BLG Leadership Insights Proactive Leaders

It’s Never about the “I”

Yesterday, my beloved Red Sox pulled off a great comeback. Down 6-0 after 5 1/2 innings they stormed back for a walk-off 8-7 win. It was quite the victory, especially for a team that has underperformed much of the year. At the same time their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, have been falling apart lately thanks to internal strife and uninspired play. Both teams are flush with cash, both teams have rabid fan bases, both teams have talent laden rosters. Why then the current divergent paths?

While there are many different reasons, one stands out: a lack of cohesion.  Whether you are Major League Baseball’s #2 most valuable team ($912 Million) or a small business with five employees, having a common vision is one the true keys to success.

In the case of the Yankees and the Red Sox, we can get a feel of how they are heading in two different direction by looking at two very different player quotes.

Following last night’s aforementioned game, the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia told the Boston Herald:

“The game plan’s winning, that’s it…I tell…all the guys, we’re here to win. It doesn’tmatter if you hit .270, .280 with the personal stuff…It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s what we all do. It’s been fun lately. We’re climbing, man. That’s what we’re going to do. Get on the elevator and go.”

At the same time following their 6th straight loss the Yankees’ Rafael Soriano, who has been sidelined with an arm injury, was asked if it’s been hard watching all the losing from the sidelines, he responded:

“Right now, I don’t think the bullpen (is) the problem. It (is) the hitters. A lot of games we’ve been losing by two or three runs, I wouldn’t be in those games anyway.”

When you have true continuity, when you have a true sense of commonality, it shows. As a pragmatic and proactive leader it is this level of togetherness that must be attained to succeed. You want more “we” and less “I”.  It works in baseball, it works in business and it works in life.

Right about now you might be asking, “Hey Sean, it’s easy to be a positive, team player when things are going great, how about when you’re in the pits?” Glad you asked. When the Red Sox started the 2011 season 0-6, Dustin Pedroia responded to doubters by telling reporters:

“You’re either two feet in now or you’re two feet out. Let us know now because we’re coming.”

Even in the roughest of times, it’s about a shared sense of responsibility and accountability. If this message never wavers, then you have a better chance at success.

As far as the Yankees go, it’s now up to their leader/manager, Joe Girardi, to get his team on the same page. No more “I” and “me” and a lot more “us” and “we”. As simple or as difficult as it might sound, if you can gather your direct reports into a tight, cohesive team, then no amount of six-game losing streaks can keep the whole from succeeding.