Milestone Blog

Would I Want to Play Kickball With Them?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jan 24, 2017 8:00:00 AM


Do you remember the kickball field in elementary school?  Boy, I do!  I remember being with friends, laughing, running, competing…  For me, like most young boys, it was a break from the classroom but more than that, looking back it was very formative for me.  Here’s an example:  In my professional life, when it comes to recruiting and selection of people, more and more I think about “would I want to play kickball with them?” 

Now before anyone gets too worried about unfair hiring practices or throwing job descriptions, behavioral interviewing, and competency profiles out the window, let me explain…  

What I’m talking about is after the threshold components are confirmed, I think it’s wise to consider what type of teammate a person will be.  On the kickball field, it was things like a desire to win fair and square, being a good sport, not boastful or cutting to others, a willingness to play any position, etc.  Today, my experience tells me that the characteristics that made a good kickball teammate to me 35-40 years ago are pretty doggone close to the characteristics that make great teammates in professional life as well.

Patrick Lencioni has a new book, The Ideal Team Player, that gets to this.  (At Soderquist, we’re big Lencioni fans.)  It’s a lot about selection of new people but I can also see how it can be used in coaching, development, and succession of the people already in your organization. 

Lencioni’s three characteristics that he believes make up the ideal team player are:  Hungry, Humble, and Smart. I’ll let you check out the resource for his definitions of those terms in this context but I would argue that my kickball list maps really well to his. Others like Collins called this “getting the right people on the bus.” Maxwell declared, “talent is never enough.” Drucker profiled the "effective executive."

At Soderquist Leadership, this informs why we’re so passionate about people: why we work with organizations on ensuring selection processes are strong; that our customers’ strategic plans include a people strategy; how to identify and develop talent at various roles across an organization. 

We believe simply that an organization’s long-term performance and its culture rest in the hands of its people.  Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, I’d challenge you to take a look at this resource to further shape your perspective. 

And if you have questions on how to turn this thinking into practical actions, we’d love to help.

Here’s to a great 2017 on the kickball field! 

For more stories and leadership lessons, check out our eBook, 4 Critical Skills for Leaders, written by our Soderquist facilitators and coaches.

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Written by:
Chuck Hyde

Topics: Leadership

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