Monthly Archives: May 2016

“TIGHTEN THE TEAM”

Last week, I covered the 2016 ACC Baseball Tournament in Durham, NC. There were many solid teams in the field and some equally good MLB draft prospects.

As I observed, one thought kept ringing in my head that every head coach and assistant coach were probably pondering. How can we “Tighten The Team” in this tournament to get the best out of our players?

Not long ago I read where Associate Supreme Court justice, Stephen Breyer, says one of the principles the court always embraces is, “No one speaks twice until everyone speaks once.” 

Do you have such a mindset on your team? We have all been around leaders who come in and lay out their agenda. “This is the way it’s going to be, case closed, no other word matters in the room…meeting adjourned.” There is nothing more degrading to the people or players in the trenches.

If you want to “Tighten The Team” and take your leadership to another level, the next time you gather with your team, implement a new rule. “No one speaks twice until everyone speaks once.”  On a personal note, I’m thankful that I don’t have to work in that kind of environment or under those conditions.

Try it, you just might be amazed at the outcome.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What other strategies do you implement to “Tighten The Team?”

Comments? 

 

ARE YOU “DRAFTING” THE RIGHT TEAM PLAYER?

The 2016 Major League Baseball first year player draft is nearly 2-weeks away. On June 9th, all the hard work by scouting directors, crosscheckers, area scouts and front office scouting personnel will be on center stage. The hard work will be done. Game evaluations, showcases, pre-draft workouts, medical reviews, player interviews and draft meetings will be complete. Prospects and their family members will wait in anticipation to hear their name called.

The Philadelphia Phillies select #1 overall. They have very competent scouts and front office baseball personnel. They know the type of player they are looking for that fits their organizational philosophy. On Thursday June 9th, they will make their best informed decision based on the information they have gathered over the past 12-months. The same is true for the other 29 baseball organizations as well.

How clear are you on what you’re looking for in your next hire? Selecting people (or baseball players) is difficult at best. Often we get it wrong. However, knowing exactly what you’re looking for helps; not what others are looking for, but what you are looking for. Regardless of the profession, the following three characteristics are vital to look for with every new hire you bring on to your team or in your organization.

Character: This is first on the list for a reason. It’s the most important – not that other factors aren’t, but forming, reforming and transforming character is extremely hard. Character is simply who you are. Do Major League Baseball scouts look at character? You bet they do…if they don’t, they better start. Any leader in the market place should as well. Are you clear on the character traits you’re looking for? How will you discern those traits? This is a big deal. If you miss on this one, you will have major problems later.

Competence: Character is critical, however it’s NOT a substitute for the ability to get the job done. Have you clearly identified the skill set of your new hire? How can you be sure they possess what you’re looking for? My friend who works for a large Fortune 500 company in their HR dept taught me that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. In baseball, scouts look carefully at past performance history – it gives them measurable’s as they confidently work through the process of selecting the right player. Analytic’s and old fashion baseball scouting are married together to make the best informed decision on drafting the right player. In the market place, If the candidate hasn’t previously demonstrated what you need them to do for your company, it’s not a deal killer, but you would be wise to proceed with caution. Competence is key!

Chemistry: This may be the easiest for many leaders to discern. Do you feel this person will fit into the culture of your team or organization? Will the people in your organization connect with this new person? On many Major League Baseball scouting reports there is a category called “makeup.”  In my opinion, it is one of the most important categories on a report. Professional and collegiate sports teams are full of examples of players who get traded, suspended, released or dismissed because they don’t “fit in the program.”  This screams chemistry!  Always remember, talent wins games – but chemistry wins championships. Chemistry matters!

Peter Drucker said; “The most important decision a leader makes is who does what.”  Who will be your next “draft” pick?  I don’t know that answer for you; however in just over 2-weeks all 30 Major League Baseball teams we will find out.

I trust that Character, Competence and Chemistry will help you make the best informed decision for your team and organization. Happy hunting!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What do you look for when selecting people for your team and organization?

Comments? 

ATTITUDE – CHARACTER – ENTHUSIASM

Any Major League Baseball executive, manager, coach or scout will tell you that the success of their team is directly tied to having an “ACE” on your pitching staff. If you don’t have an ace, there is a good chance it’s going to be a long year.

Same can be said about a hotel employee. Yes, a hotel employee! Last week while traveling, I stayed at the Greensboro Marriott in NC. With many renovations taking place the hotel is in a “visual transition.” Translation = A Mess!

However one thing I quickly noticed was the friendly and hospitable attitudes of the staff and employees. Front desk associates, engineering, managers, housekeeping attendants, waiters, waitresses and concierge attendants. They all were “seeing” the same thing and “saying” the same thing. They clearly know their hotels mission statement, which is a direct result of the hotel management and leadership team.

One particular employee that went above and beyond was Ruby. You see, Ruby is the morning concierge attendant and has been on staff for 17 years. While at breakfast, I sat back and observed how Ruby made each guest feel like they were the most important. She is passionate about what she does. She takes ownership, as if she owned hotel herself. Her attention to detail was impressive to say the least. She knows the guests by name; greeting them, holding doors open for them, picking up after them and serving them with an infectious smile and attitude.

ruby pic

In my book, Ruby is an “ACE”  She clearly understands that “people” are more important than “process.”

An “ACE” on the baseball field or in a hotel concierge lounge is defined by the following….

Attitude – Someone who is positive regardless of the circumstances around them.

Character – Someone who has high integrity and who is trustworthy.

Enthusiasm – Someone who brings great energy and passion into their day.

Be an A-C-E this week. Focus on your attitude, character and enthusiasm and watch the impact you will have on your team, organization and those around you.

Well done, Ruby! Hotel corporations need more “ACES” like you.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What do you look for in your team members?

Comments?

3 ACTION STEPS TO BECOMING A POSITIVE LEADER

The world is filled with busyness and stress. Often times leaders can act like hard charging train conductors that have a vision and goal within their sights and they’ll run over anyone – even their own team of people they lead – to reach their destination. I know this well because very early in my scouting career I was that kind of leader and had to work diligent to change my approach. Like I often say, the goal here is progress, never perfection. 

I realized that any hard charging leader can create success in the short term, but it will take a positive leader with a people and process driven approach to build a successful organization for the long term.

As John Maxwell once said, “If you are all alone at the top, you are not a leader. You are a hiker.”

One thing i have learned over the years. No one creates success alone. To win, you must win with people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Here are 3 essential action steps to do this…

Care:  Care about them! The main two questions every employee in every organization is asking is, “Do you care about me? Can I trust you?” Employees want to know if you care about them. If you do, they will be more likely to stay in the boat and keep rowing with you. Employees are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when they know their manager or leader truly cares about them. Like the old saying – “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Develop:  Develop a relationship with them! Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many managers and leaders share rules with their people, but they don’t have any relationship with them. So what happens? The people rebel, and they disengage from their jobs and the mission of the team. To develop a relationship with your players or the team of people you lead – you need to build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them and mentor them.

Appreciate:  Appreciate them! The #1 reason why people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. There is no relationship with their leader so they feel they are not appreciated. Take time out to write a “thank you” note or card and have have your assistant (if you have one) send them out to each of your team members. It’s a simple truth: When you care about those you lead, they are more likely to stay focused and work harder, with more loyalty and greater positive attitude. Like a good friend of mine says all the time – A lot more is caught than taught!

Remember, leadership is not just about what you do, but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do. Don’t run over the people on your team / organization, rather invite them to join you and engage them to help you create an amazing and successful ride.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Do you have a positive leadership action step you would add to the suggestions above? 

Comments? 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PUNCTUALITY AND TIME MANAGEMENT

Being On Time Matters!

Don’t believe me? Just ask the many who have been terminated because of their lack of discipline to be on time. Sadly, I see this in the younger generation more and more.

When I played baseball professionally, it was team policy from the manager that for every minute you were late on the field it was $100, no questions asked. Dressed and on the field at 4:00pm meant 4:00pm – NOT 4:01pm. Trust me, that concept taught you time management, and the importance of being on time and punctuality very quickly!

In short: people who are habitually late (or are late even once, when it counts) project incompetence, self-centeredness, and even a lack of integrity.

First, it’s important to see being on time as part of your whole attitude towards time. You’re never going to be on time if you haven’t put into practice a set of good time management action steps.

That means, for example, having a central place where your time commitments are recorded, whether that’s an online Calendar, Outlook, Smartphone, Day-planner or just an index card with your schedule on it.  To be on time you have to know where you have to be and when, but it’s a step a lot of people try to skip – they want to hold everything in their heads. Bad idea!

Secondly, being on time requires a bit of an attitude adjustment. A lot of the time we let ourselves show up late because the event we’re showing up to isn’t all that important to us. Try this: don’t schedule events that aren’t that important to you. Use that time for things that are important to you. I know, there are a lot of things in your life that may feel obligatory, Either make those things important to you, or figure out how to cut them from your calendar.

Below are a few action steps you can take to manage your time better and be more disciplined with you time.

Don’t check your email or voicemail right before you leave – That “last quick check” will almost always take more time than you think – which is, after all, what you’re hoping for. If you thought there’d be nothing important in your email, you wouldn’t bother checking. Avoid doing this. It will get you every time.

Plan for trouble –  Always add 25% to your time estimate to get anywhere or do any task. If you think it takes 30 minutes to get to work, give yourself 40. If you need 12 working hours to finish a project, give yourself 15. The worst thing that could happen is that you get a nice “atta boy” – where you’re always ahead of schedule and everyone thinks you’re a miracle worker. Plan for trouble!

Set up the night before – If you are not a morning person, you will have a hard time getting going in the morning, so make sure you get organized the night before. Lay out your clothes, put your keys, wallet, etc. in tomorrow’s pants pockets or your bag, load up your bag with whatever material you’ll need in the morning, put your lunch together, and so on. In the morning, wake up, shower, get dressed, grab your stuff, and go.

Set you alarm clock – This is elementary, however many people who don’t value being on time won’t practice this simple life discipline. Meetings and conference calls have been missed and jobs lost because of this simple, yet profound discipline. Set your alarm clock 5-10 minutes before your intended time to get out of bed and don’t hit the snooze button. Get up and get going. Your day and job depend on it.

Fill your gas tank when it reaches 1/4 tank – I made this a priority last week. I knew I had to leave my home early to get to a baseball game I was scouting. So on the way home the night before I stopped to fill up my gas tank so I would not have to stop in the early morning when I left my home. Don’t let an empty gas tank make you late for anything. That is a poor excuse. Fill up whenever you reach 1/4 and you’ll never have to make an emergency stop at a gas station during your commute. (Plus, I’m told it’s better for your engine – whether that’s true or not, I have no idea.)

Arrive early – My dad was famous for saying; “I’d rather be late at the golden gate than to arrive at hell on time.” I encourage young baseball scouts just starting out to be at the ballpark 2 hours early. You can get set up, prepared, gather information and get organized. Same is true in any line of work. Arrive early. Get organized and prepared to start your day. Don’t be the employee that shows up at 7:55am when your work day requires you to be there at 8:00am. Be there 15-20 minutes early. It will help you and will be noticed by those you are accountable too.

Be punctual and be on time. Time management is a vital part of your life and career. Tell your time where to go – or someone else will. Remember, If you fail to plan – then plan to fail.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Are there any other action steps you practice to manage your time more efficiently and effectively? 

Comments?