Hinch, Cora and Lunhow,
I’m sure the last few days have been a whirlwind, but you had to know the outcome you have faced this past week was always a possibility.
The truth is, it is easy to be just one bad decision away from ruining our lives.
You see, when we decide to go against doing what is good, right and proper - even at personal cost, we make ourselves and our teams vulnerable.
As I write this - I’m pointing the finger back at myself. I have made bad decisions. Who hasn’t? Integrity is a character habit we all have to exercise daily. Choosing to violate the trust of the league and your fans didn’t happen overnight. It may sound harsh to use the word “choice,” but the decision you made to use technology to interpret the signals of your opposing pitchers happened because of a series of decisions which went against what was right.
Knowing we are only one bad decision away from making a choice which can ruin our lives, or have a negative impact on those within our influence, how can we protect ourselves?
We need to create a filter. A way for us to pause and think about how our actions impact ourselves, the people closest to us and even the people we may never know.
During my time at West Point, I was taught a way to make better choices. It is a filter that – when I remember to use it – has kept me away from the damaging ripple effects of bad choices.
We each have an opportunity to use the Three Rules of Thumb and ask ourselves:
Rule of Thumb #1: Does this action attempt to deceive or allow anyone to be deceived?
The league has a rule. You can not use technology to read or try to interpret the hand signals of your opponents. If you do, you are cheating. So when the time came to review your opponents feed, you should have paused and asked, “Would this fail the First Rule of Thumb? Are we deceiving anyone? ”The answer would have been, “Yes.”
Rule of Thumb #2: Does this action gain or allow the gain of privilege or advantage which I or someone else would not be otherwise entitled.
There is a reason the league has rules. It is to insure the game is fair to all. By using technology and watching and deciphering the calls made by other teams did this give you an unfair advantage? Yes, it did. Again, the action you are taking violates the Second Rule of Thumb.
Rule of Thumb #3: Would I be satisfied if I were on the receiving end of this action?
If you were sitting in the same seats as the Dodgers’ and Yankees’ pitchers – Mr. Kershaw, Mr. Darvish or Mr. Sabathia, you would be joining them and the fans demanding the Astros pay severely and even go as far as saying the Astros are not World Champions. I think we can agree, you would confidently say, “No.” to this Third Rule of Thumb.
How might the situation have changed if you followed the 3 Rules of Thumb? Would you have a World Series ring on your hand? No one will ever know - and that is the worst part. From this point on people will question the Integrity of the win.
Thinking back to the day you decided to cheat, can you say it is worth it now? To win the World Series but lose your Integrity is still a loss. There will always be another game to win, but you can’t always win back people’s trust.
We all know you can’t undo the past. This choice will follow you and in some ways define you, but my hope is you take this opportunity to use the 3 Rules of Thumb above. Rebuild your character, rebuild the trust of the people around you and begin to lead with character.
Dave Anderson is the author of the bestselling title “Becoming A Leader Of Character.”