At the last basketball game, the coach put in some second-string players with about 2 minutes before the half.  They got the job done, but were not as productive as those who had started.

I thought of this difference when I was looking at my eyeglasses.  I recently purchased two new pair of glasses* and it has occurred to me that I have a starter pair and a second stringer.  My previous two pair were interchangeable — both first stringers that I could use depending on the color scheme of the day.  Not so much with these two.  One is practical; one is fun and I find that I have far more occasions to wear the serious-looking pair.  Inadvertently, I got a starter and a second-stringer.  Both are worthy of making the team, but perform different functions.

Don’t expect that your whole team will always be versatile starters.  Most teams need a second string to relieve and to support the A players, to make practices workable and to allow for a few special teams. There is an appropriate role for the second string, and they can contribute much to the overall organization.

Think about this when you are hiring or purchasing something for your use.  There are certain items or positions that you need to fill with the very best you can afford, but you can  round that out with others and achieve your goals without hitting all three-pointers.

— beth triplett

*See Blog #1167

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

One comment

  1. It is an interesting perspective to compare people to things in relation to first and second strings. It is completely true that sometimes you need the very best and other times just fine will do. If there is a job that simply needs to be completed, maybe no need for a Harvard grad. The same way a spare set of glasses needn’t be Versace.

    Doris Gibbs @ Moody Eyes


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