A Homework Assignment for History

Frank Robinson is one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. He played most of his career for the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles. A 14 time all-star, Robinson is the only player to win both American League AND National League Most Valuable Player awards. Frank Robinson also won the very prestigious Triple Crown. This is an award earned by hitting for the highest average, hitting the most home runs, and driving in the most RBI, all in one season. To give you some idea how rare this is, since 1901 there have only been 14 Triple Crowns awarded. Frank Robinson hit for the Triple Crown in 1966 and there have only been two players to accomplish that in the nearly 50 years since then.

Frank Robinson(Frank Robinson statue)

Josh Hart is a baseball prospect in the Orioles minor league system. He is a talented young player trying to make it in major league baseball. This past week, Josh Hart was given a homework assignment. It’s rare that a professional athlete gets homework, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter felt it was important. You see, when Frank Robinson came to visit the Orioles in spring training last week, Josh Hart knew Robinson was in the Hall of Fame, but Hart knew little else about Robinson’s incredible career. So Showalter told Hart to do some research and prepare a one page paper about Frank Robinson by the next day.

This story reminds us how important it is for us to respect the history of our organizations. As leaders, we must take time to learn the stories that shape our organizations and to understand the individuals who came before us. There are great lessons to be learned from our history. Buck Showalter reminds us not to get so engrossed with today that we forget about yesterday.

To his credit, Josh Hart tackled the assignment with vigor and excitement. He enjoyed learning about Frank Robinson and now sees how significant Robinson was to Baltimore Orioles history. So how much do you know about your organization’s past? Do you know the story of the individuals who came before you? Do you respect them and the sacrifices they made to help your organization succeed? These individuals and the history of our organizations shape the culture of the organizations that we lead today. So your homework assignment is to take time to learn that history, share it with your team, and make sure all in your organization respect and appreciate the past.

Thanks for reading,

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2


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