Monthly Archives: October 2015


One of the most underrated best practices you can pursue if you are attempting to develop leadership is to remember to Build the Bench. Tomorrow, the 2015 World Series begins, which features two teams that have made this a priority. The Mets and Royals are mindful of this; recognizing at any moment, at every position, someone needs to be ready to move from the role of backup to starter. Whether through slumps, releases, or injury, a “next-man-up” mentality is vital for an organizations success. Leadership should be no different.

I experienced this just the other day when I was speaking with a prominent D-1 college head baseball coach, as he shared with me about how he meets with handful of team leaders on a regular basis. If an organization intends to grow, a key focus of the leadership team must be to Build the Bench. Strong leaders do not have a scarcity mindset, fearing for their jobs if they help their direct reports grow. Actually, the opposite is true. Anytime you find leaders who can replace themselves, they are the last people you want to leave.

Like successful coaches and scouts, high performance organizational leaders not only recruit great talent, they also enhance it. By identifying a clear picture of what they are trying to develop, they are able to create a clear path and close skill gaps that block the way.

Organizations who focus on building the bench are also locked in on finding emerging leaders. They keep a close eye on looking to fill a spot with a talented backup. These teams have development plans for those on the rise, and they systematically challenge everyone in the organization to grow to the next level – not just a select few.

If you truly want to create a leadership culture on your team or in your organization, don’t forget to build your bench. Just ask the Mets and Royals. Because at some point you will need it, especially  if  you  expect  to  achieve  championship  results.



What are doing to develop your leadership bench?

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Earlier this week while on the road scouting in South Carolina, I came to a fork in the road. I didn’t have my GPS turned on and wasn’t sure which road to take. Fortunately for me, I chose the right road and it led me to my intended destination.

On the contrary, the longer you stay on the wrong road, the further you will find yourself from your intended destination.

I recently read a quote by Robert Frost, he penned the following words at the end of his poem, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” 

The road always makes the difference in life. Are you on the right road? A road that leads to your dreams and aspirations? Or are you consistently making poor choices and decisions leading you to heartache and regrets?

Head down “Easy Street”, and you can be certain, things will eventually become hard. “Shortcut Avenue” equals failure to reach your full potential. Take the “Long Way Around”, and you end up running in circles.

Why? Because the road always makes the difference.

If today finds you headed in the wrong direction, perhaps it is time for a u-turn. Turn around before it’s too late. While the masses take the path of least resistance, I encourage you to stay on the narrow path, the right path that will lead to contentment and success.

Remember, your direction will always determine your destination … because the road always makes the difference.



Why do you think so many leaders choose the path of least resistance?

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Being a leader means you have followers. Having followers means you have some level of power or authority. Having power or authority means you have a responsibility to be responsible. Coaches, scouts, parents, ministers, teachers, police officers, firefighters, community leaders and politicians have a higher standard to live up to because of their ability to influence. And the larger your circle of influence, the larger your level of responsibility.

Great leaders don’t abuse their power. They know that if it weren’t for followers, they wouldn’t be a leader. They don’t focus on themselves, but on what they can do to enable, grow and encourage their followers. It is a subtle difference in mindset, but makes a huge difference in how they operate.

In defense of leaders who have trouble remembering why they are leaders, if you’re not careful, leadership can make you prideful. It has a tendency to make you self-centered. It is easy to feel a sense of personal accomplishment when your team’s efforts result in something positive. It is easy to confuse success with the promotion of yourself. The line between confidence and pride is a thin one.

Yet great leaders resist the temptation to take credit for their team’s efforts. They base their confidence on their own God-given talents, self-discipline, integrity, and competence. They don’t need to take confidence away from others to prove themselves. They are secure. Their effort speaks for itself. In fact, great leaders are humble. They have a mind-set to serve and not be served. They have no need for self-promotion. They focus on their employees or team members not themselves.

Be very careful with pride. It can bury itself in your subconscious and sabotage you before you know it. It will permeate your thoughts, words, and actions. Without intending, you will come across as arrogant, conceited, and selfish. These are not qualities that endear people to you. Consider the following three principles to maintain your humility…

Seek Feedback: Prioritize an accountability partner. Ask those that know you well for their candid and constructive feedback. Don’t buck up if it’s not what you want to hear. Ask if your style, tone, or content has any arrogance to it. Be accessible and maintain an open-door policy where people can share their thoughts with you without fear of reprisal.

Test Your Motives: Consider why you do what you do. Do you lead or mentor others for your personal enjoyment or to genuinely help others? When in meetings, are you willing to let others do most of the talking? Do you give your children or team members a chance to explain themselves or do you have a bully mentality, being quick to apply a heavy hand of discipline because you can. Bring into your consciousness your true, authentic motives.

Know Your Responsibility: Realize your responsibility as a leader is simply to lead people, not to exercise your power over them. Your value is often invisible. It is what your staff or team members do that validates your leadership, not what you do yourself. Focus on helping and serving others. It will come back to you like the repayment of a loan, with interest! It’s the law of the harvest…You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.

Pride comes before a fall. Follow these three suggestions to keep your pride in check and your leadership in top shape. It’s important to leverage your influence – but only in a way that benefits others, not yourself.

Have a great week!



Is your leadership marked by humility? What are some of the ways you see pride seeping into your interaction with others?



Leaders are winners. By nature, they love to compete. Unfortunately, for baseball coaches and scouts “Winning at Work” often gets in the way of what is most important…Winning at home.

As you lean into this week, let me remind you that the only person who can fill your role in your family is YOU!

At times, I suspect many of you need to refocus on what matters most and lock in on some intentional family connections over the next couple of days. Whatever you do, don’t neglect it.

This week will soon be gone. There are no do-overs. But the next couple of days are right in front of you.

Will you have more weeks in the future? Perhaps, but there are no guarantees. However I can assure you that you only have one shot at this week. Make the most of it.

A famous United States General once said, “Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it, spend time with your families.”

I hope you have an amazing week, and most of all, I hope you are not only focused with winning on the field of competition – but winning at home.



What are your thoughts on the importance of “winning at home?”