Greatness is elusive. It’s like mercury, constantly shifting and forming in unexpected ways, responding to the changing influences, cultures and values in our life. Imagine if greatness were grounded in one simple principle: being a better teammate. What would that look like?
I’ve enjoyed watching a talented young shortstop, Jose Iglesias, make his way through the big leagues. His speed and flashy gymnastic plays seem to defy the laws of physics. When Iggy (his nickname) is on the field, it’s like watching mercury. You never know what’s going to happen. Check out the images below, and then ask yourself, “Would I want this guy on my team?”
Things were going along swimmingly until he missed an entire season due to stress fractures in his shins. He struggled when he came back. Then, IT happened. A public brawl, last August, in the dugout when the catcher accused Iggy of not hustling. Watch the whole 41 seconds of video because it ends with an experienced teammate getting Iggy by the scruff of the neck and adding his own two cents. You’ll see Gene LaMont, the veteran bench coach, try to put an end to it, like Dad would with a bunch of fighting brothers. Click Here to launch it.
Bottom line: Iglesias responded poorly, and frankly, people turned on him a bit. Why? Baseball is a team sport (and so is business, by the way). All the flashy plays on earth won’t make a bit of difference if the team doesn’t win. More importantly, if talented players like Iglesias aren’t coachable, then they won’t help the team. They will hurt the team.
Fast forward to this week. I read a remarkable article about Iglesias. Apparently that unfortunate moment in the dugout had an impact on him. He approached the coaching staff and asked the question: “How do I become a better teammate?”
Wow. Imagine if you had an employee come to you and ask that question! I would go to the ends of the earth to help someone who had that talent combined with a deep desire to improve. That’s the whole package, and people like that don’t come a long very often.
Here’s how the article about Iglesias ends (click here to read the whole article):
Ausmus and Vizquel had the maturity talk with Iglesias at the end of last season. They laid out what they expected of him as a player and, more importantly, as a teammate. But, impressively, that meeting came at Iglesias’ request. He initiated the meeting. He wanted to know what he needed to do to be a better teammate.
“When you are young, you don’t see things,” Iglesias said. “Later on you realize it’s important. At the end of the day, it’s a process. We’ve all been through our 20s, you know? It’s all about making adjustments. It depends on who you want to be. If you want to be great, you make adjustments.”
Adjustments can come in the form of being a better teammate. Iggy has already mastered his craft on the field – that’s the player part of the equation. Now, he’s working on the off the field stuff – that’s the teammate part of the equation. We need both. When we have both, the “we” in team is present.
This is the value proposition of my new program, No Teammate Left Behind (click here to learn more). When we know our strengths, and the strengths of those we work with, we have information that helps us be better teammates.
Think about those people you engage with who are subject matter expects – doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, accountants, leaders, chefs – they’ve got the talent, knowledge, skills and experience to be great. That’s their ticket to the game. How many of them are willing to ask themselves, “How do I become a better teammate?”
Greatness – ultimate, holistic greatness – lies in the answer to that question. It’s a differentiator, and offers a competitive advantage to the organization. Teams like that reach Destination Unstoppable (that’s the name of my new book – more on that soon.)
I’m on all kinds of teams. Family teams. Client teams. Friendship teams. How do I become a better teammate? I can become a better teammate by having the courage to head down that road leading to the unknown. Like Iglesias, if I make that choice, I will be in a different spot at the end of the season.
I’m going to think about it today and identify three “adjustments” that will help me improve. I invite you to do the same, and let’s talk about the results!
Maureen Ideation | Strategic | Learner | Achiever | Individualization | Maximizer