Performance under pressure. Watching it is amazing. Most of us have jobs that have pressure, though we don’t have 10 million viewers watching everything we do and analyzing all of our decisions. The pressure of sports represents the ultimate in reality TV. This week, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. While their players peaked at the right time — as individual athletes and as a team — what I found more impressive head coach Ned Yost, who has dedicated the last five years of his life building a winning team while being a part of a winning organization.
It is never too late to build a winning team. Having won the 2015 World Series at age 61, Yost enjoyed the height of his sport. He was a Major League player, but played little as a backup catcher with a lifetime batting average of .212. As a coach and then as a manager for the Milwaukee Brewers and then the Kansas City Royals, he has had a lifetime winning percentage under .500. In the past 5 years, however, he set out to do what his lifetime of experience taught him to do — build a winning team from the ground up. Congratulations, Ned, in building and then leading a championship team.
As an executive coach, I’m fascinated to study the hard decisions Yost made three or four years ago to win this year’s World Series. And what about the coaches and scouts he let go? The new individuals he hired had unwavering loyalty to him and his vision. I believe the naysayers who professed he would fail did so because they were protecting their own selfish perspectives — the “egos” who could not imagine Yost’s success without their influence and expertise. Yes, removing the negative influences was important and continues to be as new negative influences emerge. More important, however, is building an organization and a team that can truly rally around a winning vision — with unshakable will to succeed, steeped in humility — that you will find the true story of Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals.
The same truth lies within in you and me. What will we choose? Do we have the same conviction to do the right thing in our organizations? Are we strong enough to weed out the naysayers and build on the talents of internally motivated people who want to help others win?
The following represents some of my thoughts to build a team to win in 2016. Team members must be all in with the following:
- Commitment to win each day
- Commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve the shared goals of the team
- Be a wellspring of enthusiasm
- Accountability first to themselves and then others
- Relentless pursuit of the execution of mutually agreed upon business strategies
- Shared core values of collaboration, transparency, respect, trust, and helpfulness.
- Embrace challenges and learning opportunities
- Get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it.
- Enjoy life!
I believe next year we will be raising the Jolly Roger in Pittsburgh, because I see the same commitment with the Pirates organization that we have witnessed in Kansas City. Let’s go, Bucs!
Human relations principle of the week: “Throw down a challenge!” ~ Dale Carnegie