Monthly Archives: August 2016


I often wonder how many locker rooms in the world have a sign hanging on the wall that reads; “There is no “I” in Team”? My guess is that there are many. I have seen many college, high school and travel team team t-shirts with that statement printed on the back. I would imagine even a handful of scouting manuals might have that statement printed in them.

I can’t repeat this enough to every baseball coach or scout – Never confuse what you do with who you are. You will never lose emphasizing character over results. Be successful not just in what you do, but in who you are. Impact your team by serving them, not yourself. 

The idea of a team being unified is a longstanding tradition. Every head coach, scouting director, player or front office personnel knows that a team divided is a team that will have a difficult time winning or producing. The “No “I” In Team” idea is a way of rallying the troops to work together and to care for each other. Teamwork is the beauty of a sport, where you have the entire team acting as one. You become selfless instead of selfish!

A team in which every player, coach or scout genuinely cares for the other is a rare find! Because people by nature care only about themselves and what benefits them. However caring for your teammate or co-worker occurs most when a group of people see themselves as a servant to one another. This type of team is possible when others care more about the success of the team than they do about individual accomplishments. Every head coach, manager, scouting director or departmental leader dreams of having such a team.

Building a team of servants begins by building a team that makes an impact. People who see their role on the team as being a servant to the team – rather than the team serving them.

Below are 4 action steps on how you can model being a better servant on your team or in your scouting department…

Caring Commitment: Scouts or coaches who make an impact are ones who are willing to make a commitment to use their influence to connect with others for caring. They genuinely and authentically care for each other. Not to make themselves look better – but to care for the needs of others on the team. Remember; Leadership IS Influence. Don’t wait around for someone else to do the caring. Take the initiative and be committed to to caring for each other!

Speak words of encouragement: Scouts or coaches who make an impact take their role as an encourager seriously. They understand the power of words, and they use their words to build up rather than tear people down. Your words have power, to build up or tear down. I’m not naive, I know there are people we work with or teammates on the team who are what I call, “EGR” people (Extra Grace Required). However, try to do your best to encourage everyone – even “EGR” people. Write a note, text, call, email or just a pat of the back and voice your appreciation for what they mean to the team or a job well done. Be an encourager!

Look for ways to help each other: Scouts and coaches who make an impact look for ways to serve and help their teammates or co-workers who are in need. If you see a need – fill the need. Be pro-active and do it. Needs come in all shapes and sizes. People have physical needs, emotional needs and spiritual needs. Have a heart that seeks to help others not hinder them!

Develop a heart of compassion: Scouts and coaches often times don’t think of competition and compassion going together. However, you can be a very hearty competitor and still have a heart for people in pain or who are hurting – especially people on your own team! Remember, a heart of compassion leads to words of encouragement, which in turn will lead to acts of kindness. They all work together.

In the weeks and months ahead, I challenge you to be a scout or coach who genuinely cares for others on your team, encourages others on your team, helps others on your team and shows compassion to others on your team. By doing so, you will be a scout or coach that makes an impact!

Have a great week!



Are there any other values you use that could be included?



“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.” – John Wooden

Coach Wooden is one of my favorites, and he hit the nail on the head with this quote. We not only make decisions, but our life is often times shaped by them. Every one of us is where we are today as a result of a decision or decisions we made yesterday.

Decisions powerfully shape our lives, and the effects of a major decision can have lasting consequences for years or even a lifetime.

Even today, I remind my adult children almost daily; “The choices you make today will impact your life tomorrow, please choose wisely.” 

Of course, not all decisions are equal. A few major decisions, particularly those about our personal values, give direction to all of the other choices we make. Our values will generally drive our decision-making and choices. In fact, once you know a person well, you can usually figure out which choices they’re going to make based on what their values are in life.

Every leader faces a specific decision in which they must exercise judgment in making the right call. However, some decisions transcend our individual situations and are worth making regardless of our particular circumstances. They establish values that will inform a host of future choices that we will make.

Below are 3 key decisions with lasting value…

  • Personal Growth: Decide to Grow Every Day by (Developing) Your Strengths!

Being “intentional” (The key word being “intentional”) about personal growth is a great habit to have. Focus on your strengths not your weakness. However, taking the time to read, study, practice, and gather advice only brings minuscule gains if it happens by you “winging it.” We always get the greatest return by focusing our effort to grow on those areas where our natural ability (what we do well) intersects with our natural passion (what we love to do).

  • Partnership: Add Value to Others (Before) Expecting Value from Others!

I read recently that researchers at the Univ of London believe it takes 66-days to create a habit.  When you make a habit of helping others reach their goals, then they will eventually help you attain your own. Young leaders (including coaches and scouts in baseball) eagerly scout out the road to success, searching for the quickest way to climb the ladder to the top. More seasoned leaders generally spend their energy building ladders instead of scaling them. Instead of wondering, “how can I excel?” they ask: “how can I help others to win?” On life’s journey, you’ll always go faster alone, but you will inevitably go farther in partnership with others.

  • Leadership: Add Value to Leaders Who Will (Multiply) Your Value Through Others!

As non-democratic as it sounds, the best leaders invest their time unequally, favoring those with greater leadership aptitude. Investing your energies into non-leaders is like pumping water into a dam; it pools up and is prevented from going anywhere else. However, pouring yourself into leaders is like channeling water into a river; what you add is carried onward and can provide nourishment several miles downstream. Identify a handful with leadership potential and then pour yourself and your life into those few. It’s not about quantity but quality.

This week. I encourage you to carve out margin in your schedule to ponder a few of the questions below…

What are my natural strengths and how am I growing them?
Who am I serving and how am I helping them to succeed?
Who am I investing in and equipping?

Have a great week!



Are there any additional keys you would add to the list above?




I hope you’ve had a productive summer whether you are a baseball coach on the field or a scout off the field and are now able to re-charge your batteries a bit leading in to the fall. Over the past several weeks I have observed those who are in positions of leadership and influence on and off the field of competition. It has been both positive and negative at times.

Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before – which I know you have…


The more I speak with leaders of all types, the more I’m reminded the truth of this statement. No matter who you are, no matter what team you lead or organization you work for, if you have influence with people, you can lead them. You don’t have to be the leader – just a leader.


In fact, I privately get asked that question often from coaches and scouts through email, text or just in conversation over the phone or in person. Today, I want to share with you a very key component to influence. It’s not hard to understand, and once you’ve got it, you’ll be able to gain influence almost anywhere you go.

First however, an important foundational principle: You can’t build influence without other people. From the little league field to the major league field, From the principals office to scouting departments, there is no leadership without others, because influence comes from other people. It’s something they give in response to who they perceive you to be. As the leader, the moment people perceive you differently is the moment that influence is withdrawn,


So when it comes to the question of gaining influence, I look at it this way: Every leader either borrows influence or earns it. When people give you permission to lead in their lives because of your actions, you’ve earned influence. When people give you permission to lead in their lives because of your words, you’ve borrowed influence.

Now, both types of influence can be used to achieve great things. In fact, in most cases leaders borrow influence before they earn it. But a great leader understands that people will only trust their words for a limited time. Once they realize the leader’s actions do not match their words, they’ll withdraw borrowed influence.

So, while people can make an entire career off borrowed influence, they will have to continually churn through followers in order to do it. They may have a handful of supporters who keep them going, but they always need a new crop of people – who aren’t yet familiar with their track record – to borrow influence from.

And even worse, borrowed influence can’t be shared. It’s like being given store credit – you can’t shop at Walmart with a Dillard’s gift card. With borrowed influence, the permission followers give the leader isn’t strong enough to extend to anyone else on the team. Unless the leader’s words are backed by actions – and results – their influence has limits.

Earned influence, on the other hand, is like money in your pocket. It’s based on something tangible, so the leader can freely share and use it to lift others to positions of influence – it’s like re-investing money for a return. Every time a leader takes his or her team to victory in whatever capacity it is, that shared experience earns the leader influence for the next challenge or opportunity.

It also earns the leader new team members. Everyone wants to work with someone who delivers the goods that can be trusted. Leaders who have a track record of success. Their character and integrity will attract the best talent when openings arise.

If you want to know who’s earning influence and who’s borrowing it, keep a close eye on how many people are leaving. The higher the turnover in an organization, the more likely that leaders are borrowing influence instead of earning it. It is a fact, that leaders who earn influence keep their best people, as well as attract new ones to their team.


When leaders settle for borrowing influence instead of earning it, they fail to meet their total capacity in leadership. Because we live in a culture, (which includes baseball) that is starved for authentic leadership, many people will give influence to someone who sounds or looks good for a time.

Once they have been burned, however, it takes a genuine leader who can do something positive and meaningful to get people to give influence away again. That bears repeating: Once someone’s been burned, influence is harder to earn.

To lift and lead others for the long term, you must be a leader who continually earns influence with your actions. Not everything has to be a win – you can earn a lot of influence by persevering through failure, for example – but every action needs to match the leader’s words and show his or her willingness to move forward and learn.

So the question for you is, which kind of influence do you have? Are you borrowing influence or are you earning it?  Leadership IS influence, and the best kind of influence comes when people give you permission to lead in their lives based on your actions. If you want to get real influence, you have to get busy and earn it from the people you lead.

Have a great week!



Are there any additional components you use to earn influence from those you lead?