Great Leaders Create New Traditions

MLB’s bold break from tradition models timeless leadership lessons.

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“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti

Major League Baseball (MLB) is giving all leaders a huge gift by showing us exactly what we should all be doing! MLB is breaking tradition with the creation of “Player’s Weekend” and there are a few timeless leadership lessons we should all learn from it.

MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred says the event will “provide two important opportunities” … permit the players to expose their personalities and allow the players to recognize people who were instrumental to their development. These two ‘opportunities’ sound great, however, there is so much more for leaders to observe and learn from the “Player’s Weekend.”

I’m not going to discuss all the details of the weekend event — feel free to ‘Google’ “MLB Player’s Weekend” for more details. I want to focus specifically on how we, as leaders, can learn from MLB’s actions because they provide us with a perfect ‘model’ of how we should take care of our people, our customers, our communities, and our true heroes!

This whole idea of the “Player’s Weekend” is brilliant and can benefit all leaders, regardless of our industry.

First, as stated above, this weekend event seriously breaks tradition. Breaking tradition rocks the status quo. Leaders often need to ‘rock the boat’ and ‘create waves’ to keep their people inspired and motivated. Leaders who never try anything new should be cautious of becoming stagnant. Take risks for the right reasons; you can break tradition while still honoring the past.

Leaders willing to take calculated risks can maximize productivity in their organizations.

Second, the “Player’s Weekend” event was a joint agreement between the MLB Player’s Association and MLB. Great leaders understand the importance of working with others to get the best results. Listening to different perspectives builds camaraderie. People-focused decisions inspire action and excitement for everyone involved. The more people represented, the stronger foundation of respect you build.

Third, this weekend will generate proceeds for the player’s favorite charitable organizations. Players will be able to wear t-shirts on the field while warming up for games that shows off their favorite charitable organizations.

Leaders, you can take similar steps within their organizations by involving their people in community involvement activities and fundraisers. This brings a new level of commitment and service to the workplace.

Forth, this event allows everyone involved to pause and focus on the basics — to look back to their roots and pay tribute to people who helped with their development; their ‘true heroes!’ All leaders can point to a handful of people who had an impact on their careers; a parent, teacher, mentor, coach, boss, etc. Leadership is a journey with many allies along the way. MLB is reminding us all how important it is to honor the people who teach us and instill the basics along our journey. These are our true heroes and should be honored.

Fifth, MLB is connecting with their customers (a.k.a., the fans), on a personal level! One Major League game will be played in conjunction with the Little League World Series, in Williamsport, PA. This is where many of today’s superstars played as Little Leaguers, and many aspiring Major-League players will be participating in this year’s annual LLWS. The majority of the fans in attendance will be Little League players and their families.

Leaders should also connect with their customers on a more personal level. Oftentimes, leaders forget where they came from as they make their way up the ladder of success. Pause to remember where you came from, but don’t stop there; revisit your past and you’ll be amazed the impact you will have.

Finally, MLB is making this fun for the players, the fans, and future fans. This event brings back the atmosphere of what it felt like to be a Little League player for everyone involved. MLB is creating a new way to spark interest in a new ‘colorful’ way. Much like how minor league baseball parks across the nation inject fun activities throughout the game to entertain their audience and pack the stands, MLB is trying to make the ‘game’ of baseball more fun for everyone involved.

Leaders should continuously look for creative ways to inject fun activities into the daily work day. Smiles create positive emotions that can have a ripple effect on everything else within the organization. How can you create some new fun in your workplace?

The bottom line is that tradition has its place and should be honored. The simple fact that MLB is willing to break their time-honored tradition for one weekend speaks volumes about their commitment to the players, fans, and their communities. When comparing to leadership, think about how you can create a new tradition that sparks motivation throughout your organization. What one small change can you do that inspires your people to seek out a new tradition that benefits everyone? Finally, what new tradition can you start at home with your family? It all starts with you… Model the Way!

“Run to Your Challenges… to Achieve Greatness & Stand Out Among Leaders!”

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