October is my favorite month. Not only because of the spectacular weather and changing colors, but because this is the month of the baseball playoffs, the World Series, and the crowning of baseball’s world champions. Certainly the teams that make it to October have exceptionally talented ballplayers. But is talent enough to become a world champion? I think most of us would agree that it is not. To be a world champion not only takes talent, but great teamwork, chemistry and, most importantly, terrific coaching. This not only relates to baseball, but to all teams, including the teams that we work with each day in business.
I am very fortunate in that I get to see a variety of coaching styles from many of our clients, advisors, and fellow colleagues. What I observe that seems to be universal in great coaching is a true compassion for what is best for the team and a deep and sincere interest in making those around them become the best that they can be. I have been inspired by a simple but brilliant program implemented by a few of our managers, designed to provide straightforward and meaningful feedback to our newest staff accountants. The focus is on a short list of skills and behaviors that are most important in the early start of their career. The feedback is designed to be engaging, pointed, and relevant. It also provides as a venue for meaningful dialogue to not only focus on what is important to be an excellent accountant, but also to reinforce how they feel about being a part of the team and the opportunities that lie ahead for them. It also serves as a great opportunity to do something that I believe is vital to great coaching, and that is to build up their confidence. At the early stage of starting a career, folks need to hear that they can do this, and do it well. I certainly experienced this confidence building early in my career, when my mentor, Don Clayton, reinforced this from time to time. I am forever grateful for this.
As for the baseball playoffs, I look forward to a fun month of exciting and competitive baseball, and may the best team win!