Last week, Jacob’s first traveling baseball season came to an end at the league championship game. Unfortunately, the boys lost but it did not detract from a super season. The 12 boys started practicing in April, and while none of them had been through a traveling season, they managed an overall record of 29-13-1. That’s an impressive record.
The season had many highlights, but for me the best one came in June, when the boys completed a perfect weekend and won the Farmington tournament. This happened in the midst of a 10 game winning streak, and enabled berths in two state tournaments.
As an assistant coach, I had the pleasure of watching these kids grow from a skills perspective, a baseball IQ perspective and overall maturity as young men. There were some that could not throw the ball from second base to first, but now can make that play routinely. There were some who were afraid of getting hit by the ball, but now can hit inside pitches. Playing 43 games and practicing more on top of that made the difference.
When I think of my own son, I think the biggest thing he got was the love for the game. He was mostly sad last week about being done with the season. He has decided to play on a fall team because he loves to play.
What does a metronome have to do with management?
A couple of weeks ago I received the results of the employee opinion survey. It’s hard to stomach reading about your failings as a leader, but if one can manage to set the ego aside, it can prove to be quite useful to find some improvement opportunities. The answer isn’t always what is obvious, but with some deeper analysis often some useful nuggets can be unearthed.
In my case, I was able to trace back a few key issues to a simple and common problem — communication. Specifically, my team felt that the information did not flow consistently and a couple of key topics. After having the sort of year we had, with the lack of a leader for over half of 2010, it wasn’t really a big surprise that I saw that feedback.
To respond to it, I have adopted the theme of rhythm. Rhythm is defined as the uniform or recurrence of a beat, accent or the like. In this context, I am applying rhythm by making sure that regular communication meetings, employee 1:1 meetings among others are prioritized and carried out. People tend to appreciate a level of structure that they can count on. It is kind of like a metronome is used by a musician. Even if they choose to complain about more meetings, they actually do want those frequent touch points. I also used to complain when a metronome was brought out when practicing piano!
This seems obvious, maybe, but the ability to respond, adapt and sustain new leadership habits is another example of a Big Play. So far, so good for me after making this choice. The feedback has been positive, and it has done a lot to help me reconnect with my team.