Leadership Journey

Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader? Part 2

Earlier in the week we discussed bob feller quotethe four things that die-hard baseball fans value more than winning: Pure Entertainment, Authenticity, Fan Bonding, and History and Tradition.

What can we learn about being a die-hard leader from loyal baseball fans?

Pure Entertainment – The die-hard leader is excited about the process it takes to win, not just winning.

Authenticity – The die-hard leader is committed to what is best for the team.

Fan Bonding – The die-hard leader has earned the respect and admiration of their team through demonstrations of character.

History and Tradition – The die-hard leader always makes decisions based on a foundation of core values.

Hall of fame pitcher Bob Feller said, “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day…”

“The team with a die-hard leader will not only know how to be successful, but to stay successful.” – Denis McLaughlin


Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader?

Aint over till its overForbes Magazine just published its list of the Most Loyal Fans in Baseball.  You may find it surprising that four things ranked higher than the win/loss record in keeping loyal fans.

Pure Entertainment – How exciting is it to watch the team play?

Authenticity – How well does the team play as a team?

Fan Bonding – Are players respected and admired?

History and Tradition – Is the team part of the fans’ institutions and beliefs?

These four items are important for the die-hard fan as well as the fair-weather fan.  The difference is that when their team is losing, the die-hard fan stays to cheer them back to success, while the fair-weather fan looks for another team that is winning.

Any leader can be engaged and excited and passionate to lead in the good times. What happens to that same leader when success turns to failure, when the environment changes, when investors leave, when the economy slows, when your products don’t sell – What happens when your team stops winning? 

Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader?

“The real leader, the die-hard leader, is still there when build turns to re-build.” – Denis McLaughlin

You are a mentor and are being mentored every day – Part 2

In my last post I discussed how we came to use the word mentor to mean a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.  It originated with the Greek classic The Odyssey where Mentor was a man whom the king appointed to protect and counsel his family while he was away at war.

Through that story we saw that until Mentor was filled with wisdom, he fell far short of his role as protector and counselor.

If you are a mentor to someone else, how can you be sure you are giving wise counsel?

If you have a mentor, how can you be sure you are receiving wise counsel?

Read More…

The Balancing Act of Success

It’s that time of year again: annual reviews, when all leaders document the successes of the past year.

Many times leaders feel like the circus performer balancing plates; there are so many demands, which ones do I focus on?

Leaders are required to deliver shareholder returns, customer satisfaction and employee engagement; all which are integral to the successful company.

How did you do last year balancing the success of those that invest in your company – Shareholders and Customers – with those that are your company – Employees?

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Control – Successful Leaders Let Go


The most important step in letting your leadership team grow – letting your control go.

At some point you have taught your leaders enough, and they are ready to be successful on their own. But they will never reach their best unless you release them to try.

Releasing control is easier than you may think.  It’s just like when your child rides their bike for the first time without training wheels. You run next to them, holding onto the back of the bike until they get up enough speed, then you do it…You let go of the bike and they ride as you encourage them with every turn of the wheel.

A successful leader stops running and lets their leaders get the feel of leadership.

Let your leaders run the meetings and projects and make decisions. Stay close by their side to remind them of all that they’ve learned, and encourage their leadership skills.

Successful Leaders Don’t Rock the Boat

Successful sailboat captains can attest to one sure thing: As long as a boat is moving, it’s rocking.

You see, in leadership, just as in boating, you can’t expect calm waters to move you forward toward success. The only time you don’t feel the boat rocking is when you aren’t in the boat; the faster you are moving forward, the more the boat rocks.

As a successful leader you should remember this lesson: If your team is moving forward, then the boat will already be rocking. If your team is not moving forward, then no amount of rocking will make the boat move forward.

If you want to make a difference in this world, if you want to be a successful leader, don’t rock the boat; use the waves of success to lift and carry you forward.

Leadership Vision Set Into Motion

Whether you are starting a new team, or just became the leader of an existing one, things will be different for this particular set of people on this particular team.  They might all buy into the goals you set, but your vision for how to achieve those goals will be unique and new.

For your vision to be effective you have to set it into motion.

The best way to set your vision into motion is through success.  And the best type of success is that which consistently delivers many small successes for each team member.

Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic said:

“Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.”

I call this “stepping up the stairs” quick winsFor quick wins to be effective they must both support your vision, and have an immediate impact on your team. Your team needs to see progress toward the goals, and feel their job satisfaction improving. Pick five to eight things that you can personally drive to success and make them happen.  This will set your vision into motion.

The ABC’s of Successful Leaders: Get The Best Information

Benjamin Disraeli was a prominent member of the British government during the 1800s. He served in leadership positions for three decades including twice as prime minister. Disraeli said:

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes…The more extensive a man’s knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do.”

In order for you to be a success as a leader you need to understand the conditions in and around your team.

A) What internal and external pressures HAS the team faced in the past?

B) What internal and external pressures IS the team facing now?

C) What internal and external pressures WILL the team face in the future?

Here is the process to gain that understanding:

A) Look for information that already exists in books, surveys, or websites – This is a great place to learn what did happen and what is happening

B) Listen to people with information gained through experience -Talk to your team, your boss, experts in the industry

C) Learn what people need by analyzing the two together – Decide how you will achieve your goals now that you understand the conditions

The information you gather by looking, listening, and learning will be that on which you base all future steps to successful leadership.


Leaders with a history of success have developed a habit of working hard to achieve their success.

Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” How does winning become a habit? Sarah Knowles Bolton, a press correspondent and author of the late 1800s, wrote several books that summarized the lives of successful people: statesmen, artists, and scientists, to name a few. In her research she found that “The victory of success is half done when one gains the habit of work.”

The word habit is usually associated with something bad that needs to be stopped.  Hard work is one habit that you can be proud to claim. Does your history of success show that you have developed the habit of hard work?

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