Virginia Bianco-Mathis
University professor, author

Virginia Bianco-Mathis

Business department chair of management programs at Marymount University and author of two books on executive coaching.


Good to great

Q: Stephen Strasburg blew away even the loftiest expectations in his major-league debut, breaking a Nats record with 14 strikeouts and drawing comparisons to Koufax and Clemens. Is it possible to kill -- or injure -- the "golden goose" by expecting too much, or is it a vote of confidence? Can one player really change the fortunes of a whole team -- and its fans?

Yes, one guy can change the fortune of a whole team and legions of fans.

When we observe such a phenomenon, we stand and watch in awe. Like a beautiful dancer, virtuoso violinist, explosive scene in nature, or an incredible feat of bravery, we are lifted above and beyond.

Though there is no "I" in "team," every team and fan loves a hero. How about the story of Babe Ruth as he walked up to the plate, pointed to the center field bleachers, and proceeded to hit the ball over the fence for a home run? That kind of multi-level confidence, showmanship, talent, and inspiration drove the Yankees to continuous success.

Then there was Michael Jordan, who changed the dynamics of the Chicago Bulls. Jordan performed his job exquisitely with no fear of the opposition. His fearlessness supplanted individual fears and inspired the team to be more competitive. His confidence stoked team confidence and took the Bulls from good to great.

Yet, there is a problem with team heroes, whether on the sports field or in the business arena. When such a dynamic force leaves the group, the team loses focus and performance drops. That is why it is a key job of any team or business coach to continually develop the next tier of talent. Yet, a "golden goose" like Ruth or Jordan only comes once in awhile. Strasburg may be the next one.

By Virginia Bianco-Mathis  |  June 14, 2010; 12:03 PM ET  | Category:  Sustaining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Hype, hype, hooray! | Next: No DiMaggio

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