Baseball is a game of learned and practiced skills. It requires repetitive building of skills to be successful: thousands of ground balls, hours in the batting cage, and throwing until your arm is rubber. Leadership is exactly the same. Great leaders are not born. They emerge through the application of principles and skills on a consistent basis. Leaders must constantly practice and hone their skill-set in coaching, listening, planning from their purpose and vision, enrolling allies or a team, and then empowering them to take the lead and create results.
Baseball is a game of collective results. The same is true in Leadership. Regardless of ominous personal failures, which leaders realize is simply feedback and information from which to grow, or even with spectacular personal victories, it still boils down to wins and losses. And wins and losses are also known as the results you want or don't want. Regardless of the quality of a strategic plan produced by a leader, success hinges on the leader's ability to execute the plan. Ultimate success is found in the leader performing better as a result of the action and not just for the action itself.
Baseball is a game that rewards the clever. As with adaptability, baseball games often hinge on the smallest and most ingenious plays: a pick-off at first base, a hit and run with two outs or a squeeze bunt. Leaders too will be rewarded for cleverness, creativity and ability to invent. Rather than simply replicating the results of predecessors or maintaining the status quo, today's leader is required to seek different and creative methods and solutions. They are called to play a bigger game.
Baseball is a beautiful game when played well: the pivot at second base during a double play, a two hit shut-out and the grand slam! Leadership is also a beautiful thing to behold when it is done from a win/win stance, where long-term relationships are built on mutual interests and the leader and his/her circle of influence are creating the results they want in their life. In baseball, you've got to let go of first base to round the bases for the score. The same is true as a leader. Leave your comfort zone and create the score!
In order to play a bigger game and get the results you want in life, you must leave your Comfort Zone. With whatever outcome you want to achieve, ask yourself the following questions:
Remember, leaving your Comfort Zone is a risk. And so is staying within your Comfort Zone. There is always a risk and leaders are willing to risk!
Originally posted in "Source Points" Newsletter, Source Point Training, October, 14, 2010