Inside Pitch Magazine, January/February 2022

Intentional Walk: Winning with People

By Keith Madison, Chairman of the ABCA Board of Directors & National Baseball Director for SCORE International
Partial cover of John Maxwell's book 'Winning with People'Several years ago, a friend gave me a John Maxwell book entitled Winning with People. One of the concepts of the book I enjoyed was the "people principles." Maxwell hit the nail on the head with his insight into how to be successful in working with people and leading people and not just using them for personal success. Most coaches I know are in the game for the right reasons, but I must admit I have seen a few coaches use players for their own personal gain. In his people principles, Maxwell proves to be a good judge of the human condition and does so with a sense of humor. Hopefully, these principles will be a guiding light and help all of us learn how baseball is a team sport, and the players we coach are the heartbeat of the program. Our relationship with them is not just a year or two or three or four, but a winning relationship for a lifetime.

  1. The Lens Principle: Who we are determines how we see others.
  2. The Mirror Principle: The first person we must examine is ourselves.
  3. The Pain Principle: Hurting people hurt people and are easily hurt by them.
  4. The Hammer Principle: Never use a hammer to swat a fly off of someone's head.
  5. The Elevator Principle: We can lift people up or take them down in our relationships.
  6. The Big Picture Principle: The entire population of the world, with one minor exception, is composed of others.
  7. The Exchange Principle: Instead of putting others in their place, we must put ourselves in their place.
  8. The Learning Principle: Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something.
  9. The Charisma Principle: People are interested in the person who is interested in them.
  10. The Number 10 Principle: Believing the best in people usually brings the best out of people.
  11. The Confrontation Principle: Caring for people should precede confronting people.
  12. The Bedrock Principle: Trust is the foundation of any relationship.
  13. The Situation Principle: Never let the situation mean more than the relationship.
  14. The Bob Principle: When Bob has a problem with everyone, Bob is usually the problem.
  15. The Approachability Principle: Being at ease with ourselves helps others be at ease with us.
  16. The Foxhole Principle: When preparing for battle, dig a foxhole big enough for a friend.
  17. The Gardening Principle: All relationships need cultivation.
  18. The 101 Percent Principle: Find the 1% we agree on and give it 100% of our effort.
  19. The Patience Principle: The journey with others is slower than the journey alone.
  20. The Celebration Principle: The true test of relationships is not only how loyal we are when friends fail, but how thrilled we are when they succeed.
  21. The High Road Principle: We go to a higher level when we treat others better than they treat us.
  22. The Boomerang Principle: When we help others, we help ourselves.
  23. The Friendship Principle: All things being equal, people will work with people they like; all things not being equal, they still will.
  24. The Partnership Principle: Working together increases the odds of winning together.
  25. The Satisfaction Principle: In great relationships, the joy of being together is enough.

If we win in baseball, these principles will most likely need to be implemented at some level. Of course, treating our players and staff members with respect and wanting the very best for each person is paramount in building a healthy, winning program.

Author John Maxwell would be the first to tell you that each principle is based on the teachings of Christ. For instance, "The Lens Principle" is very closely related to Jesus' teaching in Luke 6:41, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" And, next in "The Mirror Principle" where Jesus says in Luke 6:42 "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?" Including these people principles and, of course, the timeless teachings of Christ will help us create a culture of discipline, fairness and success in our programs.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.