June 18, 2013

Just Win, Baby

“Just Win, Baby” is a quote made popular by the late NFL owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, but are youth coaches taking this phrase too literally?  Are youth coaches killing your child’s desire to play sports?  I have 2 teenagers and a 10 year old that have been in youth sports since early on in their lives.  If you have been around youth sports, you too have undoubtedly seen the overzealous coach on the sideline yelling at a kid to do better, but what about when the coach puts winning in front of everything else; in front of learning, in front of having fun and even in front of your child’s safety?  In youth travel baseball, this is all too common! A coach’s approach to your child’s sports “career” should be EXACTLY like building a business for long term success.

Creating a solid foundation is the key to “winning” whether you are talking about delivering a project, executing a large program or achieving long term business goals.  Too often, short term focus (and even success) can cloud the long term sustainability of business objectives.  In youth sports, the coach’s goal ought to be to teach or build upon the fundamental skills that a child has while AT THE SAME TIME ensuring he or she enjoys the sport and actually wants to continue playing the next year.  If a child gets to high school and is burnt out of a sport or has little desire to play, youth coaching has failed!

Just like in business, if the long term vision and objectives are compromised by poor near term decisions, ultimately “winning” will be jeopardized.  Admittedly, this is an easy trap into which any business or leadership team could fall.  Staying the course on a vision that you absolutely believe will be successful is NOT trivial.  It will be challenged openly and sometimes indirectly.  Find the courage to keep your eye on the end game and make the near term decisions that are building your foundation to business success.  At Kenway Consulting, we take our mantra of “Guidance for the Road Ahead” very seriously.  We operate with a proven methodology, and more importantly upon a set of guiding principles allowing us to provide clients the guidance necessary to reach long term objectives.

So, the next time you are at a youth travel baseball game, and the coach wants to teach your 11 year old how to throw curve balls, STOP them!  Curve balls at 11 years old may bring short term success, but your child will have no arm left by the time they enter high school.  The next time you are in a business meeting and see short term decisions jeopardizing your business foundation, challenge them as if you were protecting your child from “that coach”.

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