Five Skill Players – Skills Change Leaders Need Today!

Five Tool Player?

Five Tool Player?

Baseball scouts the world over assess prospects on five skills:

  1. Hitting for Average,
  2. Hitting for Power,
  3. Running Speed,
  4. Arm Strength, and
  5. Fielding Ability.

The best prospects are said to be “Five Tool Players” because they possess Baseball Hitterexceptional talents across all five skills. Many players bring good ability to one or two skills, but the best players – the ones in the major leagues – rank exceptionally well in four or five of the skills. The scouts zero in on those prospects and the rest of us are left to play in the minor or fantasy leagues.

I believe we can apply the five tool model in the present change climate we face. The best leaders in the coming economy – the major leaguers – will be the people who excel at all five of the basic tools. No longer will it be enough to excel in one or two areas because speed and change are increasing and becoming more pervasive in our world. True leaders will need all five tools to both understand the change that’s occurring and use that change for their (and their organization’s) advantage.

The five skills change leaders need today are:

  1. Technical Skill – the ability to use specific knowledge about a given subject to reach goals. This could be industry/practice knowledge, process knowledge, and/or functional knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge in specific settings.
  2. Financial Skill – the ability to understand the financial impact and interplay of specific actions.
  3. Strategic Skill – the ability to bring a broad perspective to a given situation and apply that perspective to provide clear direction. The perspective is most effective when it stretches across the broadest possible spectrum of both time and circumstances. Harry Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” That may not be absolutely true, but the more history and experience that can be applied to a situation, the better the perspective will be.
  4. Synthesis Skill – the ability to assimilate different experiences, ideas, and opinions in order to create an optimal solution. The world is far too complicated for one person alone to develop an optimal and comprehensive solution for any complex problem. The best solutions come from a variety of sources, nursed and combined by a master synthesist.
  5. People Skill – the ability to engage people in your mission. People are becoming more important to success as technology plays a bigger part in our economy. The more ubiquitous information becomes the more important it becomes to know people who can make the most of that information, and harness their talents to reach your goals.

These five skills aren’t new. They’ve been around a long time and the best leaders have always been able to put them to use. What’s different is theBaseball Dive need to put all five skills together in order to be a true change leader – a Five Skill Player.

These times require Five Skill Players to lead organizations through these difficult days. New and changing paradigms, historical successes, financial stresses, and the mobility of employees all make it imperative that leaders use all five skills. Gone are the times when managers could compensate for shortcomings in one area with strengths in others. Complicated organizations require the leadership found in Five Skill Players, those without those talents will be relegated to lesser or more narrow roles.

Are you a Five Skill Player?


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