Learn to Love the Process not the Result
Over a long weekend, watching my son and his team experience the highs and lows of competitive baseball, I had a very cathartic conversation with one of his baseball coaches over a 2-hour wait until they played again. We talked about baseball, the military, and everything in between. One thing he said to me I’ve known for as long as I can remember, but this time it really struck me and has been rattling around in my head. As we were talking about baseball, he said “you have to learn to love the process and not the result”.
Some context. This particular coach on my son’s team was drafted by the Brewers in the mid 90s and unfortunately never made out of the college ranks. He received high level coaching and advice from a young age through his early twenties about how to play baseball at a highly competitive level. And now he is the head coach for his older son’s team and an assistant coach for his younger son’s teams of which my son is member, imparting his knowledge and wisdom, developing these boys into young men.
Through the course of our conversation I could not help but think about the correlation to and lessons for developing leaders, whether aspiring or seasoned, the message was the same.
The process of developing the skills to play baseball is a paradox, it’s simple yet complex. Throw the ball catch the ball, see the ball hit the ball, simple, yet it’s important to have the right arm angle and body posture all in sync to throw a 96 mph strike or hit to the opposite field, complex.
Developing the skills to play baseball is much like developing the skills to be an effective leader. Simple, from the perspective that a leader has a title now and tells others what to do and they do it, but complex from the perspective that the leader needs to understand how to emotionally connect with each one of his or her direct reports and engage them on an individual basis to motivate them to want to do something on their own accord. The first perspective represents a result. You have a title and now tell people what to do. While the latter perspective represents the process. The process of learning about self, learning about others, and learning about the context in which one is leading.
As one develops into a successful and effective baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently (yet, a career .300 batting average might be HOF worthy).
To me, this looks like the same process a mentally tough, emotionally strong, ego-in-check, leader would follow to develop their leadership skills. While it is true some are born predisposed to be great athletes, the same is true for leaders, however, the process remains the same, simple, yet complex. Add or expand to the complexity by thinking about a specific position such as a catcher or from a business perspective an overseas assignment.
A leader needs to learn to love the development process not the result. If a leader can learn to love the process they will likely get an even better result (At EDGE BMC we believe in leveraging the 70-20-10 development process).
You can read a book about baseball, watch a video, but there is nothing quite like going out to a diamond, experiencing baseball for yourself and going through the development process. Such is the same for leadership, reading the latest NYT bestseller or attending a workshop does not make you a better leader. You have to actually practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently. Can you succeed your first time out? Sure you can, but don’t get complacent, cocky, and careless.
As one develops into a successful and effective leader or baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently.
Think about all the successful people in your life, they’ve ascended to the levels they are at because they learned to love the development process. They learned that failure is okay as long as it turns into learning and a new beginning requires something else to end.
Whether you are a struggling small business owner, a highly successful athlete, you have to learn to love the process. The process is going to be hard work in the end, but the pay-off will be much greater, the result will more rewarding when you fall in love with the process.
Chase’s Head Coach on why we do this for our kids:
We do it for the excitement on our kids faces when they win a championship game. We do it because being part of a team is a valuable lesson. We do it because sometimes we lose and learning to lose gracefully is a valuable lesson. Lastly we do it because when down 7 runs, and nothing seems to be going right, perseverance, teamwork and determination made our kids successful. There are few other activities that teach kids these lessons outside of competition.
EDGE Business Management Consulting, a Network Partner with the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth. We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.
For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit our website at www.edgebmc.com.