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Wisdom of the diamond

The Five Bases of Effective Team Leadership

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 2

They All Count

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to remind people that you are, you aren't." - Dame Margaret Thatcher     

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     As he shaved and showered early the next morning, the sting of last night’s loss was still there, but he had turned his thoughts to what needed to happen at the sales meeting. The frustration of the night before returned as he drove to the office while listening to the professional box scores on the sports radio channel that he favored. We should have won that game, he muttered to himself silently.

     Prior to the start of the sales meeting with his team, Trey stopped by the men’s room. While he is in one of the stalls, out of sight to the others, he overhears two of his reps making jokes and doing imitations of him from the last sales meeting.

 

“Can you believe this guy,” asked Mark Bryant. “He thinks that by being a hard butt that he is going to get me to do more. I’m already busting my chops, and I am getting sick and tired of hearing about how I’m not.”

 

“I hear you man,” replies Brad Sommers. “I don’t know what happened to him. He used to be so cool to work with. He was one of us. But you are right; with a little pressure on him, it’s all about him hitting his numbers. He really is becoming a Hitler to be around.”

 

     Adding insult to injury, about a half dozen of his sales reps are late for the meeting.  Still seething from the conversation that he overheard in the restroom, he lets the entire team know that each week, each day, and each appointment is important to their personal success, as well as that of the team. Results are being looked at, and it is everyone’s job on the line here. Everyone needs to dig down a little deeper and put forth a better effort. “Guys, it’s all about executing on fundamentals:  phone work, training, appointments, activity, paperwork. Let’s remember what it takes to be a winner,” is how he finished his diatribe. A few questions turn the meeting into a mini-gripe session, after which Trey ended the meeting.

 

“Well that was fun,” says Trey to his administrative assistant, Roberta Phillips, as all of the sales reps scrambled to leave the training room.

 

“Mmm,” is her typical non-committal response. “Glad you thought so.”

 

“No I didn’t think so at all,” snapped Trey.

 

“Trey, have you considered why your meetings are not fun any more,” she 

retorted.

 

“Yeah, because people are not doing their jobs, and I am no longer putting up

with it and carrying them.”

 

“You think that’s it?” she said with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Doesn’t matter. If they don’t start producing more, I will be forced to find people who can,” said Trey.

 

“Well, that being said, Fred Thompson wants to see you this afternoon.”

 

“Yeah, where was he for the meeting?” snapped Trey. Fred Thompson, the top performer over the past six years, was one of a handful of stars that he had ‘inherited’ when he became the regional sales manager.

 

“I have no idea. It is not my day to watch him,” fired back Roberta.

 

“Seriously, any idea what Fred wants?” asked Trey both somewhat annoyed and

apprehensive of what her response might be, but attempting to regain some composure.

 

“Nope. He just called in yesterday and asked when he could see you today. I stuck him in the calendar after lunch because I figured that would be easier on you what with the meeting and all this morning,” replied Roberta.

 

“If he wanted to see me so badly, why not just come for the meeting this morning,” observed Trey.

 

“Don’t know boss, maybe he’s sick or something, but I guess we’ll find out when he comes in.”

 

*************************

     After wolfing down a hot dog at a local stand a block from the office, Trey sat at his desk pondering what could be on Fred’s mind.

 

“Hey Trey,” said Fred, as he walked into Trey’s office.

 

“Fred,” responded Trey without getting up from behind his desk, but motioning Fred to one of the chairs situated in front of it.

 

“Trey, I didn’t want to bug you during your sales meeting this morning, so I thought it would be easier just to come in and to let you know that, after giving it a lot of thought, it is time for me to move on. I am leaving Tidewater to work for another company.”

 

“Why would you leave?” asked Trey, now greatly alarmed as images of further

plummeting sales figures flashed across his mind..

 

“They’ve been after me for about five years now. Every couple of months they call me to see if I am happy, or whether I am ready for a change, and I guess this time I was ready,” said Fred while making complete eye contact with Trey.

 

“So who’s the lucky company?” asked Trey with a forced smile, and the start of a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

 

“SunCo.”

 

“But why now?” whined Trey, aware that the loss of Fred’s accounts were going to hurt his numbers pretty significantly. Fred basically accounted for nearly 15% of the office’s production.

 

“Can’t put my finger on it Trey, but something has changed around here. It is not as much fun as it used to be. I’m getting a little long in the tooth and old enough that quality of life is becoming more and more important to me.”

 

“Yeah, but you are going to be doing largely the same thing with SunCo that you have been doing here for over eighteen years,” said Trey hastily.

 

“Yeah, well, something just felt better about it,” said Fred in a level voice.

 

“Is there anything that I can say or do to change your mind Fred?” asked Trey, with a trace of resignation in his own voice betraying his inner turmoil.

 

“I don’t think so Trey. So I guess this is officially my two-week notice, and then I’ll be moseying on.”

 

“Well Fred, I guess since you have some vacation time coming, that it probably makes sense for both of us if you just take your vacation and we’ll start your transition out of here right now. I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to be seeing customers if you are intent on leaving us in two weeks,” said Trey, as he already began to mentally calculate how to retain some of Fred’s accounts.

 

“If that’s the way you want it, that’s okay by me. It’ll give me a chance to do some fishing and some stuff that Margaret has been bugging me to get done around the house,” said Fred, rising from his chair.

 

“Stay in contact with Roberta, and we’ll get you out processed as quickly as we can,” said Trey, with a nod of his head, as he reached for a file from his in box.

 

“Hey, good luck Trey. No hard feelings.”

 

“Yeah. Right. See ya around Fred,” said Trey, choking out the words, opening the file folder in an effort to mask the genuine pain and anguish that he was feeling.

 

*********************

     Trey is perturbed, a little scared, and feeling very vulnerable as he leaves the office in order to get to the ballpark. He has called an extra practice in order to enforce his talk about the need for proper execution and keeping their head in the game.

 

“Alright gentlemen the name of the game is baseball, and that means that we are going to practice the fundamentals until we execute them without having to waste a second to think about them. Yesterday’s loss was really a poor way to start this season. You all played ball last year and know the importance of getting off to a good start. Yesterday was just bad baseball. We should be 1-0 now, but instead we are 0-1. So, this is the time to shape up or ship out. Either you are going to give me a 120% effort, or you need to find yourself a new team. You guys made yourself look bad last game. We are a team with high expectations. This team was the league champion. We won because we executed the fundamentals and produced winning results. My job is to give you the know-how and to help you develop the skills. Your job is to deliver on the field with timely hitting, good base running, steady pitching and solid defense. If we don’t do the hard work in practice we will continue to be losers, and I know that none of us wants that as a final result. Right guys? You were champs, and I was Coach of the Year last year for a reason, and people are looking to us to be winners again this year. So, let’s do it,” said Trey with a final clap of his hands as he tossed a ball to one of his assistant coaches and turned for the backstop. Had he waited a few seconds longer, he would have seen the stunned looks on the faces of the kids.

 

*********************

“Hey Mr. Langston, kind of rough on the kids weren’t you?” asked the slim brunette woman as she walked up to the backstop.

 

“Excuse me? I don’t believe we have met,” asked Trey, as he tossed his clipboard over on to the bench in the dugout.

 

“Mrs. Brown,” she replied, taking another step towards him. “Johnny’s mother,” she added when his blank look did not register a name and player together. 

 

“What can I do for you Mrs. Brown?” asked Trey.

 

“We wanted Johnny on this team because we had heard a lot of good things about you, and because we wanted him to have the experience of being on a winning team too,” she began.

 

“Glad to hear it,” he said. “Thanks.”

 

“My husband and I were at the game yesterday, and well, to say the least, we were disappointed with the manner in which you talked to the boys after the game.”

 

“Is that right?” asked Trey, feeling the color going to his face.

 

“Johnny was so crushed on the way home that he was actually sitting in the back seat, crying into his glove.”

 

“Really?” asked Trey.

 

“Yes he was. This is a little uncomfortable, but now the only question I have for you is whether it is too late to switch Johnny to a different team,” she said hesitantly.

 

“Actually ma’am, I believe it is. The rosters are set, and so if he were to join another team that would mean another boy would not be able to play on that team, and would have to in turn switch teams,” said Trey.

 

“Well, I just think that the manner in which you addressed the boys was deplorable, and nothing like what we expected our son to be exposed to,” said a now indignant Mrs. Brown.

 

“I am sorry that you feel that way Mrs. Brown, but as you said, this is a winning team, and we are going to be champions again. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Right now it’s a matter of getting the boys’ attention and focusing their efforts. Give us a little time, and Johnny will be cheering in the back seat on the way home from the games. You wait and see ma’am, this team will be rockin’, starting with tomorrow’s game,” said Trey confidently, attempting to allay her concerns.

 

“I certainly hope you are right Coach,” said Mrs. Brown as she turned on her heel and walked away quickly.

 

     As he resumed picking up the equipment, he replayed the conversation in his head. Who does she think she is, talking to me like that? If the kid is that soft that he cried on the way home, holy cow. Get a grip. It’s about executing and getting results. My gosh.

 

“Tough start Mr. Coach Trey,” said Ernie, as she walked over the span of bleachers and sat down on the bench next to Trey.

 

“Yeah, well, they’ll get their heads in the game, and we’ll be .500 after tomorrow’s game.

 

“It was only the first game,” pointed out Ernie.

 

“They all count in the standings,” he said emphatically.

 

“Yes they do. They all count,” she said quietly, with her own emphasis tinged with irony.

 

“We should have won that game yesterday,” said Trey oblivious to the point that she was attempting to make.

 

“Maybe,” she said quietly.

 

“No maybe about it. We are the defending champions.”

 

“Are you?”

 

“Yes, and we were playing last year’s door mat,” he said emphatically.

 

“Were you?”

 

“What do you mean,” asked Trey. “You watch enough games to know that I am telling it straight.”

 

“Let me ask you this Coach. Are you the same team as you were last year?”

 

“Yeah,” he said with just a hint of reservation in his voice.

 

“Are you sure that they are the same team as last year? From where I sit and watch the game, this is not the Major Leagues. The jerseys stay the same but the teams can be very different year to year,” said Ernie.

 

“Hey, we are the Cubs, and we are the defending champions,” he said confidently.

 

“Well apparently Mrs. Brown must have forgotten that,” she said with a shrug of her shoulder.

 

“Who?”

 

“Johnny’s mother.”

 

“Oh, her. I had never met her before.”

 

“Really? Hmm. What about Johnny?”

 

“Nope. Never laid eyes on him before, until two weeks ago, when we had our first practices,” said Trey with a shrug of his shoulders.

 

“How come?” quietly asked Ernie.

 

“Either he didn’t play last year, or maybe he just moved here, or maybe my assistant who took care of the draft for me had a hunch,” said Trey with another shrug.

 

“You don’t know?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“You really didn’t do the draft yourself?”

 

“No, unfortunately the wonderful company I work for saw fit that I was stuck in a three-day conference in lovely Philadelphia attending a national sales meeting.”

 

“I see,” said Ernie.

 

“You see what?”

 

“Oh, nothing. Just an old woman rambling,” said Ernie with a smile. “But Coach, just remember, they all count….,” she said as she walked away with her brown leather shopping bag over her arm.

 

“Hmm. They sure do,” he said, as he hefted the equipment bags on to his shoulders and headed towards the parking lot.

 

********************

“How was your day,” asked Beth, as she set his plate of dinner on the placemat at the head of the table.

 

“Lousy if you really want to know.”

 

“I’m sorry. Why?”

 

“I lost Fred Thompson today,” he said sighing deeply.

 

“Oh no.What happened?” she asked, leaning back against the counter, greatly

concerned about Fred’s safety.

 

“I don’t know. He blew off the sales meeting, came in after lunch and told me that he was leaving,” he said as he shoveled a forkful of food into his mouth.

 

“Oh, thank goodness. From the way that you said it, I thought something had

happened to him,” she said relieved.

 

“Yeah right.”

 

“But why is he leaving? He’s been with the company even longer than you have,”

said Beth.

 

“He just said that he thought maybe it was time for a change,” said Trey.

 

“So what is he going to be doing? Not retiring is he?”

 

“The very same thing that he is doing now! Just taking my customers is all,” said Trey angrily.

 

“Why, where is he going?” asked Beth.

 

“Over to SunCo,” he said bitterly.

 

“SunCo? You guys have been duking it out ever since you started with Tidewater,” she said.

 

“Uh yeah. I know!”

 

“Ouch, that really hurts,” said Beth sympathetically.

 

“You know it. Fred is about 15% of my production. Now in addition to the 10% growth that Bill wants from me, I have to replace Fred’s production, and

hope that not all of his current base of customers follow him over to SunCo,” said Trey vehemently.

 

“Will they?”

 

“Probably. It’s just par for the course,” said Trey woefully.

 

“Why? They don’t have anything that you don’t have to offer,” said Beth loyally.

 

“Yeah they do,” said Trey with another deep sigh.

 

“What?”

 

“They have Fred,” said Trey.

 

“Yeah, but you’ll make it work. Hey, you were Rookie of the Year, and took the office to number six in the country last year! You’ll be fine. How was practice?” she asked, hoping to brighten the mood by changing the subject.

 

“Okay. We hit the fundamentals, and got them dirty,” said Trey, taking a long drink from his glass of ice water.

 

“David says that you sort of ragged on all of them,” she said quietly.

 

“What? I did no such thing. I merely told them that I am the coach of a winning team, and that we need to stay focused on the fundamentals and to keep our heads in the game at all times.”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

“What?”

 

“Oh nothing. Cathy Hamilton called me.”

 

“What did she want?”

 

“Seems that you talked to a good friend of hers today,” she said, setting the trap.

 

“Oh yeah, who?” he asked distractedly.

 

“Janet Brown.”

 

“Oh, my number one fan from the ball park today,” he said as he mentally

replayed his day.

 

“Not according to Cathy,” said Beth.

 

“Hey, you can’t please everyone all of the time,” he said with a shrug. “You know

how hard to please little league parents can be sometimes. Remember how they got on me years ago the time that I was pitching to the kids and one of the kids hit the ball right back at me with the bases loaded so hard that it bounced back to the catcher for a force out at the plate?”

 

“I remember.”

 

“I mean, here I am, permanently bruised all season long, and not one of them wants to take a turn on the mound. It’s okay to watch me get beaned and to criticize me for it no less. Like I said, these parents can be crazy,” he added with vehemence.

 

“Maybe you need to keep things in perspective,” she began quietly.

 

“Meaning?”

 

“Meaning that it was only one little league baseball game and that maybe your frustration with work is creeping over into other areas of your life,” she said, raising a single eyebrow as emphasis.

 

“Thank you Doctor Freud,” he said.

 

“Trey, you know I am right. You’ve been short with the kids, with me, and now you are even taking it out on your players. That is not the Trey who was Coach of the Year last year,” she said earnestly.

 

“Yeah well, things change, but in this instance, I am not wrong. Those boys threw a sure win away yesterday, and if my comments to them yesterday and today snap them out of la-la land, then I am okay with it. It’s just like tough love.”

 

“Oh, so you intended the talk to be tough love.”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“So, do you think that they felt the love?” she asked raising both of her eyebrows and cocking her head to the left.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Uh huh. Well, just remember that it was only one game.”

 

“They all count.”

 

“That’s right, they all count,” she said in agreement. “Every last one of them.”
 

 

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 3

Orange Peels

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to remind people that you are, you aren't." - Dame Margaret Thatcher     

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“Trey, Bill Kramer is here to see you,” said Roberta through the intercom.

 

“Send him in,” said Trey, standing up and straightening his tie and smoothing his hair in place, as he prepared himself for yet another verbal jousting session with his new boss, the recently hired vice president of sales for the Mid-Atlantic Division.

 

“Hello, Trey,” said Bill, as he entered Trey’s small windowless interior office, looking quite dapper in his Hart Shaffner & Marx custom-made blue pinstripe suit, and red power tie. Exuding confidence that Trey was not feeling, Bill literally floated across the room with his hand extended in greeting.

 

“Hello Bill. Please, have a seat,” as he gestured Bill towards a chair at the small round table off in the corner of the office.

 

“Well,” said Bill, as he unbuttoned his coat, and sat down, and slapped both of his hands down on his thighs. “How are you doing?”

 

“Okay. Recruiting, training, field training, and just going a mile a minute,” said Trey forcing a smile he did not feel.

 

“I understand that Fred Thompson is going over to the dark side,” said Bill with a tight smile.

 

“Yeah. He dropped that bit of news on me yesterday,” said Trey, attempting to make it less impactful. “How did you hear about it?”

 

“Oh, I have my sources.”

 

“Well, secrets have never had a long life around Tidewater, especially where HR is involved,” said Trey with a nervous laugh, at the same time wanting to confirm that HR was Bill’s source of information.

 

“You know Trey, this is not good timing. Have you talked to him?”

 

“Yeah. Like I said, I talked to him yesterday. Seems he made the decision to leave this week, and gave me his two weeks notice after my sales meeting yesterday. I told him to take vacation time now, and not to be seeing clients. I have already begun to reassign all of his accounts to other veteran reps. I think we’ll keep the lion’s share of the business on the books,” said Trey quietly, though in his heart he did not believe this to be the case. They are going to follow Fred to SunCo.

 

“That was probably wise, and may stop some of the bleeding. Is there anything I can do to make Fred stay?” asked Bill, all traces of the smile gone.

 

“I don’t think so. His mind seemed pretty well made up.”

 

“What are you going to do to replace his production? He represents what – 20% - of your production?”

 

“No, about 14 or 15%,” said Trey.

 

“Still, that is a lot,” said Bill.

 

“Like I said, I hope to keep most of the business with Tidewater. If not,

recruiting cures many ills,” said Trey confidently.

 

“That it does,” said Bill with a nod of approval.

 

“I have a number of job fairs and hiring events scheduled over the next 60 days, and I am confident that we can replace Fred’s production as well as hit the 10% growth factor that we have as a goal.”

 

“Glad to hear it.”

 

“I just need three or four solid prospects, plus raising the bar on some of the folks who have been here six months or more, and we will be fine. We have a bunch of deals in the pipeline too,” he added quickly.

 

“Good, because you know, they all count towards your end-of-year goals.”

"Yeah, but it would have been nice to still count Fred as one of the team," rued Trey.

 

************************

     Well, at least Bill is going to give me some space to regroup and recover from Fred’s departure. I just need to really hit the recruiting hard, and everything will be fine. Fred was getting way too much attention any way, and I can’t say that I always appreciated the way that he would undermine my authority in the sales meetings by adding his ‘pearls of wisdom’ whenever I was trying make a point. I’ll get the district managers involved, and we’ll be fine, mused Trey as he sat in the dugout a few hours later.

 

“Second to short, on to first, and this ball game is over. Cubs beat the Rockies, 7-5,” said the high school announcer who was practicing his call on the little league field.

 

“Nice game guys. Isn’t it more fun to be a winner than what happened the other night? See what can happen when you stay focused and in the game,” asked Trey, after the team had assembled around him behind the backstop.

 

“Yes Coach,” said the chorus of little leaguers.

 

“Good. Now go home, get some rest, and we’ll see you out here in a couple of days,” said Trey, smiling.

 

“Nice game Mr. Coach Trey,” said Ernie a few minutes later, as she set her shopping bag down on the bench, and sat her self down with a sigh.

 

“Yeah, thanks,” said Trey enthusiastically.

 

“Always more fun to win isn’t it,” asked Ernie with a smile on her ebony face.

 

“You bet it is.”

 

“Do you think your team knows that too?”

 

“Sure they do. I just told them so,” said Trey with another smile.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Do you have something to say to me?” asked Trey, his smile fading.

 

“Well Coach, seems to me that when I was a little girl it was a whole lot easier to catch flies with honey rather than with vinegar.”

 

“This is a baseball team. These boys are not playing T-ball or coach pitch any more. They are playing baseball,” he began.

 

“Baseball aside, they are still little boys,” she responded.

 

“Boys who want to be ball players,” he added.

 

“You know Coach, running a baseball team is like being captain of a ship. You have to keep a firm hand, but also be sensitive to where the ocean wants

you to go or you can literally tear the ship apart,” said the old woman. 

 

“Interesting thought,” mused Trey.

 

“Better analogy. Forget the ship. Leadership of a team or organization is like building a house. You can’t go constructing the second floor until the first floor is done,” she began.

 

“Naturally,” he replied, as he pounded a bat into the ground.

 

“And you can’t even put the walls of the first floor up until you have a solid foundation upon which to build,” she continued.

 

“I’m with you,” he said with a smile.

 

“That foundation is not going to be worth spit if the footings are not resting on solid bedrock,” said the old woman.

 

“I agree.”

 

“That solid foundation or bedrock for any leader has to be the trust and respect of his team, for without it, he’s building on sand,” she said, tapping her cane into the ground now as if it too were a baseball bat.

 

“I don’t care if they like me, it is more important that they respect me. Years from now one of them could be playing in the major leagues and will remember that I helped get him there because I made them all play like winners. I don’t want to be a warm bath memory that they share with their grandchildren about what they did when they were little boys.”

 

“Coach, did you know all the boys and their parents on last year’s championship team?”

 

“Yes, of course,” said Trey, sitting down now too, with his hat pushed back on his head.

 

“Coach, have you gotten to know all of this year’s kids? Their parents?”

 

“Well, uh, not yet,” said Trey lamely.

 

“Have you shared what you see special about each of them? Maybe made a phone call to each of them to get to know them? Thought about maybe an ice cream or soda with them one on one?”

 

“I’ve been really busy with work, so it’s been all I can handle just to get here for all of the practices and the games,” said Trey defensively.

 

“How are you gonna get a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds to think that you believe in them, when you don’t even know them? Remember, they aren’t gonna care what you know, until they know how much you care,” she said, as she started to peel an orange, and offered Trey a piece of the sweet juicy fruit.

 

“I watched your team last year,” she began, as they both enjoyed some of the fruit. “How did you build trust with your boys last year?”

 

“Well, let me think a minute,” he said, sitting back, chewing the orange.  “For starters, I watched them and analyzed their strengths and weaknesses.”

 

“And the proof certainly was in the pudding when they were the champs,” she said, starting to peel another orange.

 

“Absolutely,” he said, licking the juice from his fingers.

 

“When you went to the draft last year,” Ernie said, “what potential did you see in each boy that they may not have seen in themselves that made you draft them for your team? How did you analyze each kid’s strengths and weaknesses and work on them? How did you build on their strengths, and build up their weaknesses once they were on the team,”

 

“Day by day, game by game, and by getting to know them,” replied Trey.

 

“So what is different about this year?” she asked quietly.

 

“I beg your pardon?” he said, a confused look on his face.

“Is it possible that winning is more important to you than it is to them?” she asked, pausing to remove a piece of pulp from her lips.

 

“I don’t think so,” he began slowly.

 

“Mr. Coach Trey, do you have a team vision?”

 

“Yes,” he said quietly.

 

“Have you shared it with them? Or is it just your vision? Seriously, who’s vision

 is it? Whose vision should it be?” she asked quietly.

 

“Uh, I, uh, guess I need to do a better job of sharing the vision with the boys,” conceded Trey, as he unconsciously started piecing together the orange rind that served as the only reminder of the fruit that they had shared.

 

“Not share it, but present it in such a way that there is perfect clarity,” said Ernie.

 

“For the sake of argument, what do you mean by clarity?” asked Trey.

 

“I mean that when someone refers to the vision, it is so clear, so plain to see, that every member of the team understands it, embraces it, and fully appreciates the role they each play in it,” she said exuberantly.

 

“So it is more than just printing it on a poster and slapping it up on the board,” said Trey.

 

“Exactly.”

 

“But Ernie that sounds just like presenting goals to the team,” said Trey with a furrowed brow.

 

“No, no, no. Goals are the desired results of what we need to achieve to make our vision a reality! They may take the form of milestones, objectives, or can be tools by which we measure progress towards or the attainment of our vision,” she explained.

 

“Still sounds like goals to me,” said Trey.

 

“Heck Mr. Coach Trey, let’s think about for a minute. The sales goals that you have for your office are just numbers.  They are important, certainly at corporate, but they are just the statistical measurements of your results. They may or may not really serve as an accurate portrayal or measurement of your success as a leader to inspire and empower attainment of the vision,” she said quietly.

 

“I can see that,” he said slowly.

 

“Mr. Coach Trey, a vision is like a movie. It is something that you feel, and is constantly changing. It is a living, breathing ideal that dictates your actions,” she added, as she noticed that he had neatly reassembled the skin of the orange into a perfect orb. 

 

“This orange would not have been nearly as tasty if a piece of the skin had been missing when I bought it, would it?” asked Ernie.

 

“No ma’am,” said Trey.

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because the rind protects the fruit while it is growing,” he said.

 

“Exactly. Your team is not going to grow nearly as good as the team that you had last year, unless you are just as good as the leader who was the Coach of the Year last season,” she said, plucking another small orange pit from her teeth.

 

“I hear you, Aunt Ernie.” 

 

“Mr. Coach Trey, I think you need to sit here for a while and decide what you need to do to be a good coach to these boys, starting right here and now. If it were me in your shoes, I’d stay here until the sun comes up if I had to, because you plain got lucky tonight. Your team is going to have to get a whole lot stronger or the next time, the Rockies will beat your brains in,” said the old lady, as she got up, and with her shopping bag over one arm, walked towards the parking lot.

Stepping UP TO THE PLATE

The Five Bases of Effective Team Leadership

Read through the pages, grab a bat and swing and round the bases 

 

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