Evaluating by Observation

Robert Schutek Author of
The Gauntlet

Having signed 52 baseball prospects who would later become major league players, Tony Lucadello is known as baseball’s greatest scout. His discoveries included Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt.

The number of his signees making it to the big leagues is far greater than any other scout. And he accomplished this with a territory that included Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, rather than the good weather states of Florida, Texas or California where more opportunities to discover existed.

In his book, “Profit of the Sandlots,” Mark Winegardner explains how Tony accomplished this feat. He “spurned the radar gun and stopwatch” preferring to observe prospects from different spots around the perimeter of the field versus watching from behind home plate like other scouts. Rather than judging how each performed, Tony sought to assess how coachable a kid might be, if a “hitch in a swing or a throwing quirk might be corrected,” which was best accomplished by observing from different perspectives. This enabled him to envision a player’s potential, his future performance, versus relying solely on a prospect’s current talent to determine if he should be signed.

Tony’s successful methodology offers lessons for leaders when coaching or mentoring those they lead. The most meaningful insight about a person’s potential is often gained by observing how she or he performs under different circumstances, enabling the validation of an individual’s strengths and the identification of coachable development opportunities that offer the potential for enhancing that person’s promise.

How often do you observe your team members in action?

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