Starlin Castro, Baseball, Chicago Cubs

Do you find it difficult to lead young talent?  This generation certainly thinks, acts, and approaches life differently than we did just 10 years ago.  This often poses problems for those in leadership.

However, we know that this generation has amazing energy, vision, passion, and creativity.  So how do we harness this amazing potential into our teams and organizations in a way that results in measurable productivity and while not violating our core values?

21-year-old Chicago Cubs SS Starlin Castro is the finest young prospect in baseball.  In the May 9th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Stephen Green takes a look at the team’s approach to developing this NextGen star.  The article also gives us a picture of the best practices we should be doing to develop our young talent.

The following steps are being utilized by the Cubs and are applicable in any church, business, or non-profit:

  1. Acknowledge Their Unique Skill Sets – Often times we minimize young people.  Even phrases like “they have so much potential” or “wait until  5 years from now” actually communicate a feeling that they can only make a minimal impact today.  Buddy Bailey, Castro’s minor league manager, has said, “When (Castro) gets to the big leagues, the team he plays on will be a championship contender every year.”  He also says, “I’ve written that once before (about) another player, and that was Derek Jeter.”  Leaders, do you realize the talent of young people and the difference they can make today?
  2. Release Them – 20-somethings have boundless energy.   Remember when we were that age?  Castro is very aggressive at the plate.  Young talent is aggressive and it is not wise for the rest of us to put governors on them.  Let them run.
  3. Strategic Decision Making – Once we have acknowledged the NextGen talent on our team and released them to make a difference, we need to coach them in the area of their decision-making.  Castro is acknowledged to be “savvy” and has a “good mental makeup”.  Therefore, he is allowed to make decisions on his own and learn from his make mistakes.  Leaders, do you properly assess the maturity of those you lead and give them a chance to fail?

Acknowledging Talent, Releasing Them, and Strategic Decision Making.  Bailey called the Cubs strategy the “best decision the organization made.”  Leaders, the question is will how you develop NextGen talent be the best decision your organization has ever made?

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