Leadership Lessons Learned From Cincinnati Reds


The news was the talk of Cincinnati. Heck, it was the talk of baseball fans throughout the country. Last week, our Cincinnati Reds announced Bryan Price as their new manager.

It is a role with huge expectations. After all, his predecessor led the Reds to three 90-win seasons and three playoff appearances in the last four years, their best stretch of success since  Sparky Anderson managed the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. But Cincinnati got knocked out in the first round of the postseason each time according to ESPN.

Although he is considered one of the best pitching coaches in baseball, Price has never managed at any level…at least Bryan Price Cincinnati Redsformally.

Here is where this news caught my attention. And particular, one article in our Cincinnati Enquirer written by C. Trent Rosencrans.

Rosencrans points out that, although Price may not have on his resume a MLB management title, he has in every sense of the word been managing others with great thoughtful leadership skills.

Rosencrans shared this story of how Price’s words encouraged a former manager with whom he worked to quit focusing on a past mistake by giving the manager the perspective he needed to shift his focus from dwelling on his past weakness to moving forward and toward new opportunities.

“I remember one time on the bench, I sent someone with a 3-2 count, and I was debating whether to do it or not and it was a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out, and two innings later, I’m still kind of beating myself up for it,” recalls Bob Melvin, who had Price as his pitching coach in both Seattle and Arizona. “He looked at me, he said, ‘You know, you’d probably be better served to let that one go because it was a couple of innings ago and there’s not much you can do about it right now.’

“And he’s absolutely right, he handled it the right way, he got me past something that I should’ve gotten past earlier, and he did it in a diplomatic way that wasn’t cantankerous.”

Absolutely, in the business world that ability to inspire your team members to want to do more, achieve more, be more is all of the makings of an effective leader. Price had this to say when asked about his skillset…

“I think always as the pitching coach, you’re always the most ready guy on the bench to understand when a pitcher is tired and when a guy needs to come out of a game and who matches up best, who needs a confidence boost to come into a game in a certain game or certain situations,” Price told Rosencrans. “Those are all things you do as a coach, as a manager it’s just larger. It’s a larger scale.

The fact that Price comes from a pitching background doesn’t bother Reds outfielder Jay Bruce.

“I believe that different people respond to different ways of coaching and teaching and I believe he has the personality where he notices that and he does whatever’s necessary to get through to that person,” Bruce said. “I believe managing in baseball goes back to managing personalities. Everyone up here can play, they’re here for a reason. The better you manage personalities and you understand how to get the most out of that person, the more successful that person’s going to be.”

Here in lies the bigger lesson for all of us – in our workplaces and in our communities. How often is it that those in charge of recruiting base decisions upon people’s titles?  As leaders, how much time do people take to really get to know the strengths of those on their team to bring those qualities to the forefront?  How often is it that, instead of looking at past experience, we look to find a person’s potential and we seek ways to bring that out?

And from Price, we learn to let mistakes of our past not dictate our actions in the present and future, and we learn that to get the best from those we manage, it is best to manage from the standpoint of setting our team members up for success.

Everyone has their own unique gifts and perspectives. When we don’t take the time or interest to learn about those gifts, then we all miss out. This week, my challenge to you is to look to find those strengths in those around you. And celebrate them.

VIA Institute On Character Empowers Through Strengths


Being human, we all have strengths within ourselves. Those strengths are our greatest assets. Nurturing them has been proven to not only energize us to learn and reach for our goals, but also to lead us toward a happier, more satisfying life. However, we may not even be aware of what they are and even more likely we may not proactively engage ourselves in exercises to heighten those assets.

VIA Institute on Character logoThe VIA Institute on Character is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization with a global scope of empowering people through the advancement of the science and practice of character strengths. Their aim is to fill the world with virture.

One very important way they do this is by offering their VIA survey free of charge across the globe – and since VIA’s inception in 2001, more than 2 million people in 193 countries and 17 languages have taken it. (There is also a survey for youth.) Professionals can use the survey to learn more about their clients or employees.

I highly recommend setting aside 30 minutes to take the 240 question survey. You will be given a free personalized description of your 24 strengths in their order of importance to you, as well as some suggestions for flexing your strength muscles. For an additional $20, you can receive an indepth VIA Pathways Report that shares much greater information on exploring and using your strengths. There are additional resources on the VIA website.  There are additional free and paid resources on the VIA website – and on the new VIA blog – to help you nurture your strengths.  They offer courses too for individuals and professionals whose work is focused on bringing out the best in others.

According to the VIA survey results, I actually have 7 signature strengths (highest rated strengths) because I have numerous score ties. They include:  Honesty, Kindness, Leadership, Perspective, Humor, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, and Fairness.

I can see so many of my life choices wrapped up inside these seven virtues. Much of my career has been focused on communicating to inspire positive change in individuals, organizations, communities and even pets. Both my Good Things Going Around blog project and my So Much PETential pet training have to do with bringing out the best in others.

Ironically, just this past spring I spent a lot of time developing my personal, professional ‘brand’ (with great thanks to T.J. Budd and Tessa O’Neal from Centennial, Inc.). This is what I came up with:

I guide organizations to communicate their core mission and brand with integrity and resolve, telling their story strategically and compellingly. An out-of-the-box thinker, I thrive on developing creative tactical ideas for raising awareness, educating constituents, and building consensus around communication goals. When it comes to relationships, I enjoy being both a leader and a team player, supporting the strengths of others.

My pet training brand (which I am still tweaking) is:
I believe training is not just about modifying behaviors and teaching skills, it is also about epet training quote by Lisa Desatniknhancing quality of life for our pets. In my quest to have well mannered pets, I began studying the science of animal behavior and positive reinforcement strategies over 12 years ago; and I can’t stop learning. My behavior change strategies blend science with kindness, integrity, creativity and fun. Seeing how that approach has not only set myself and my pets up for success, but also strengthened our relationship, is the driving force behind my passion for educating and helping others achieve similar outcomes.

Wow, I can absolutely see how my VIA strengths are an integral role in all that I do. And by my focusing on them it has led me to make career choices that are very satisfying for me.

I’m excited to say that my latest career path – is working with VIA! As a contractor, I am part of the communication team with two very positive, motivating people – Kelly Aluise and Breta Cooper – and I am working on telling their story through social media. I’d love it if you’d follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+,  AND please stop by the all new VIA blog that I am managing.

This is absolutely the stuff I thrive on!

It is so easy for us in life to focus on our own and other’s shortcomings, and when times are difficult to lose sight of those virtues that give us the capacity for greatness.  However, by shifting our focus instead toward those virtues of strength an amazing and beautiful transformation can happen. We grow and prosper in new, meaningful ways. Our life is so much more satisfying.

I am choosing to focus on nurturing my VIA  strengths. How about you?

Cincinnati Has A New YMCA Youth City Council



Following campaign speeches to about 200 Cincinnati area high school students, the 2011-2012 YMCA Youth Cincinnati City Council has been officially sworn into office and was publically introduced before Cincinnati City Council on October 5, 2011.

The elections were the culmination of an annual two-day YMCA Youth in City Government conference aimed at engaging young people in having a voice within their communities, and strengthening leadership and communication skills.

The year-round YMCA Youth in City Government program gives Cincinnati students the opportunity to learn about local, state, national and international politics. It offers teen participants a venue to gain leadership skills, strengthen their ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively, and learn fellowship by working together with peers from diverse backgrounds.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is one of the area’s largest nonprofits focused on engaging individuals and families in youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. This year more than 125,000 people will come to the YMCA to learn, grow and thrive. Adult role models nurture positive values and life lessons in children through sports, summer camps, structured child and afterschool care, and leadership building programs. Branches offer quality time for families to be together, resources for parents, and a variety of opportunities for seniors to be active.  The YMCA ensures these opportunities are available to everyone no matter their ability to pay with generous support from community partners and donors.


left to right: Virginia Hollatz (Mt. Notre Dame H.S.); Jane Eby (Mother of Mercy H.S.); Jordan Stevens (Mother of Mercy H.S.); Benita Munnerlyn (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy); Joseph Trentman (School for Creative and Performing Arts); Kyle Denman (St. Xavier H.S.); Nick Staresinic (Moeller H.S.); Kyla Norton (School for Creative and Performing Arts); Sami Spanagel (Mt. Notre Dame H.S.); Stephanie Cline (Mother of Mercy H.S.); and David Frost (Altersgate Christian Academy)

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