Thursday, March 19, 2009

The only way you can get commitment is through trust

Continue to work through Joe Torre's book, "The Yankee Years." There's a good excerpt that ties into a post from yesterday from Jeffrey Gitomer's book about trust.

Torre took over a Yankee team that had "played under the tightly wound [Bucky] Showalter, who had played, coached, and managed so long in the Yankees organization, where Steinbrenner's divide-and-conquer style of leadership was designed to keep everyone uncomfortable, that trust did not come easily to him."

In 1996, when Torre was named manager of the team, "they had a tast of the playoffs," Torre said, "and I think they were grown up enough to know somebody has to make the decisions. Whether you like me or believe me, you have to understand that. They were at the point where they knew in order to win we have to work together. And somebody has to point us in that direction."

I pulled the following from page 10 of the book:


Torre provided a complete contrast to Showalter's micromanagement style. He gave his coaches and players a wide berth. One word kept coming up over and over again in the application of his management philosophy: trust.

"What I try to do is treat everybody fairly," Torre said. "It doesn't mean I treat everybody the same. But everybody deserves a fair shake. That's the only right thing to do. I'd rather be wrong trusting somebody than never trusting them."

"I'm of the belief that the game belongs to the players, and you have to facilitate that the best you can. I want them to use their natural ability. If they're doing something wrong, you tell them, but I'd like it to be instructive, rather than robotic. The only thing I want them all to think about is what our goal is and what the at-bats are supposed to represent. And that simply is this: 'What can I do to help us win a game?'"

Players quickly bought into Torre's management-by-trust style, and they did so because its abiding principle was honesty.

"Honesty is important to me. Where does it come from? I don't know, but even when I think back it was always something that was ingrained in me. Even now I may have trouble when I have to tell someone the truth if it's not a pleasant thing, but I won't lie to them. I can't do that. The only way you can get commitment is through trust, and you've got to earn that trust."