Monthly Archives: February 2017

WHO IS YOUR “WING MAN”?

Let me start by saying that integrity is not something “you do” as much as it is “who you are.” However there are things you can do to help yourself become who you want to be.

For the past few weeks I have been meeting with a group of baseball coaches and scouts in a small group. We share what’s going on in our life, have a short devotional and prayer time online through a video conference call. Just as Iron sharpens Iron, these guys sharpen each other. Truthfully, I look forward to 9am every Monday morning.

I have a good friend who is famous for saying “Be intentional about pursuing integrity; find yourself a wing man.”  If you’re going to have sustained success as a leader in life, you can’t fly solo. What I mean is, you can’t afford not to have someone in your life that can help you stay accountable.

I have seen so many leaders throughout my life that think they can do life alone, only to crash and burn. it is vital that you have an accountability partner that can help you stay accountable.

I experienced this last week, I received an early morning phone call from a trusted friend and accountability partner. This wasn’t your normal “Hey how are you doing” phone call. It was a call of accountability, making sure I am getting enough rest and not burning the candle at both ends in my scouting responsibilities while balancing my home life and spiritual life.

I had two choices to respond; I could either embrace his direct, firm and caring accountability … or get defensive, prideful and angry shutting him out. I chose to humbly embrace it, knowing he truly cares about me, my family and my well being. Leaders embrace accountability!

Accountability is a powerful thing. It is actually a barometer of whether you are living an “integrated” life or not. If you are avoiding accountability or if you balk at the idea, it should be a huge red flag to yourself and others.

Having a friend who knows your strengths as well as your flaws can help you stay on the right path. You are much more likely to do the right thing when you know others are counting on you and holding you accountable.

If there are places where you are tempted to compromise your integrity, you should never go there alone. As a matter of fact … run! Travel, computer usage, discretionary time, and even a meeting with someone you shouldn’t be meeting with, can all represent danger zones. I encourage you to stay in healthy environments. One’s that will build you up – not tear you down.

Build yourself a lifestyle that is surrounded by accountability partners (“A Wing Man”) and you will increase your chances of staying faithful. Others in your life are counting on you.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

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HELPING OTHERS GROW

Leadership IS Challenging! … It is definitely not an easy task.

If we take into account the amount of pressure that we place on those in executive, management and leadership roles within companies and organizations it becomes understandable as to why, on occasion, these individuals may forget some aspects of their role as a leader. Balancing a team of people, implementing new policies and procedures, growing the team and growing the productivity of the team, etc…is just a small example what they have to process.

The majority of leaders will prioritize overseeing the running of the business or the department they oversee. Another task that they may strive to carry out each day is to keep their workforce motivated through raising morale. That is a challenge in and of itself. However, most leaders will tell you there is more to being a leader than carrying out these two particular roles.

Below are a few key strategies that I believe good leaders will prioritize…

Helping Others Grow and Develop: There are many reasons why, as a leader, you should be aiding those below you to advance as individuals and within their career. Statistics say one of the main reasons behind why employees exit their jobs is because they feel that they are not progressing enough, if at all, within their career. This means that if you are not helping your employees grow and develop within their role you could potentially lose some of your best employees. Spending a greater portion of your time focusing on individual employees will in turn encourage them to grow within their current position and aid in their advancement within the company. In turn this will not only provide you with employees that are increasingly competent at the job, but will improve the overall productivity of the staff.

Develop A Trusting Relationship: Before the employees will trust you or your word you must build up an (authentic) friendly, yet professional relationship with them. This is not a process that you can easily rush and the timescale is not negotiable either; building a relationship is a day by day process that each of you will have to work towards. Once trust is established there is no challenge that can’t be attacked and overcome to reach the desired goal. Carve out margin in your schedule monthly to ask your employees how they are feeling? How is their family? And do they have any concerns relating to their work or challenges outside of work that may affect their performance? These few minutes monthly will provide you with valuable information that you require to best understand and appreciate the individual. Your employees will also value this time and appreciate your care and understanding as their leader.

Giving Feedback and Improving Communication: One of the key aspects of being a leader is not to “boss” your subordinates around and point out each and every one of their flaws. Being a leader is about serving. It is about encouraging the growth of your colleagues and employees through positive feedback, constructive criticism, and communication.

It’s essential for individuals within a management position to review the performance of their employees on an annual basis; however to encourage growth within your workforce you must provide feedback on a regular basis.

Feedback must include areas that your employees excel in and do so frequently, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to correct your subordinates if you feel they are making the same mis-steps over and over again. However, a word of wisdom, when you express your concerns or compliments strive to use a sincere tone of voice; this means no sarcasm, frustration, anger or personal cutting words should not enter your voice while you are speaking with your subordinates or colleagues. How you say what you say –  is more important than what you say. 

Be the best leader you can be this week!

s2s,

Kevin

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DEVELOPING “WISDOM” AS A LEADER

We live in a world that loves speed. As a baseball scout, this is true as well when evaluating players and pitchers. Scouts look for athletes that can run. Pitchers with power velocity. And hitters that display fast hands and quick live bat speed.

It’s similar in our everyday world; our computers, our microwaves, our “fast food” restaurants, our cars, texting is quicker than a call and tweets are quicker than a text. We’re always looking for a faster way – and often times, leaders are the worst offenders!

However, one of the greatest qualities a leader can develop is wisdom. We may see wisdom as beyond reach. In our minds, it can often be seen like something that only a few can achieve. However that is not valid. Wisdom is within our reach, but it must be sought. We must seek it out.

Wisdom is having Knowledge + Insight + Discernment in order to make the best informed decision (my definition) … However, in the Bible, Proverbs says it like this: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” 

So how does a leader search and seek out wisdom? Below are a few suggestions…

Evaluate Yourself: Slow down and ask yourself, what’s working? What’s not working? What have others done that has worked in the past?  What are my strengths? How can I better leverage them? What are my weaknesses? How can I lessen them? A life that has no self-examination is no life at all. Wisdom will always remain outside your grasp if you don’t evaluate yourself honestly and objectively.

Seek Accountability: Seek out an accountability partner. This is vital. Regardless how candid you try to be when evaluating yourself, you’ll never be able to overcome your own bias and perspective. Ask your accountability partner for honest (grace and truth) filled feedback. Don’t seek out an accountability partner that tells you only what you want to hear – but some one who tells you what you need to hear, mixed with (grace and truth). This can be done in many forms – formally and informally. However what’s important is that you do it.

Get Counsel: Accountability and feedback is about the past and the present – counsel is about the future. When we seek counsel from others, especially those who have accumulated more experience than we have, we are actually borrowing their wisdom. If we are open to their counsel, if we guard our heart against pride and arrogance, we can benefit greatly from the counsel of others. Over time, this practice will help us develop wisdom.

Don’t put off tomorrow what can be started today. As a leader, don’t wait. Start today, and seek wisdom! You’ll be glad you did.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

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FAILING FORWARD

As a hitter in baseball, if you fail 7 out of 10 times you are considered a good hitter. Failure is inevitable, even in life. It is not a matter of “if” but “when.” As a matter of fact, the Bible is littered from book to book and chapter to chapter with great men and women who failed, and I mean failed miserably.

This should give you and I hope. However not every failure ends so well. Sometimes, people suffer a setback and never recover for various reasons. Truthfully, I don’t think it has to be this way. It is all in how you process it by making wise decisions and choices.

Whether you are a baseball scout, coach, educator, or the leader of an organization, team or department, I am convinced that if you are going to succeed you must learn to deal powerfully with failure.

When we fail we must learn how to “fail forward.” I think there are at least six key components to turning failure to your advantage:

Acknowledge The Failure: This is where it begins. Failure is natural if you are striving to deliver big results. The problem comes when you fail and then refuse to acknowledge it. In scouting baseball players, a scout will fail much more than he will succeed. Same with a player. If you are “working the work” and you work the plan there is a high percentage that you will succeed. However If you choose not to do that then you will fail, and that responsibility falls on you. However once you acknowledge your failure, you take away it’s power. You can then begin to turn it into something positive.

Take Full Responsibility: You won’t get anywhere as long as you blame others for your failure. As long as the responsibility is external – outside of you – you are a victim. Why? Because you can’t control others. You can only control yourself. But when you take responsibility for the failure and become fully accountable for it, you take back control. Suddenly you realize that you could have done things differently. You open the door to possibility – and to creating a different outcome in the future. But this can only happen when you acknowledge the failure and own it.

Mourn The Failure: Many times there are very real and serious losses. A job, a leadership role, a friendship, a relationship, etc.. Often times there is collateral damage. Other people are hurt. Sometimes innocent people. The tentacles of failure can touch many lives beyond yourself. It’s okay to feel sad about these things. You should. Sometimes it takes a while to recover. However you will bounce back relatively quick if you mourn the loss deeply. Deal with it thoroughly and get it behind you.

Learn From Your Failure: Even failure can be redemptive if you learn something from it. It doesn’t have to be career-ending. In fact, it can be career-building IF you take the time to wring all the juice out of the lemon. Honestly, there are just some things you can’t learn – or won’t learn – without failing. I wish it were different. But pain is a powerful teacher. It is often said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” So true! However it only makes us stronger IF we thoroughly process the experience and determine what we could have done differently and will do differently next time around – and then actually follow through and do it. It is said that the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result.” I must agree, yes, that is insanity!

Change Your Behavior:  George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are destined to repeat it.” And we really haven’t learned anything until it affects our behavior. If we keep doing the same things that led to the failure, we are destined to experience more failure. We have to be willing to change. And it really does start with us. This is the one thing we have control over. The people you chose to surround yourself will determine the quality and direction of your life. Surround yourself with others that exemplify good behavior. Change your behavior, and it will change your direction.

Commit Whole-Heartedly Into Your Next Venture: You can’t allow failure to hold you back from the next venture. If you fall off the horse or a bicycle, you have to get back on – immediately! If you don’t do this, the failure gets magnified in your mind. Wait to long, and you might never get back on at all. Instead, you have to put the past behind you and keep moving forward!

Again, failure is inevitable if you are going to tackle significant goals. You have to learn to make it work for you. In doing so, you are planting the seeds for your eventual success. Remember, man counts the seeds in an apple – but only God can count the apples in a seed. 

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

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