The Details Matter

My brother-in-law was a successful high school baseball coach for 30 years. During his coaching days, he mowed and prepared the field for play and ordered and repaired the equipment. He set expectations as to the players’ appearance. He taught in detail such things as how players should put on their socks, how a hat should sit on the head, how players should work the glove and store the glove when not being used. When it was practice time, his focus was on the players. The first five practices he would not let them use gloves. He wanted to be certain they could handle the ball. He videotaped the players’ swings and charted every pitch for the pitchers. He met with each player to discuss at least three positives and three areas of improvement based on the observations. He conducted separate practice sessions for players having difficulty with certain skills. During the game he watched every move so that when the players came off the field he could give them pointers and positive feedback. When they did something right, he exclaimed “good job” and patted players on the back. He analyzed the scorebook after the game and met with the players at the next practice to offer suggestions for improvement. He had them practice to the suggestions.

He was truly what coaching and the love of the game is all about.

Those are the techniques and the passion we need to emphasize as we coach our teams. I offer you five simple steps for developing a successful team.

  1. Prepare your team with detailed skill development
  2. Allow them to practice with someone: you, a peer, or a mentor. Role-play is the most effective form of practice because feedback can be provided immediately
  3. Set both numerical and behavioral goals, e.g. not just 3 additional products per account opening but a profile conducted with each interaction
  4. Observe “on the grass” – live, real-time observation
  5. Offer honest, detailed observational feedback. Without honest feedback, improper skills sets will be cemented into the behavior of your employee, which is not fair to the employee, to clients/members, or to your organization.

Let me know how these steps work for you.

By the way…Happy Spring and Play Ball!!!!!

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


  1. Observations are powerful. I agree that the honest feedback from a More, Better, Different, Less perspective is what really makes them valuable and result in behavior change.

  2. Cynthia Whitmer Griffith 12 years ago

    Thank you for the additional comments, Larry, as I couldn’t agree more with the outcome of observation and feedback is to change behavior that results in a win for the client/member, a win for the employee and a win for the organization!!!!

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