Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How do You Hide Your Weak Spots?

As the coach of my 10 year old son’s baseball team and my 12 year old daughter’s soccer team I have the good fortune of trying to teach both athletic and life skills to 25 girls and boys. I really enjoy it and try to make it really fun for the kids.

One of the biggest challenges I face is how to manage the desire of many of the kids to do well and win with the fact that some of the kids are simply not as athletically gifted as others. This is a constant struggle and I think it directly correlates to the business world. I have worked with, and worked at, many organizations, and I typically find there are weak spots on any team. Some times these weak spots are caused by lack of desire to give 100% but many times it is because a team member simply does not have the knowledge or the skills to do their job.

When I am arranging lineups for baseball and soccer I do my best to cover up for the weaknesses that some of the players have. This is my way of making sure that the kids who want to win have the best chance of doing so while not ruining the confidence and morale of the players who are not as strong. I also try to teach every player as much as I can so they have the tools to play well but unfortunately there is only one of me and I often do not have the time to give every player exactly what the need. I do not think this is the best strategy in the business world but I do believe it happens. How do you address weak spots on your team?



  1. Well put Scott. This is a great analogy for the workplace.

  2. The tough thing about weaknesses on a sporting field is that you usually have a fairly limited number of skill positions to fill. On a basketball court, for instance, your rough needs are a big person or two down low, a couple shooters on the outside, and a point guard with speed and agility and vision to distribute the ball to the others. If you can't do one of those things, you're out of luck.

    In a workplace, there's typically a wider variety of skill positions. With a little effort, you can find something that each person can do really well and assign roles accordingly. So it's less a matter of hiding weaknesses than it is playing to people's strengths.

    I think your analogy to youth sports aligns most closely with volunteer management, because in those cases, you get your slate of players/volunteers from whoever signs up, and you want all of them to have a good experience. With staff, hiring and firing is always an option if role alignment isn't working. With young athletes and association volunteers, not so much...