It happens in Little Leagues all over the country every spring. Boys get picked for their baseball teams and coaches start to plug kids into their positions. No matter the age, you have to have a strong arm at shortstop and third base. Your first baseman has to be able to catch the ball, so that has to be one of the top players. A coach can usually think of who he wants in every position…including right field..
I was recently in a children’s musical at my local church where we were extolling the virtues of using your talents. My part was to motivate a kid to persevere through his fears and do his best, no matter the end results (of course, the end result in the musical is a home run followed by singing and dancing). But my motivational song centered around that lonely place out in right field.
See…in right field,that’s where they put the kids who can’t field the ball perfectly and throw the ball straight. Right field, usually has the kid who is more interested in playing in the dirt and, as my big song said, “watching the dandelions grow. “. Mainly, it’s because you don’t have a lot of switch hitters in Little League. Baseball, at the 8 & 9 year old level is dominated by right handers and unless they are swinging late, they’re not hitting the ball to right field.
Right field may be the place where the weakest of little leaguers is placed, but something starts to happen as the years go by, Players get stronger and learn to hit from both sides of the plate. Pitchers throw the ball faster so the odds of that late swing are much more possible. Right field is no longer a place to hide someone, it becomes an equally important position in the outfield.
Leaders understand that there are more positions to any “team” than the main players. Every position counts…every position matters. Leaders recognize this and constantly work to have the right position in the right place. Jim Collins’ seminal work on this was found in “Good to Great” when he talks about having the right people, not just on the bus, but having the right people in the right seat on the right bus. Although that may not be as important in Little League baseball, having the right people in the right positions in business, school or your local non-profit is crucial.
As we all “advance” in life, it becomes harder to hide the weakness. What I mean is, those who lead organizations can’t just stick a person in a position just to fill the spot. That works in Little League, but not in leadership. Leaders find the right people for every job. Those that do that, will win. Those that don’t,will have internal problems that eventually cause the rest of the organization problems. Right field in Little League baseball can be a wasteland…but there is no wasteland in life.
Now GO Lead!
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