R.I.P. George Steinbrenner
George Steinbrenner passed away last week of a heart attack at the age of 80. I’m a die hard Red Sox fan, so it was always hard to watch a man of Steinbrenner’s caliber beat you. But George was a winner, and that should be celebrated. As I look at what I can learn from George, here are a couple of things I take away.
Excellence is excellence.
When someone is truly great at what they do, and produce results, it is hard to knock it. Actually it is pretty easy, because many people do, but that doesn’t mean they should. But George was an excellent owner – the Yankees were great before he took over, but he certainly took the team to another level.
There are many paths to excellence.
Do I want to be like George Steinbrenner? No, I don’t. But that just means I choose a different path to lead, to engage, to execute. My path is different. But that doesn’t make my path the right path. There are many paths to excellence. Some may suit you and some may not. If I played tennis, I would aspire more to a Pete Sampras path of quiet disciplined hard-work than a John McEnroe natural talent that’s a bit out of control – but both paths led to excellence. If I were in the news industry, I would prefer the studious and centered Tim Russert over the loud and opinionated Bill O’Reilly. The point – George may not have follow the path you aspire to, but it is a path that worked for him. Focus on your path.
Excellence is a relentless pursuit.
So many people wonder why people who have achieved a great deal keep going – why not just retire and play golf? Because excellence is a relentless pursuit. It’s who you are. You focus on the next challenge, the next goal, the next milestone. When the Yankees would win the World Series, most of the organization was busy planning the next parade. George Steinbrenner was working on plans for the next season, and the next championship. Excellence is a relentless pursuit.