The Power of One Voice
Mark DeRosa has had a decent major league baseball career. He has a lifetime .270 average in 3,429 at-bats and world series ring. Over a 15-year major league career, he has played for six teams and was a utility fielder with the Washington Nationals this season. He didn’t make the cut for the team’s playoff roster, so he wouldn’t get a chance to take the field, but he was in the clubhouse anyway last Thursday afternoon before Game 4 of the National League Division Series to support his teammates.
After winning the first game of the series, the Nats had lost games two and three, and were on the verge of elimination. It was then that he did something he had never done before. He took the microphone of the clubhouse karaoke machine not to sing, but to inspire his teammates. He told them it was time to live up to their ability and he used Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech to make his point. Some players called it “epic”; another said it was “the stuff movies are made of.” Many said they were inspired and the record shows they won that game.
That was only a game and Mark DeRosa was only one voice.
What we do isn’t a game. NAWCAD delivers the weapon systems our country needs to defend our national interests. To accomplish that, NAWCAD uses the foundations of ethical behavior, personal integrity and mutual trust. But, like the Nationals, we have challenges in our clubhouse. Our team includes some who aren’t meeting expectations. We need a few folks willing to be a voice of inspiration. When a person lets loose an expletive laden rant at a co-worker without comment by the team, we have a problem. If the team justifies the rant by saying, “That’s just the way he is. He doesn’t mean anything by it,” we have a problem.
One voice can speak up and call on the team to make the behavior unacceptable. When a co-worker is ostracized from meetings based on gender, or subjected to comments about their looks, and these comments are condoned by those present, we have a problem. One voice can say we are all in the arena together and we won’t tolerate that attitude. One voice with epic impact, calling us to live up to our values, like Mark DeRosa did for his teammates.
Here’s another portion of that same Roosevelt speech: “[I]n the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average women, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed.”