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Yasiel Puig Versus the Wall

Dr. Foster Mobley // Quotables, Sports, Wisdom Leading

If you've followed baseball recently, you've heard about Yasiel Puig. The Cuban-defector playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been setting the world on fire since his debut in June: hitting over .400, setting all-time records for hitting, running into walls, and basically playing like a 23-year-old possessed. He's become an obsession for the entire island of Cuba. Here's my question - is it better to go a thousand miles an hour with your hair on fire for as long as you can, like Puig, or to pace yourself, conserve your energy and avoid getting hurt? Going all-out and burning your candle at both ends might thrill your fans and fire up your team, but is it the best way to achieve your goals? Answer - it depends. Depends on your talent. Depends on your goal. Depends on team needs. It truly depends. In Puig's case, when he was called up to the majors to join the Dodgers, the team sporting the highest payroll in the history of the game was languishing in last place and showing few signs of life. Today, barely a month later they are challenging for first place in their division and have righted their ship, largely sparked by the energy and heroics of Puig. Sometimes, a leader's job is to inspire his or her team and demonstrate the pedal-to-the-metal commitment that he or she wants the team to possess. In that case, it's not a bad idea to stock up on Five-Hour Energy, pull a few all-nighters and leave everything on the field in order to deliver something amazing in a short time. Basically, you're running into the outfield wall to make an incredible catch. And, logic would tell you that it's inadvisable to keep doing that long term. If your job, or success, frequently depends on energy drinks and all-nighters, you're pretty much toast. If Puig keeps going face-first into walls, eventually he's going to end up on the disabled list. When your goal is to guide your team over a long-term time horizon, you need to stay on the field. That means being smart and wily-like the old bull - or a longtime baseball veteran. Where could moderating your energy or tempering your willingness to crash into walls actually fire up your team's performance?

If you've followed baseball recently, you've heard about Yasiel Puig. The Cuban-defector playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been setting the world on fire since his debut in June: hitting over .400, setting all-time records for hitting, running into walls, and basically playing like a 23-year-old possessed. He's become an obsession for the entire island of Cuba.

Here's my question - is it better to go a thousand miles an hour with your hair on fire for as long as you can, like Puig, or to pace yourself, conserve your energy and avoid getting hurt? Going all-out and burning your candle at both ends might thrill your fans and fire up your team, but is it the best way to achieve your goals?

Answer - it depends. Depends on your talent. Depends on your goal. Depends on team needs. It truly depends. In Puig's case, when he was called up to the majors to join the Dodgers, the team sporting the highest payroll in the history of the game was languishing in last place and showing few signs of life. Today, barely a month later they are challenging for first place in their division and have righted their ship, largely sparked by the energy and heroics of Puig.

Sometimes, a leader's job is to inspire his or her team and demonstrate the pedal-to-the-metal commitment that he or she wants the team to possess. In that case, it's not a bad idea to stock up on Five-Hour Energy, pull a few all-nighters and leave everything on the field in order to deliver something amazing in a short time. Basically, you're running into the outfield wall to make an incredible catch.

And, logic would tell you that it's inadvisable to keep doing that long term. If your job, or success, frequently depends on energy drinks and all-nighters, you're pretty much toast. If Puig keeps going face-first into walls, eventually he's going to end up on the disabled list. When your goal is to guide your team over a long-term time horizon, you need to stay on the field. That means being smart and wily-like the old bull - or a longtime baseball veteran.

Where could moderating your energy or tempering your willingness to crash into walls actually fire up your team's performance?

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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams