I know its December, but I’m not done with baseball yet!

When Cubs Manager Joe Maddon removed his starting pitcher, Kyle Hendricks, in the fifth inning of game 7, did you think Joe was letting “the pressure exceed the pleasure”?  When Rajai Davis hit the two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game, did you think Joe had blown it? 

John Smoltz and Joe Buck, the TV announcers, certainly thought so.  I immediately began to write an emergency president’s message just to rescind the complimentary article I’d written about Joe’s leadership style earlier that week.

What gives?  Based on his lifetime managerial record, Joe is clearly the best manager in baseball.  How did the best manager in baseball miss what was so painfully obvious to all of us “experts”?  Even after the win and the celebration, it still bothered me.  There has got to be a lesson in there somewhere.

I think the lesson is a great one.  Think about the similarities between a baseball manager and the leader of a company.  At the core, they both only have two jobs:

  1. Build the team and the infrastructure to create a culture of success.
  2. Steer the ship through timely (in-game) strategic and tactical decision making.

Anyone who follows sports knows that you cannot succeed without that culture of success (think Duke Basketball, Alabama Football, etc…).  On the other hand, a great culture of highly confident team members will usually win out -- even when tactical mistakes are made (think the 2016 Cubs).  The lesson: you can still win if you make mistakes -- you cannot win without the right people and the right culture.

So, where do you spend your time as a leader? Are your actions building your team’s self-confidence or destroying it? Take it further, how confident are all of your family business members and key executives in each other? In Steven Covey’s Seven Habits series, they consistently differentiate between the urgent and the important.  For my money, developing a culture of leadership in my business is much more “important” than the recurring “urgent” decisions that pop up on a daily basis.

Now, back to December.  December means a lot of great things, not the least of which is making our New Years Resolutions.  I’ve already decided that my 2017 resolution is to do everything in my power to grow my leadership team in both knowledge and confidence. However, I know that I cannot do this on my own.  That is why I’m such an avid promoter of the CFBC and why I’m looking forward to getting my key executives even more involved with our many educational and development programs in 2017.   I hope you will do the same.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season.  I look forward to catching up with you, and your key team members, in the New Year.


Jeff Conner
Liners Direct
CFBC President 2016-2017




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This entry was posted in Blog and tagged . Posted on December 5th, 2016 by Kyle Wehr