Author Archives: kdbmlb@gmail.com

About kdbmlb@gmail.com

Kevin Burrell serves CEO, Chief Encouragement Officer, of "From the Sandlot to the Sweet Spot; Leadership 4 Life" where he is passionate helping athletes, coaches and scouts reach their full potential. His goal is to see next generation leaders understand the importance of living a life of integrity in order to maximize their influence on and off the field or court of competition. Kevin has worked in professional baseball as both a player and major league baseball scout for the past 36 years and currently serves is on staff as an Area Scouting Supervisor with the Chicago White Sox. A HS All-American catcher from San Diego, California, Kevin was drafted in the 1st round of the 1981 free agent amateur draft (25th selection overall) by the Boston Red Sox, and was the first catcher selected in the United States. He played 10 years of professional baseball with four different organizations. However, his career was cut short by an elbow injury in 1992. Wanting to stay connected with the sport he loved, Kevin soon pursued a professional scouting career. He began with the Chicago White Sox organization. After years of dedication and commitment, Kevin was promoted as a National Crosschecker with the Boston Red Sox and eventually the Houston Astros respectively, before returning back to the Chicago White Sox organization. Kevin has a proven record of accomplishment with young amateur baseball players and is credited with scouting, signing - or recommending to draft as a national cross-checker the following players: Gordon Beckham (2B), Mark Teixeira (1B), Dernell Stenson (OF), Lew Ford (OF), David Eckstein (SS), Mark Johnson (C), Matt Chico (LHP), Mike Maroth (LHP), Kelly Shoppach (C), Adam Everett (SS), Drew Stubbs (CF), Hunter Pence (OF), Ben Zobrist (INF/OF), Casey Fossum (LHP), Josh Hancock (RHP), Manny Delcarmen (RHP), Troy Patton (LHP) and Kason Gabbard (LHP), Chris Beck (RHP), Jacob May (CF). Kevin’s extensive experience scouting future major league players puts him in a unique position. To sum up his philosophy in regards to scouting, Kevin states; "Professionalism, integrity, character, experience and knowledge will always yield outstanding results." In his free time, Kevin enjoys investing in and mentoring young athletes, public speaking, reading, writing, traveling and serving in his local church. He and his wife Valerie have been married for nearly 24 years and reside in Sharpsburg, Georgia.

BUILDING INTEGRITY FOR LASTING INFLUENCE IN 2018

Happy New Year 2018!

I truly hope 2018 is the best year of your life both personally and professionally. As a baseball scout or coach I’m sure you realize that you have influence. You have the unique ability to impact others around you. However one of the most important characteristics that you must display for maximum influence in 2018 is Integrity.

Integrity is essential for a leader, because people will not willingly follow someone they cannot trust. And trust is built when you consistently act according to your beliefs. When you have integrity, you have what Peter Drucker called “the final requirement of effective leadership.”

Recently I heard a coach say, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Quite honestly, that is one of my least favorite sayings. It’s a catchy, but destructive thought that does more harm than good, and here’s why: You can’t truly “make it” if you don’t have integrity. And integrity is the opposite of fake. It literally means being whole and undivided – being the same on the inside as you are on the outside. If “fake it ‘til you make it” is a philosophy that you live by, then you’re setting yourself up for failure in the long run.

However I understand why people have embraced this thought. We live in a culture that rewards image – often over integrity. We promote people who appear to have their act together, and encourage others to do the same. Never mind any warning signs about their character. As long as they look good while they produce, our culture is satisfied. Why is that? Why do we reward image over integrity? The answer is simple: Image is easy. Integrity is hard.

So in 2018, how can you make sure you are building your integrity in a culture of image? Here are three questions you should ask yourself in order to maintain your integrity:

AM I BEING TRUE TO MYSELF?  Living with integrity begins within. The only person in the world you can’t hide from is..you! To be a genuine person, you have to be able to live with yourself and the decisions you make. If your actions would cause you shame or embarrassment if they were ever found out, then you’re not being true to yourself and your values. If you feel the need to hide your actions from others, the first person you’re deceiving is yourself.

AM I BEING TRUE TO MY MENTOR?  Mentors are the people who have chosen to invest in you. They believe in you and your potential, and have shared their time and wisdom to help you maximize it. If your actions would disappoint them, then you’re not putting enough value on your mentor’s investment. You’re shortchanging the process, and hurting both yourself and your mentor.

AM I BEING TRUE TO THE PEOPLE I AM INFLUENCING?  You are surrounded by people who are affected by your actions. Be they family, friends, athletes, coaches or colleagues, your choices and decisions impact them on a daily basis. If you are not living a genuine life with them, it will ultimately damage the relationships that you need to thrive.

It’s easy to believe that integrity doesn’t really pay off. In fact, that seems to be the message our culture champions! Why do things the hard way when you can just “fake it ‘til you make it” – especially when so many people seem to succeed overnight through shortcuts and shams? It’s tempting to believe that you can or should do the same. After all, everyone wants to get to the top, so why not take the fastest route?

Here is the reality: the fastest way to the top will not keep you there. People who shortchange their internal character inevitably fall. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And when they do, it’s always a long drop back to the bottom – and a much steeper climb the second time around. If you want to get to the top and stay there, the key is integrity. Sure, it takes time, and it often feels like an unnoticed effort, but be patient. Integrity will pay off in the end.

Your integrity is the foundation for lasting achievement. If you build it, success and significance will come. And you’ll be able enjoy them for a long time.

Happy New Year 2018!

s2s,

Kevin

 

ARE YOU A “TAKER OR A GIVER”?

Sadly, we live in a “Me First” society. Get all I can, can all I get, and sit on the rest mentality. Don’t believe me? Take a picture with a group of people and then look at the picture. The first place your eyes will go too is…Y.O.U!

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 so glad you asked.

TAKERS: Are self absorbed; Toxic; Complain; Blame; Selfish; Bragging; Negative; Feel entitled; Gossip; Kill the dreams of others; Take from others; User of 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 and leaders 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. I encourage you to chose wisely!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

What is one way you hope to be a giver this week?

“CHARACTER” THE INSIDE INFLUENCES THE OUTSIDE

As a professional baseball scout, one of the most important priorities I park on while meeting with young prospects is regarding Character. It is fascinating listening to these young high school and college prospects define the word Character and what it means to them.

In a sentence, here is a clear definition of the word Character: “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”

I believe it is a normal human desire to be concerned about how we look on the outside. Truth is, there’s nothing wrong with that. However what can get us in trouble is worrying more about how we look on the outside more than how we really are on the inside.

Our reputation comes from what others believe about our outside. However our character represents who we really are on the inside. The good news is that if you focus on being better on the inside, than the outside, over time you will also become better on the outside.

Why do I say that? The Inside Influences the Outside. More than twenty-five hundred years ago, the writer of Proverbs noted that “As we think in our hearts, so we become.” That ancient idea has been both echoed by other wisdom writers and confirmed by modern science. Coaches teach the importance of visualization for winning. Psychologists point out the power of self-image on people’s actions. Doctors note the impact of positive attitude. What we believe really matters.

We reap what we sow, more than we sow and later than we sow. What we do or neglect to do in the privacy of our daily lives impacts who we are. If you neglect your heart, mind, and soul, it changes who you are on the outside as well as the inside.

Character is a personal quality that embodies many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.

When we fail to make the right character choices within us, we give away ownership of ourselves. We belong to others or to whatever gains control of us. And that puts us in a bad place. How can you ever reach your full potential and become the person you can be if others are making your choices for you?

Winning in life is more than just money, it’s about winning on the inside and knowing that you have played the game of life with all you had and then some. If you want to be successful, you must prioritize building your inside ahead of your outside.

Helen Keller likely said it best; “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Be your best this week. Make character the crown jewel worth chasing.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

GRINDING FORWARD BY LEARNING TO SAY “NO” AS A LEADER

Earlier this week I stopped by a local Starbucks to get a cup of coffee on my way to an in-home meeting with a 2018 high-school draft prospect and his family.

As I waited for my cup of coffee, I looked closely at the coffee machine with all the beans piled up high in the grinder. I made this elementary perception; “Without the grinder, there is no coffee. Beans are just that, beans.”

Leadership works much the same way. You can spend all of your time trying to stay fresh and on the cutting edge as a baseball coach or scout by saying yes to everything and everyone, however at some point you have to be a strong grinder to not only be great at what you do as a coach or scout … but a great leader as well.

The daily grind gets a bad wrap. I’ve been around some who don’t even like the terminology “grinder.” Few, if any, wake up excited about the grind. That’s because most like taking the path of least resistance.

However what if that changed for you? What if each day you approached the grind as an opportunity to bring value into the lives of your teammate, staff or athletes you lead?  What if you equated the grind with your chance for influence? The grind, is never a grind, if you love what you do.

One of the keys to staying focused on the grind is the ability to say no! This is a skill that may leaders fail at and it impacts their ability to lead effectively. It will actually burn a leader out. They will soon become a “Dead Leader Running.”

As a leader, saying no is OK. You have permission. You must say “no” to some good things, so you can say “yes” to the best things!

If what you’re being asked to take on or do does not line up with your core mission and values as a team, staff, department or organization, it’s OK to say, No!

Walk away. Go the other direction. It may even be a good thing – but it’s not necessarily the best thing. Learn to say no and keep grinding forward.

The best leaders are the ones who consistently show up and discipline themselves to do the little things with excellence. Remember, never perfection, but always progress.

Embrace the grind, stay focused, stay disciplined and learn to say no. Doing so will maximize your influence!

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

VISION LEAKS! FOUR ACTIONS STEPS TO REINFORCE YOUR VISION

Vision leaks! This is one of many leadership lessons my mentor has taught me through the years. Tragically, many leaders miss this elementary truth. The mistake is explainable, but not excusable. The thought goes something like this; Since the vision is still burning in our inner most being, we make the fatal assumption it is still vibrant in the hearts and minds of those we are attempting to lead. Wrong!

Earlier this week I was walking down my driveway only to discover that we had a small waterline leak. It started out very small, however within hours it grew exponentially until water was pouring out from under my driveway and my water meter was in fast forward motion (can you say ka-ching $$). Needless to say I shut the water valve off and called my plumber to replace the waterline.

In a similar way, vision that leaks makes the leader’s work exponentially harder. It starts out very small, however within time, the vision has large leaks. So, how can you and I keep the vision front and center for our team and organization and minimize the leaks? The answer is both simple and challenging. Below are a few action steps to consider.

Make it Clear: Are you as the leader crystal clear on your vision? One of my mentors who is a pastor always challenged me with this thought: If it’s a mist in the pulpit, then it’s a fog in the pews. Until the vision is clear to you as the leader, it will not be clear to others. Leadership always begins with a picture of the future. You cannot create what you cannot envision – and neither can you communicate it.

Make it Simple: Are you sure your key coaches and leaders on your team and in your organization know your vision? Do they use the same language (words and phrases) to describe it? If you embrace the challenge of communicating your vision (daily), you will want to enroll your leadership in the effort. Clear and simple communications is a core value in all high performance teams and organizations. The vision and message must be simple and it must be aligned.

Track It: How often are you currently talking about the vision? Keep a record for one week and track how much you are talking about the vision. Every time you mention or illustrate the vision, make a note of it. You may decide to ask your key leaders to do the same. This will either heighten your awareness regarding the challenge ahead, or affirm your current actions. For most leaders, it will be a wake up call – the reason your organization is not talking about the vision…is because you are not talking about it.

Work the Work: To make your vision an active part of your daily life and communication it will require work! It will require thought, preparation, focus and discipline. Here’s an action step for you to consider. On Sunday evening look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Consider every meeting or connection you will have over the course of the next five days. Plan ahead how you can link the work or the conversation to your vision. Commit to use every opportunity to reinforce the vision. You may be surprised by the outcome.

Yes, vision leaks! However when the leader makes the vision clear, makes it simple, tracks it and works the work to communicate it and reinforce it over and over again; then those you lead will do as well. Stop the leak, because if you don’t, it will prove very costly.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin