through writing. If you never write, you are limiting your opportunity for influence, as well as your growth. However again, it takes discipline. I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to make myself write this blog every week. Rarely does it come easily. Yet by the end of each week I start typing out my thoughts. Whether anyone reads my thoughts or not is not the main focus, but the process of writing is helping me to grow. It will for you too.

Dream: One of the definitions of the verb dream is to, “Contemplate the possibility of doing something.” I love the idea of actually doing something with my life. To make a difference. To impact others. Many people dream of doing nothing. What a waste. If you want to grow your team, department, organization or business, the best place to start might be with a dream to do something. Something meaningful. Something impactful. Something that will inspire you and call out your best. If you commit strategic time to dreaming it will ensure you’ll increase your capacity to get things done. If you’re going to dream – then dream big!

Set a goal, read, think, write, and dream. Five personal disciplines that will pave the path to your leadership growth. Because everything rises and falls on leadership.

Have a great week!

s2s

Kevin

What is the best book you have read in the past three months?

Comments?

Seven Action Steps To Becoming Your Teams MVP

Season after season all major league sports teams celebrate their best players; League MVP, POY, Comeback POY, Cy Young, Iron Man, etc…You get the picture.

In baseball, most organizations honor a scout in their organization with the Scout of the Year award. In the business world, corporations often times establish different awards for individuals, Often times the winners receive public recognition, pendants, banners, trophies, prizes, plaques, and even rings.

Without the contributions of valuable team members, teams and companies would make measurably less progress in achieving their mission. Instead, they achieve more as a direct result of their efforts.

Let’s be clear about one thing up front: It’s not about being a hot-shot and it’s not about you. We’ve all been around athletes, coaches, scouts and business executives with tons of talent who were a liability to the team, department or staff. As John Maxwell say’s; “Talent is never enough.” 

Below are seven action steps for becoming the most valuable player on your team, staff, or organization – even if you don’t think you’re the most talented member:

Play Till The End Of The Game:  Don’t walk off the field in the game. Even if you’re behind – especially if you’re behind – you can make a winning contribution. But you’ll never do it if you quit early. Don’y quit. Lead with character and keep your hand to the plow until the final whistle blows.

Practice Good Communication:  For me that all comes down to clarity, responsiveness, and frequency. Be clear, don’t bottleneck information, and keep everyone who needs to know in the know as often as they need to know it. If you’re the leader, you cannot place blame on those you are leading if you have not clearly communicated the vision and mission of the organization. Good, clear communication is vital for success.

Work Hard: More accurately, work harder than you think you need to. Doing the minimum will win no points with people who are putting in extra effort. If you have more to give, do it. Just do your job. Some of the best advise I received early in my career was to always work for your leader or supervisor as if you don’t know them. That way, you will guard against taking advantage of friendships or relationships.

Share Your Best: If you want to serve your team members (and you should), don’t hold back. Creativity, talent, learning, insight – they can make all the difference in the final outcome, so share your best ideas to help others. Don’t bury it or keep it a secret. Remember, there is nothing new under the sun.

Own Your Mistake: Responsibility is the mark of a strong team player and leader. If there’s a problem and it’s yours, own it. Don’t play the blame game. Don’t pass the buck. Don’t play the victim. Accountability free’s people to work on the problem, not fester about the one who created it. Own it and move on. You will earn a lot of respect with those you are working with or leading.

Affirm Others: Team spirit is critical for victory, and everyone on the team is responsible to improve the mood, if possible. Don’t just look for the negative. Catch others doing good work and call them out. Affirm them. Congratulate them. Thank them. You will get a lot more with sugar than you will with vinegar.

Be Positive: By its very nature, cynicism kills teamwork. Unlike constructive criticism, it’s defensive and self-indulgent. It’s designed to protect the cynic at the expense of everyone else. A positive attitude about problems is the best way to help the team get past them. A leader leads. They point the right direction to go. They serve. They help. They encourage. They challenge. Be positive!

To achieve it’s goals a team needs members who give their all, give their best, and play to win. However you as the leader need to help foster and develop that environment. Every team has leaders – however every team does not have the right kind of leaders. 

Michael Jordan said “talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” You may not have any control over the level of your talent, but you have a lot of control over your character and conduct and how you will chose to interact with your team.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What is the best team experience you’ve had so far in your life?

Comments?

Balancing Work And Family – After Quitting Time

Did I miss a memo?  Somewhere over the past decade or so the rules have changed and no one wants to work for anything anymore. Especially a great family.

As a kid, quitting time (pronounced quittin) meant the day was done and my dad was on his way home from work. Everyday between 5:00-5:30 pm he would call from his office or a pay phone and tell my mom he was on his way.

My mom would let me know he was on his way home. It was my cue to start warming up in the bullpen in order to be ready for a game of catch when dad pulled in the driveway. I couldn’t wait. My dad never failed to keep his word. His word was his bond. He was not only my dad, but my mentor and the leader of our home.

My favorite sound of the day was hearing his car coming down our street. After the hugs, and asking how my day went, fastballs were flying until mom’s voice would shut us down, calling us in for supper.

Sadly, times are different now. Families are scattered, fathers are less present or nowhere to be found, kids are to busy texting on their phones, playing video games, hanging out with friends, girlfriends, locked in on their social media, computers or tablets – and there are fewer games of catch taking place.

Looking back, perhaps the hardest work my dad did everyday was done after quittin time. He made it a priority. Putting on the glove and loosening up his arm required full engagement from a man who deserved to go inside and find an easy chair to kick back and relax after a long day at work.

Somehow he had the wisdom and foresight to know it would matter someday….and it did!

Many people say they want to run a marathon, but what they really want is to have a medal and a T-shirt. Families are no different. Everybody wants one, but few are willing to do the work required to have one…and it is work!

For parents and children alike the word “love” is spelled T.I.M.E. And my dad gave me plenty of it. You have to BE a leader before you can BUILD more leaders…and it first starts at home.

So if today finds you wondering where to invest your best energy, you might consider doing so after quittin time. Believe me, it will matter someday. Your family will appreciate it. I know I did. Thanks, Dad!

s2s,

Kevin

What was the best thing you did after “quittin time” this past week?

Comments?

Does Your Leadership Need An Update?

Last week was update week. My iphone and ipad-air needed to update.

Truthfully, part of the day felt like a waste as I watched a spinning rainbow for most of the morning. Somehow I survived and it ended an hour or so later.

The upgrades reminded me that those who reach their full potential make time to continually improve their work capacity. As you look at your leadership operating systems, are you due for an upgrade? If so, consider the following:

Updates Require Downtime – Don’t expect to go forward until you are willing to unplug and stop your normal routine. As a leader, when was the last time you took a day to assess your systems and work habits? If it’s been a while, I encourage you to schedule a getaway to reevaluate. Refresh, take a few days and power down. You need it and those you’re leading need it more. You cannot effectively cast new fresh vision to your team or in your department if you don’t take time to be refreshed and re-energized.

Updates Lead To Change – When the rainbow finally stopped spinning, things looked a bit different. I was comfortable with the old look. For leaders, it always feels easier  and comfortable to keep things the same. Great leaders resist that temptation. They refuse to coast. The best seek out better ways to do things, re-adjust things, tweak things and make continual progress. What is one thing you need to change in the coming week? Weeks lead to months, and months lead to years. 

Updates Necessitate A Restart –  With all the resent team, staff and departmental leadership changes in college baseball and professional baseball; are there area’s of your leadership where you need do something new? Restarts demand courage because change is never easy. If you are satisfied with where you are then play it safe. If not, push the power button and start over with a renewed sense of passion.

Always remember; If a leader doesn’t convey passion and excitement then there will be no passion and excitement within the team and organization – and those you are leading will become stagnant, bored, unexcited and up-productive. A team will mirror it’s leader so model the vision you are casting. Move with the movers. Update your life of leadership so vision doesn’t leak and the mission can be accomplished.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Why do you think it’s a challenge for leaders to update their systems, strategies, habits and behaviors?

Comments…

ARE YOU LEADING SELF-FIRST?

After a long summer break from writing a weekly blog, it’s good to be back. I hope you’ve had a great summer with your family and friends. For baseball players, coaches and scouts, summer baseball is over and the fall baseball season is just around the corner and ready to begin. Whether you are leading a team of players, coaches or scouts, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…“The hardest person you will ever lead, is you.” 

This idea is not new; but neither is it easy. In fact, mastery of self is the tallest mountain you will ever climb. Thomas Kempis wrote: “A good, devout person first arranges inwardly the things to be done outwardly … Who has a fiercer struggle than the person who strives to master himself? And this must be our occupation: to strive to master ourselves and daily to grow stronger and advance for good.” 

Did you catch those words? “And this (self-leadership) must be our occupation.”  Regardless of what you do in life; your real occupation is to master yourself. And it truly is a job! I don’t know about you, however I am constantly trying to lead myself first before leading others. Some days I’m the windshield…other days I’m the bug. I’m sure you can relate.

If you are starting a new job, or leading a team of players, scouts or coaches, below are 3 practices you can do to work on self-leadership today. They are proven and they work. However always remember, the goal here is progress not perfection

Be Intentional – Expecting to end up somewhere you are not intending to go is futile. If you aim for nothing you will hit it every time. The only way to arrive at a destination is to start the trip. If today finds you struggling with self-leadership, start where you are and take a step in the right direction. One step – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Remember, your direction will always determine your destination. Whatever you do…be intentional!

Be Disciplined – Personal discipline separates the average from those who want to be great. World Cup soccer champion, Carli Lloyd said; “I have been working relentlessly for 12 years to become the most dominate player in the world and it’s happened.”  The D word never feels easy on the front side. Discipline, however, will always lead to growth, satisfaction and success, whereas, a lack of it leads to lazy regret. Make yourself “do what’s right” if you want to feel good about your results.

Be Consistent – Athletes, coaches and scouts look for consistency in performance. Being consistent is key to personal and team success. How do you cover the distance over a long grinding season? One game at a time. Intentional focus, over time, can be trans-formative. If you want to achieve something great, simply do the right things today. Today is all you have, so live in today. Taking one day at a time, developing the right habits over time, and acting on them consistently will lead to greater mastery over self.

Not much has changed. Self-leadership is still a challenge. The same will be true going forward. If you will make it your job to intentionally discipline yourself in a consistent way, you can win the battle and position yourself for greater impact and success.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

In your opinion, are there any additional suggestions you would add to the list above that allows you to effectively lead self-first? 

Comments?