Monthly Archives: October 2016

DECISION DAY: TAKER OR GIVER?

This week you will make several important decisions, however you will make one particular, very important decision. You will either be a taker or a giver. What is the difference? I’m glad you asked.

TAKERS: Are self absorbed; Toxic; Complain; Blame; Selfish; Bragging; Negative; Feel entitled; Gossip; Kill the dreams of others; Take from others; Cut corners; Do only what’s best for them; Are never satisfied.

Givers: Prioritize others before self; Listen; Understand who they are; Take responsibility; Share; Patient; Encourage others; Serve the team’s interest before themselves; Understand that satisfaction comes from giving not getting. 

You see, there are two kinds of people in this world: Givers & Takers. The takers may eat better…but the givers sleep better. 

This week it’s time to make a decision. What type of leader will you be? What type of character will define you? Will you be a taker or a giver? Only you can make the choice. Choose wisely!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What is one way you hope to be a giver today?

Comments? 

5 CONSEQUENCES OF A LEADER OUT OF BALANCE

Experts say as a rule of thumb, if you are working more than 60-65 hours a week, you are working to much and are likely out of balance. You may be able to work more than this for a season, but it’s not sustainable. If you persist in working this much – or more – something will eventually break. Burnout is inevitable.

Ask any coach, scout, executive or organizational leader in baseball, and they will tell you there is a high emphasis and priority on scouting, drafting, recruiting and developing staff, coaches and prospects in order to build a championship team and organization year in and year out. It’s hard and it’s a grind.

In the early years of my professional scouting career, I was determined to succeed. It’s just part of my DNA to compete. Part of what drove me was fear. Coming right off the playing field I didn’t have any experience in scouting, and I was a bit fearful that I would be exposed by older, more seasoned scouts. I’m grateful 25 years later they were good to me.

However, I was also driven by the desire to achieve, to be the best instead of being my best. In those very early years, I was working both a small area territory and crosschecking. I would start my day by 4:00-5:00 am and would often not finish the day until 1 am. I would average between 18-20 hour days during the scouting season, which was 7-days a week for weeks and months.

My wife was a trooper, but with young children, she definitely needed relief. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my work life and my family life were completely out of balance. It simply was not sustainable physically and relationally. I can remember lying in bed at night, my body physically wore from stress and exhaustion – burning the candle at both ends was catching up to me. Solely brought on by foolishness, poor self discipline, poor choices, pride, and the male driven ego to succeed.

As a leader, think of it this way: If you are working more than 60-70 hours a week, (which is very easy to do as a baseball coach, scout, and organizational leader) like it or not, you are out of balance and you are putting at risk at least five of the following very important assets.

Your Health: Early in my career, I thought I could get by eating junk food, minimal sleep, and rarely getting annual physical checkups. However, I learned this way of living will inevitably catch up with you. How many people do you know who have died much to young simply because they burned the candle at both ends and chose not to have better balance in their life. Like the words of KFC Colonel Sanders – “There is no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.” 

Your Family: You can’t afford a divorce. The cost is incalculable, not only financially but emotionally. Just ask those who have gone through one. You also can’t afford to ignore your children. If you don’t invest in them when they are young, you will be forced to spend time with them later – in rehab, in jail, or worse. When you’re home – be home. If at all possible, power down the cell phone and computer. Plan a date night with your spouse. You get one chance to be a husband and father, don’t chase the money, status, and fame at the expense of your family. It’s not worth the cost. s2s leaders don’t just succeed at work, they also win at home. Your closest relationships deserve your best. It starts with not just being there, but really “being there.” – Fully engaged, totally present, and thoroughly interested. The word L.O.V.E. is spelled T.I.M.E.

Your Friends: Sadly, I didn’t really have many close, personal friends and relationships until approx 10-12 years ago. Many acquaintances, but not many true friends or accountability partners. I thought that my baseball colleagues and church acquaintances were enough. Not so much. I have several great friends now that mean the world to me, both in and out of baseball. I give them permission to speak in to my life, keep me balanced and hold me accountable. However, I must continue carving out margin in my life to invest in those relationships. Remember, leadership is about relationships. The best way to strengthen the relationships with friends is to listen to what they have to say.

Your Effectiveness: I truly believe you are most productive when you are rested and in balance. Work is like golf – or any sport. The harder you force it, the less effective you’ll be. You are the most productive when you’re not stressed.

Your Example: As I’ve said many times “A lot more is caught than taught.”  The people you are leading and influencing on your team or in your organization will unconsciously mimic you. They can’t help it.  As a leader, you set the pace. If you work seventy hours a week, your people will think they must work seventy hours a week. Most of them won’t be able to keep up. And you will be responsible for the consequences. Be wise, be smart, and lead with integrity and character of heart. Lead by example.

Please don’t be mislead. I work very hard, but with balance – and you should as well. However, there is a vast difference between working hard and working smart. If I sense myself getting out of balance adjustments are made quickly. I have built in margins and boundaries in order to have sustainable balance. I encourage you to do the same.

Guard your health. Prioritize your family. Value friendships. Build margins to be effective and lead by example to those you are influencing. If you do, you will be making progress as a leader in balance.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Are there any other suggestions you can share that could help with living a life in balance? 

Comments? 

 

CONSEQUENCES OF DISTRACTION

No other time of year brings the temptation to be lured away from what really matters more than the holiday seasons … and it is rapidly approaching. It should be just the opposite, but we can’t seem to resist. From the commercialization of Black Friday, to endless sales, events, parties, and gifts, it is easy to find yourself tangled in a web of busyness. Distraction carries with it a cause and affect.

First, “distraction causes distortion.” It literally makes us see things in a twisted way. We can actually become sucked into “busyness” to the point where we begin to care less about the things which we care about the most. Kind of crazy if you think about it. I heard a saying long ago; “If the devil can’t make you bad, he will just make you busy.” There is no truer statement.

You say, “What does it look like when one has “distraction distortion?”

Your young daughter asks you to read her a story and your first reaction is to be annoyed. Your wife wants to share something important to her and you nod with disdain because she is interrupting the game which is soon starting. Your son wants you to play a game of catch with him in the driveway, but you blow him off because you need to make a couple of phone calls. The game of catch never happens. Distraction causes distortion.

However the effect might be even greater and last for many years because distraction affects attraction. Miss enough bedtime stories, skip too many moments of connection with your spouse, and never show up in the driveway to play catch with your son (or attend your kids sporting events), and soon you will be much less “attractive” to those who matter most. Distraction affects attraction.

If today finds you blinded by “busyness” and detached from the ones you love the most, maybe you should give some serious think time to the “cause and affect” of your distracted choices. Remember the word LOVE is spelled T.I.M.E.

I assure you, the job will still be there. The recruits will still be playing. The phone call, text and emails can wait a bit. However making a memory won’t.

As a leader, you cannot lead others effectively on your team, in your department and organization if you don’t lead yourself and your family first. Remember, relationships cannot be rushed and healthy at the same time, and rarely do they thrive in the midst of distraction.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What are some common areas where leaders find themselves distracted?

Comments? 

 

TALENT OR CHEMISTRY?

This week I re-familiarized myself with author Jim Collins book “Good to Great” – In the specific chapter I wanted to read on the topic of organizational leadership, Jim Collins says that great organizations and teams begin with disciplined people. The great ones, according to Collins, are all led by what he calls “Level Five Leaders” which are characterized by professional will and personal humility.

Whether you are a head baseball coach or departmental leader at any level, rather than deciding where you want to take your team, your first decision should be to make sure you have “the right people on the bus.” Get the right people on the bus, put them in the right seats, and you will finish in a great place. If it’s drafting the right players that fits the organizational philosophy and strategy, or you and your coaching staff selecting the right players to help you win a division, league or conference championship, the goal is to make sure you get the right people that develop outstanding team chemistry.

Through the years, one of my biggest goals as a leader has been to try and surround myself with great people in order to make continued progress in my leadership skills. The people you surround yourself with will determine the quality and direction of your life. Therefore the goal is to to surround myself with people that not only know more than me, but people that seek to live a life of character, integrity, and influence. These are the ones you want to do life with, go to battle with and win with.

As a professional baseball scout, it’s easy to say the fellow scouts I work with and around love baseball. In my opinion, it’s a great sport and environment to learn and teach leadership. Through the years, I’ve had the joy of teaching and influencing a number of baseball players. From experience, I can tell you there is a major decision that every head baseball coach wrestles with from the amateur level to the major league level . . .Do I play my nine best, or my best nine?

A head coach in baseball faces the same temptation that other leaders face. Namely, to play their nine best. That can potentially be a mistake! If you want to accomplish your mission, hit your target, or win the game (however you want to say it), you had better learn to identify your best nine. Regardless of politics, contracts, or any other outside challenge involved.

The “best nine” is simply a metaphor for identifying the people who work best together or play best together, whether in a boardroom, baseball diamond or scouting staff.  Most people refer to this “team concept” as having chemistry with one another – and it’s vital!  It’s the difference between having a championship team and organization, or not.

In baseball or business, teamwork defeats talent. Please don’t misunderstand. If you are a baseball scout, recruiting coordinator or coach, you know that tools and talent matter a great deal, and you should do everything you can to scout, recruit and develop great talent.

However, life is too short to surround yourself with people or players who are a drain on the process and your team. Build a team of people that you love to work with, and you will find your work much more energizing and rewarding. However, in the end, if you have to make a defined choice, choose chemistry!

Do you want to take your leadership to another level. Then start by playing your “best nine.” In the end, you won’t regret you did.

s2s,

Kevin

What traits do you value and look for when building a team?  

Comments?

HOW TO ALIGN YOUR TEAM OR ORGANIZATION FOR OPTIMAL SUCCESS

Sometimes it is easy to spot the difference between a weak leader and a strong one. Make note. While weak leaders often blame their teams when they can’t get it, strong leaders know it is their responsibility to create it.

A leader is responsible for creating organizational alignment for the team. If something slips out of alignment and I am unhappy with the outcome, then I have to ask, “What was it about my leadership that created this outcome?”

Here’s the reality: Everything rises and falls on leadership. Everything! Alignment doesn’t just happen. Leaders create it. So you ask how? I am glad you asked.

Below are three ideas to sync up your team for success. These components will fit for leaders regardless of what size the team or organization might be…

Contact: You cannot keep your team aligned unless you have frequent contact with them. They are going to do the best with what you give them. If you don’t spend time with them, it is inevitable that they’re going to make decisions you’re uncomfortable with. As the leader, it is your responsibility to initiate this contact. Carve margin out of your schedule and contact those you are leading.

Communication: Contact is not enough. You have to communicate. Your people cannot read your mind. They need to know what you expect. They need to understand the vision, mission, and desired outcomes. Vision leaks, so you need to verbalize your expectations. They will get it, however it needs to be verbalized over and over and over again.

In addition, if you don’t like the direction your team is going, you need to speak up – before you get into a high stakes situation – Or worse, it’s too late.

Connection: Communication is not even enough. For true alignment to take place, your people have to know and trust your heart. They have to be committed to your success and the success of the team.

You may be tempted to think you’re “entitled” to this by just employing them. You’re not. You can buy their presence, but you can’t buy their heart. You must earn it. You can only create a connection – and thus alignment – when you open your heart and let them in.

One of the best ways to do this is to talk about the “why.” As leaders we create alignment, and alignment depends on everyone connecting on what’s at stake.

Alignment is critical if you want to get the right things done and move your team or organization forward in the most effective and efficient way possible. However, it won’t happen on it’s own. As a leader, you must take the initiative to create it.

I hope you have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

Is your team aligned? What can you do this week to help move your team forward? 

Comments?