Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Billy" Beane for the Disruption

Like most kids I played baseball growing up, Little League and then Senior League, before giving it up for track in high school. It was fun hanging out with friends, developing rivalries with the other teams, yelling hey batter batter batter.....swing, from the dugout. I have to admit that I don't follow baseball very close anymore, I don't know many players names and only keep up with the AZ Diamondbacks, who are doing very well I might add:-). Despite me not knowing every stat of every player in the league, there are many amazing baseball stories that have inspired countless books and movies over the years.

I recently went to see Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, "A story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players." Like any Hollywood movie based on a true story, I am sure there were a number of changes to keep things interesting and people planted in the seats, but what I took away from the movie was very simple. Beane brought disruption to the organization. By using sabermetrics to build his team, he caused discomfort to the traditionalist of the game and was quickly criticized when the team got off to a rough start.
Sound Familiar
The wheels in my head were spinning throughout the movie as I kept thinking about how disruption is so difficult for most people to accept and when it happens, how quickly the change is condemned unless there is immediate success. Once Beane had his team together, he used stats to build relationships with the players and it gave them an understanding of the why...sound familiar? I won't give away a few great scenes in the movie where others have their aha moments, but there are a number of them that could be used with staff as examples of how change can be something positive and professionally stimulating.

Final Quote
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not a die hard baseball fan and I am sure there are many arguments by purist that may argue Beane's methods of constructing a baseball team. However I think many scenes in this movie will be used by leaders as examples that disruption is not a bad word and changing the way we have always done things is OK. I will leave you with my favorite quote from the movie, "adapt or die!"       

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nothing Without It
I recently was having a conversation with someone and the topic of discussion was successful teams/departments and the relationships among them. While we were discussing the qualities of the leaders that have built these great teams, this person said something which I found puzzling. They said that the person didn't really matter to them, just what they had to say. It quickly put things into perspective about this person, but also confirmed for me the importance of relationships when attempting to build a solid team or connect with anyone for that matter. 

Long Term
So what does it take to build relationships that will leave people truly listening to what you are I believe John Maxwell puts it in very simple terms, "In reality, trust is necessary in ALL good relationships. Good marriages, business relationships, and friendships all require trust. Without it, there can be no open and honest interaction, and the relationship will be only temporary". Have you ever watched a group of people follow someone they don't trust, or work collaboratively together, or sustain a relationship that proves successful over a long period of time? Temporary relationships may yield quick outcomes, but not long term growth.


Build Them
Relationships exists at every level within a school district and building them is critical for the success of the organization. Everyone must take responsibility for building them, admin-staff, teacher-student, teacher-parent, the list could go on. If we are to build more than a short term relationship between individuals, we must build trust. I was sent a post by Mike Myatt recently, via @LarryLaPrise, that addressed leadership and presence. One takeaway for me was, "Leadership is about trust, stewardship, care, concern, service, humility and understanding. If you build into those you lead, if you make them better, if you add value to their lives then you will have earned their trust and loyalty. This is the type of bond that will span positional and philosophical gaps, survive mistakes, challenges, downturns and other obstacles that will inevitably occur".

Building relationships, it is the foundation in my opinion, that will allow a successful structure to be built. It opens the door for genuine collaboration, interaction between customer and business, school and students, teacher and parents. And just think, when people are listening to each other, they may just matter.