The Baltimore Orioles are 5-1 and in first place in the AL East! Who would have thought that the team with the 2nd most losses of any AL team since 1997 would be off to such a good start? Manager Buck Showalter would, that’s who and he has the Orioles’ players believing it as well.
In the March 28th edition of Sports Illustrated, the great baseball writer Tom Verducci profiled this excellent leader. Below are some of the quotes and principles that all leaders can apply, especially if you are looking for major improvement or to have your team perform at another level.
- Attention To Detail – Showalter managed the last 57 games of the Orioles 2010 season. He now carries a leather black notebook with all the details learned from last season. Leaders, are you focused and keep an account of your team’s performance that can be used for development?
- Intelligence – “Dumb players will get you fired.” – Billy Martin
- Teaching – “This (spring training) and the postseason are the best times of the year…It’s teaching…We’re going to go over this today, this is important, trust me. It will be the difference in winning or losing a game.”
- Persistence – “Guys, listen. It’s the middle of spring training…The novelty of spring training has worn off, and you can’t see the finish line. I’ve been doing this 20, 30 years. It happens every spring to everybody at some point. But you have to push through it. It’s a mental and emotional discipline.”
- Continually Learning – “The other day I learned something about staying out of the double play in a first-and-third situation I never had heard before.” – 14-year veteran Derek Lee on what Showalter taught.
- Take Nothing For Granted – “That’s six to 10 outs a year we save if we do it (point #5) right.” – .2% of the 4000 outs a team has in a baseball season.
- Preparation – “When you see guys doing a lot of coaching during the game, they haven’t done their homework.” – Buck’s dad Bill
- Efficiency – “The one word to describe this camp is efficient. Everything he does has a purpose. He’s on top of everything.” – CF Adam Jones
- Activity vs. Accomplishment – “He likes to win. Too many people around here got used to losing. At the end of the game if we lost and they played good, they were O.K. with that. He won’t be.” – Jones
- Proactive – “Let’s not constantly be reacting. Let’s take it to them.” – on letting other teams take them for granted or intimidating them.
- Influence – “I never dreamed he would have the impact he did just by walking through the door.” – team president Andy MacPhail. The team had a winning percentage of .305 before Showalter, .596 after he arrived in ’10.
- Ownership – “I don’t want to hear Yankees fans and Red Sox fans at our ballpark.”
- Accountability – “You’re in Seattle, it’s 12:30 at night back in Baltimore and somebody is sitting in front of the TV living and dying with everything you’re (the players) doing. And you better take that seriously.”
- Accomplishment – “I have an emotional moment ever day where a guy gets it.”
- “We’re a product of things we’ve been exposed to over the years.” – Showalter on changing over the years.
It would be great to have the Orioles playing games that matter again in September and October. With Buck Showalter leading this team, that just may happen. Leaders, this is a tough question but I have to ask it – With you in charge, will your team be in position to do things that matter? If not, apply the 15 principles listed and see the changes they can make.
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