Way to Go Astros!: Eight Leadership Lessons from the World Series

Congratulations Astros and Houston! The win is well-deserved and a great boon for the franchise and the city.

As I watched this incredibly exciting Series, it became evident that there are some pertinent leadership lessons to be gained, once again, from the world of sports:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice: As always, we’re shown that to do anything well requires constant practice. I was struck, for example, by how much time pitchers spend in the bullpen. They never just walk up cold to the mound. How often do we approach things cold and without adequate preparation?
  2. Strategize and Adjust In-The-Moment: It is common for managers and catchers to consult with the pitcher at tipping points in the game and make adjustments. How often do we take time for a quick re-assessment versus just waiting until after things have happened? Post-Mortems are often too late.
  3. Mistakes Will Be Made By Everyone: No one is mistake-free during most games. Either they’ll make an error in the field or they’ll strike out. Do we allow for people to make legitimate mistakes, move-on and learn from them?
  4. Constantly Assess Talent: The manager and pitching coach are constantly assessing the latest, in-the-moment performance of the pitcher. (It’s true of other players, too. But it’s most obvious with the pitcher.) How often do you assess the talent in your key positions?
  5. Change Out Poor Performing Leaders: OK, I’m not advocating that every time someone makes a mistake they’re out (i.e. pitchers who have a few bad moments). But, there is a lesson here. Too many leaders allow “pitchers” to go on for multiple “innings, games, and seasons!” Are you willing to make the hard calls?
  6. Temper Tantrums Are Bad Form, Unprofessional and Never Look Good: Throwing bats and hats after a terrible play looks exactly like what it is – immature. I lose respect for leaders who cannot manage their automatic reactivity. Step back and observe yourself. “Get into the bleachers.” How do you look from a distance in times of stress?
  7. Patience: The Astros have been waiting 56 years for this. The many losses must have been grueling and be defeating. Nonetheless, they persevered. There are the stories of Lincoln, Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Colonel Sanders, and many others who experienced multiple failures before they made it big. How much patience do you have for yourself?
  8. Celebrate: Houston and the Astros celebrated big time! Even small wins deserve to be noticed. Don’t miss the opportunities. People appreciate it more than we think!

Thank you, Astros!