O.K…I’m a sports dork.
I readily admit it. As I write, I am watching the Little League World Series game, Canada vs. Mexico. I am neither Canadian nor Mexican and I don’t know anyone on the teams. However, I love the purity of the game.
The players are respectful of each other. The teams compete on the field, but then live and eat together in the “Grove” in Williamsport. The players are respectful of their coaches and the umpires – and the coaches and umpires are respectful of the players and each other.
Everyone wants to win but if they lose, they do so with grace. There is no arguing calls. No bats are slammed to the ground. In a game earlier this week, I saw the third baseman for one team congratulate the base runner from the other team as he rounded the bases after hitting a homerun. Imagine that type of gesture in business.
Where does this behavior come from?
It all starts with how the league trains its coaches and umpires. They pass on the expecatations to the players and their parents. There are shared goals and a shared understanding of what is expected from all parties. Any behavior that is counter to the good of the team and the good of the league is dealt with appropriately.
The League’s mission statement explains:
Little League Baseball, Incorporated is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “to promote, develop, supervise, and voluntarily assist in all lawful ways, the interest of those who will participate in Little League Baseball and Softball.”
Through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty, the Little League Baseball and Softball program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than superior athletes.
Imagine a workplace focused on developing others as good individuals and team members, rather than superstars in their specific field.
Imagine the possibilities if we started every business day the way Little League games start: by gathering the team together and reciting a common pledge, and then going out and living it together.
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best.
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