Yogi Berra was one of baseball’s most memorable characters. The Hall of Fame catcher was a three-time MVP, won ten World Series rings as a player, and another three as a manager. His baseball accomplishments were framed by his folksy personality and his witty quotes—aptly referred to as yogi-isms.

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

“It’s deja vu all over again.”

“You can observe a lot by watching.”

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

I love yogi-isms. They are a combination of mixed metaphors, malapropisms, clever observations, and oddly insightful advice.

Archie Bunker was one of television’s most memorable characters. The All in the Family patriarch also had a knack for dispensing notable one-liners—aptly referred to as bunker-isms.

“We better not kill our chickens before they cross the road.”

“If it’s too hot in the kitchen, stay away from the cook.”

“We’re just sweeping dirty dishes under the rug.”

My youngest daughter and I were recently having a conversation about the importance of being fully committed to goals when she provided a yogi-ism-meets-bunker-ism response: “Dad, I’ve got two hands in, and they’re not coming out.”

She did to dipping your toe in the water, having one foot out the door, and having both feet in what Archie Bunker did to why did the chicken cross the road? and don’t count your chickens until they hatch.

I understood what my daughter meant, and quite frankly, I think her response is a more accurate depiction of a good teammate’s commitment level.

Having two feet in is supposed to illustrate commitment. But it’s not always that simple. Some team members mistake practicing compliance as being committed. In other words, they follow policies, toe the line, don’t rock the boat, and generally adhere to all the other expected clichés.

Anybody can live up to the standards of compliance by merely standing with two feet in. Good teammates, however, do more than practice compliance. They’re proactive, which makes my daughter’s having-two-hands-in analogy a more accurate depiction.

Hands imply activity. Good teammates are willing to get their hands dirty, take matters into their own hands, and be hands on. Hard workers use their hands, and so do good teammates.

What I most like about my daughter’s response is the last part about her hands not coming out. Isn’t that what being fully committed entails? Once you commit to something, you refuse to quit. You remain steadfast in your efforts until the objective is accomplished.

Successful teams are comprised of teammates who put two hands in and refuse to take them out, because—as Yogi Berra would say—It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.


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