A close friend of ours has a son in high school who is a top baseball recruit with the option to play for some of the best colleges in the country. What makes this story so interesting, however, is the school he is focused on and why.

When he visited Cal with about 50 other kids, the coach spoke to all of them in a very poignant manner. The coach did not say: “we’re #1, or we’re ranked highly, or we are going places…” He didn’t focus on practice, discipline or skill either. The coach simply said this:

“If you do not understand how to be a great teammate, we do not want you at this school; if you understand how to take care of others, and pick them up when they fail, this is the right place for you.”

The coach went on with examples. If the shortstop overthrows the first baseman, the first baseman is expected to do all he can to run down the ball to save the play; the first baseman will never say anything negative about the shortstop’s throw. The first baseman’s only job is to support the shortstop irrespective of the quality of the play. The same thing holds true if a pitcher gets shelled, or if a batter is in an extended slump.

The team’s entire culture is only about supporting others. This results in less pressure, less animosity, and everyone ultimately performing at a higher level.

We love this story so much b/c it is so applicable to business. There are many hand-offs that take place in a successful business, and if every associate does not back each other up in the same manner that Cal baseball players do, the business’s culture will break down. This actually happened at JVM, and we had to address the problem with personnel changes.

We have several Realtors who also very much understand the need for a strong “teammate-culture,” and it results in a much more effective working relationship b/c we end up supporting and appreciating each other so much.

At JVM and Opes-Walnut Creek, we take immense pride in our teammate culture, and we greatly benefit from it.

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