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Monday Morning Notes
May 2, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand... 

Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—  

Today’s Note celebrates the 8th anniversary of Monday Morning Notes (intentionally not recognized April 7th so as not to break the flow of Groundhog Day Management). Once again I’d like to thank you for allowing me into your office each Monday to express my thoughts on leadership, executive development, and life in general.  I certainly hope you’ve found something of value in these Notes, and maybe something you’ve been able to pass along to someone else.
As I do each year on this anniversary, I’m running a past article that I feel continues to have significance today.  In this case the article originally appeared October 4th, 2004 and is about striving for excellence in even the small things in your business, and even when they don’t seem important.
As I look forward to the next year of Notes, I want to again extend an invitation for you to stay in touch with me, make suggestions, and give me your feedback on the articles.  Hearing from you lets me know if I’m addressing topics that are on target with the issues you face as you lead your company forward.        



by Chuck Violand... 

          “Every weed has to be removed, every burnt spot has to be repaired, and every divot has to be replaced every day. You never know who the next franchise player might be who’s playing on this field. And I don’t want to risk having him twist his ankle on my field.”
          That’s the level of intensity Patrick Coakley brings to his job as head groundskeeper of a minor league baseball stadium. Of course, that’s not surprising when you consider he’s won “Best Sports Turf Manager of the Year” three times in the last seven years.
          I know Pat Coakley personally, and it was during a recent conversation with him that I realized there were a lot of business lessons to be learned from his philosophy on maintaining a baseball field.
          To start with, Pat’s field gets mowed every day, whether the team’s playing at home or playing on the road. I asked him, “Why go to the trouble and expense of mowing the field every day? It can’t possibly grow that fast.” As he was sharpening the blades on one of the mowers, he responded, “Mowing it every day is a lot of work. But, when it’s mowed every day the grass grows better. It grows stronger and greener.”
          The same holds true in business. How strong is the temptation to stop doing the details when things are going well in your business? Sales are up…you don’t have to market as aggressively. Cash flow is good…you don’t have to aggressively pursue receivables. Production is getting done…you don’t have to maintain high standards of appearance or discipline within the ranks. But, if you want your business to be healthy and strong, you need to groom it every day. Even the stuff you don’t enjoy.
          Pat believes his job is to deliver a perfect playing surface, not just to impress company executives who come around every now and then or for the fans who come to an occasional game, but for the players who work on the field day in and day out.
          It’s the same in business. The reason you keep your vehicles clean and maintained, the reason you keep your shop and offices clean and organized, the reason you keep your financial information and customer data accurate and up-to-date isn’t because you’re expecting visitors. It’s because your people perform better in that kind of environment. Morale seems to be higher when you pay attention to those details.
          Perhaps the most telling characteristic about Patrick Coakley is the intensity of his focus. Pat is a competitor in everything he does. And his focus is always on winning (I learned this about Pat first-hand on a golf course). So, even though the tasks he engages in on a daily basis (mowing, seeding, fertilizing, watering, etc.) are intended to build a faster and safer playing field, the underlying reason he does these things is to help his team win more ball games.
          Where’s your focus? Is it on the tasks you perform simply for the sake of being the best at those tasks? Or do you strive to be the best at your tasks so you can win at your game…to win in business?
          At first blush it may not seem like business and baseball fields have much in common. But, after closer examination, they sure do. 


You have our advance permission to republish this article as long as you do not sell it. The author's name and Web address must appear in all reprinted articles. 


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