I spent my entire day yesterday with two of our team members at Growing Leaders in Surprise, Arizona. Jeremy Slayden, Holly Moore and I were back at spring training with the Kansas City Royals, for the third season. They are taking their minor league players through the third round of “Habitudes For Athletes.”
Dayton Moore, the General Manager of the Royals, gets it. He is committed to building leaders of character on those teams, knowing that if he grows boys into men, he will eventually gain better ballplayers who keep their poise in close games, and who see the big picture and make a contribution to the team both on and off the field. Dayton said to me, “We have a simple rule with our baseball club. We want to hire managers, and recruit players that we would want our sons to look up to and play under some day.”
Dayton knows if he can nurture a leadership perspective in ballplayers, he can turn potential into performance. He understands something very valuable. Becoming a focused leader doesn’t give you more talent. It just harnesses every ounce of talent you have inside of you.” We are sold. He is transforming the culture in that organization.
Last week, I read an article that illustrates what I am talking about. Damion James, is a star player for the Texas Longhorn basketball team. A year ago, before his senior season, he attended an NBA try out, seeking whether a professional team may want what he has. He returned to the Longhorns for his senior year, reporting that the NBA said to him: “Go back and finish your senior year. You need to think more like a leader.” Bingo. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the talent to play in the NBA. But his thinking needed to mature. Leadership lessons like seeing the big picture, leveraging positive influence on the rest of the team, and staying focused are all part of that growth. In fact, young athletes have three deep needs today:
1. Emotional Intelligence
2. Moral Intelligence
3. Leadership Intelligence
This is why I am sold on our mission at Growing Leaders. We are partnering with athletic programs in high schools, colleges and professional clubs helping them to build character, not just talent; strengthening their backbone not just their bicep. This is what Dayton Moore is building in Kansas City.
My hope is — this is what you are building where you are.