In the wake of the cheating scandal in Major League Baseball over the past several days I want to chime in about something that I often talk about in my keynotes and workshops, how we all want to win.
Winning feels great, and I often say, 'we all want to win'. We all strive to win, and in fact it drives many of the choices we make. In Lead Me Out to the Ballgame we shared how Creating a Winning Culture is one of the most important Bases of Major League Leadership. Let me be very clear here though, creating a winning culture, is not the same as winning at all costs.
Creating a winning culture, as we defined it based on our interviews with over 100 Major League Baseball players and managers, occurs when a manager, a leader, embodies leadership. When the leader does things the ‘right way’, encourages his or her team to follow based on the example they set, and creates an environment where their team wants to work their hardest to bring about positive results. A winning culture is not, I repeat, not, creating an environment where winning supersedes all else! A winning culture on a baseball team, in a boardroom, or on a shop floor, is when people all work together towards a goal of achieving something that they can be proud of, a goal that those outside of the organization, when they hear about the process as well as the outcome, are proud of as well.
Issues arise for people in all industries and at all levels when their goal shifts from creating a winning, positive culture, to a focus on winning for status, winning for rewards, and quite frankly, winning just for the sake of winning.
Over the past several days we’ve seen a serious issue emerge in Major League Baseball. We’ve seen three managers, one who never even had a chance to prove himself, be removed, or walk away from their positions. These managers, it appears, were involved in a process where they disregarded the rules so that they could obtain an edge and win. Their actions insulted the game and all those who follow the rules to achieve success. Their actions did not lead to a win, they led to deceit, an asterisk, and disgrace.
I hope that as we move forward from this we can remember an important lesson, a focus on a winning culture will lead to long term positive impact for our team and for our organization, and this is the win we should all seek.
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