Purpose, Priority, and People

Several months ago, I went to my high school for a reunion honoring the state baseball championship teams that I was fortunate to play on.  It was great to see many of my old teammates and getting caught up on what they have been doing the last 38+ years.  It was also great to see our coach!  He had spent so much time with us over those three years.

From that reunion, I noticed a few things that really caused me to think:

  1. The current players weren’t that impressed.  Even though they hadn’t even won a district championship since we left, they didn’t seem to really care about a bunch of old guys delaying the start of their game.  Old accomplishments don’t mean that much to most folks.
  2. I was reminded that relationships with teammates were the best memories!  Yes, winning was great, but winning with these guys was the special part.  We grew up together!
  3. As I talked to former teammates, I was reminded that influence lives on well beyond our presence. 

On my drive home that night, I was reminded of a few things related to my current leadership role that applies to each of us:

  1. We need to have a clear purpose in what we are doing and that purpose has to include people.  Purpose has to include “who” and not just “what”.  Profits without People is not going to be very fulfilling.  Ya, you may think so, but financial or operational success is fine for the moment, but that’s not what provides lasting fulfillment.  Sure, we have to generate business success to stay in the game, but that has to be achieved with people benefiting too!  It has to be both!  People have to be a big part of our focus! (reference paragraph above)
  2. When thinking about measuring success, focus on potential and not what others are doing or what we have done in the past.  Be honest with yourself and your team.  Identify the capability, define the win each day, and continually work on growing the capability.   When you focus on capability, it allows your people to have a legitimate opportunity to experience a desirable work environment and still achieve business results!  There’s only one champion crowned each year in a given sports classification, but there are a lot of teams that can be successful! (reaching potential is the key)
  3. Simplify everything you can and execute every second!  I recall talking to our coach that reunion day about all of those long practices where we just hit for hours.  He told us that we were all good enough on our own to make routine plays, but he wanted to make sure we could hit.  We seldom worked on defense, never worked on base running, and just found a few guys that could throw pretty well; but oh could we hit.  That was a simple plan and with a lot of hard work, we executed it so well.   Business operations are no different.  Simplify to a few things that really matter and execute at a high level every time!  You, the leader, have to figure out what that is for your team, block out the other noise, and then work with your people to execute!

Key takeaways:  Purpose, People, Potential, Simplify, and Execute

Five simple words that can change everything for a leader and ultimately for everyone in the organization!

For a copy of the book “Leadership Basics for Success” see:  Blurb.com and search for the title.  This book was used several years ago in facility leadership development.

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