All I ever wanted to in life was to be mediocre…

Nailing Fundamentals is the Foundation for Greatness

I was watching the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Saint Louis Cardinals the other night and made the following observation.  The Pirates were down 2-0 in the bottom of the 4th inning and their young, rising star Gregory Polanco was on third base with 2 outs.  Jordie Mercer was at the plate and drew a walk.  Polanco, who had a sizable lead at third, saw the walk, turned around and lackadaisically walked back to the base.  Yadier Molina, the observant catcher saw this and fired the ball down to third base to tag Polanco out and end the inning.  Instead of a man on first and third with 2 outs, the inning was over.  Opportunity squandered.

It occurred to me that this was such a Little League mistake and I found it hard to believe it happened at the major league level.  If it happened in Little League, it would have been a wonderful teaching moment.  At the professional level, it struck me as a sign of lack of focus and discipline.  The root cause of this falls both on the fortitude of the individual and a lack of leadership.  In both cases, you get what you tolerate.

In Pittsburgh, we love to hate the New England Patriots.  For as much as they are one of our most fierce rivals, deep down there is an admiration for who they are and what they accomplish.  The Patriots have been consistent contender since Bill Belichick took over the team.  A Belichick team would never have made such a fundamental lapse.  Their team is mentally and physically tough, and has extreme discipline on always making sure each and every member of the team executes to their full potential on EVERY play, no exceptions, PERIOD.  This alone doesn’t make them champions, but this is the foundation that a perennial championship team is built on.

Winners and high performers master the fundamentals of their craft and execute on them all the time, they don’t take plays off or cut corners.  They build on top of these fundamentals to achieve true greatness.

What are the fundamentals of your world, do you focus on making sure you execute on each and every play?  There are no corners to cut in greatness, hard work, discipline, drive, curiosity, and fortitude are traits found in top performers.  Are you willing to be great?